William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business in partnership with the Office of Community Engagement and Scholarship hosts Bill Strickland at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16 in the James W. and Dana Brenner Brinkley Commons Room, located in Alan B. Miller Hall.
In December 2010, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Council for Community Solutions, which provides advice to the President on the best ways to mobilize citizens, nonprofits, businesses and government to work more effectively together to solve specific community needs. Strickland was named one of 25 members of this council.
During his undergraduate years at the University of Pittsburgh, Strickland founded the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, an innovative nonprofit agency in Pittsburgh, Pa., that uses the arts to inspire inner-city teenagers. Just blocks from his old high school on the north side of Pittsburgh, Strickland’s community arts center hosts some 900 students each year for serious art study.
He won a MacArthur Fellowship "genius" award in 1996 for economic development.
Strickland currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC) and its subsidiaries, Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, Bidwell Training Center, and National Center for Arts and Technology. As President and CEO, Strickland's duties include developing and implementing major fund-raising plans of action, working with Boards of Directors and Industry Advisory Boards, and encouraging the participation of corporate executive officials from major multinational Pittsburgh corporations.
The Guild is also home to a concert hall/recording studio. Strickland is also founder of the Grammy-winning MCG Jazz, the most successful jazz subscription series in America.
In 2007, Strickland wrote his story, "Make the Impossible Possible: One Man's Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream," which includes how a kid from Pittsburgh's ghetto would go on to lecture at Harvard and serve on the National Endowment of the Arts board.
The event is free and open to the public but an RSVP is appreciated for seating purposes.