(Posted August 30, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, PA. -- Bill Strickland, author of "Make the Impossible Possible" and a MacArthur "genius" Grant winner, will lecture at Juniata College and hold a discussion on his book at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 9, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Juniata has assigned "Make the Impossible Possible" as the summer reading assignment for the freshman class, although faculty, staff and community members also were encouraged to read the book and are welcome to participate in the discussion.

Strickland, a native of Pittsburgh and CEO of Manchester-Bidwell Corp., a nonprofit arts training center for disadvantaged children and adults, outlines in his book that creating a successful life is not something that can be attained on merit. Instead, like a jazz composition, it must be created moment by moment.

He tells of his own journey from the underprivileged Manchester neighborhood of Pittsburgh, detailing how an encounter with a high school ceramics teacher changed his life and how he uses principles he's learned from art, jazz and business to build a successful life.

Strickland used his training as a ceramics artist to found The Manchester Craftsmen's Guild while he was still in college. Envisioned and successful as an after-school arts program, the guild was merged with Pittsburgh's Bidwell Training Center in 1971. As the two groups combined Strickland branched out its services to vocational training for displaced workers. The Manchester Craftsmen's Guild has expanded to include MCG Youth & Arts, which offers programs in ceramics and the arts, and MCG Jazz, which promotes jazz through its record label and concerts.

The Bidwell Training Center offers associate's degrees in ceramics, culinary arts, horticulture, office technology and other subjects.

Strickland earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1969 from the University of Pittsburgh. He has accumulated countless honors for his work in the arts, including 10 honorary degrees from various colleges and universities. He received a MacArthur Grant in 1996 for economic development and has served on the board of directors for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Strickland is working with other cities to open centers similar to the Manchester-Bidwell Corp. Three centers have already opened in San Francisco, Cincinnati, Ohio and Grand Rapids, Mich.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.