“Genius Grant” Winner Bill Strickland To Give Keynote Address

Jan. 23, 2013 – Author Bill Strickland, a MacArthur Fellowship “genius” grant winner who has been honored for his inspirational work as a social entrepreneur, will give a keynote address at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30, in Ford Chapel at Allegheny College. The public is invited to this free presentation. Following the keynote address, Strickland will sign copies of his book, “Make the Impossible Possible,” which is also the topic of his talk.

Strickland’s visit to Allegheny is part of the college’s Year of Transforming Education, an exploration of the inequalities inherent in American education, the future of the U.S. public education system and the value of liberal arts education.

For 30 years, Bill Strickland has transformed thousands of lives, personified ethical leadership and reshaped the business of social change. As president and CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation – an award-winning jobs training center and community arts program — he works with corporations, community leaders and schools to give disadvantaged children and adults the opportunities they need to build a better future.

Centers are already running in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and San Francisco, with many more planned.

Strickland is a recipient of the White House’s “Coming Up Taller” Award, which recognizes exemplary arts and humanities programs that foster young people’s intellectual and creative development, and the founder of the Grammy-winning MCG Jazz, the most successful jazz subscription series in America.

The book “Make the Impossible Possible” includes Strickland’s personal story of how a kid from a poor neighborhood in Pittsburgh went on to lecture at Harvard and serve on the board of the National Endowment for the Arts.

It is also a book that pays tribute to the life-changing roles of teachers in our lives: it was a chance encounter with a high school ceramics teacher that transformed Strickland’s life.

According to Strickland, a successful life is not something you simply pursue, it is something that you create, moment by moment. Strickland believes that every one of us has the potential for remarkable achievement and that every one of us can accomplish the impossible in our lives if given the right inspiration and motivation to do so.

“Bill Strickland is a genius,” says philanthropist Jeff Skoll, the first president of eBay, “because he sees the inherent genius in everyone. Bill’s ability to inspire hope is powerful, universal, and world changing.”

More information on the Year of Transforming Education can be found at www.allegheny.edu/yearof or on Facebook: search for Transforming Education Allegheny College.