W&J to Honor Four Community Leaders During Commencement Ceremony

Created: May 12, 2017  |  Last Updated: July 16, 2020  |  Category:   |  Tagged: ,

*Commencement details, including dates and times, information about local accommodations and restaurants, special needs, parking and travel advisories, is available at https://www.washjeff.edu/commencement-2020/.

WASHINGTON, PA (May 12, 2017) – Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) will graduate nearly 300 Presidents during its commencement ceremony May 20, 2017, and Pittsburgh native William “Bill” Strickland, founder, president, and CEO of the internationally-renowned non-profit Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC), will deliver the keynote address.

Commencement will be held on the Olin Fine Arts Center lawn of the W&J campus at 10 a.m. and will be streamed live via the College’s website at https://www.washjeff.edu/live. The feed will be active 30 minutes before the ceremony.

A Baccalaureate service will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 19, 2017 at the Church of the Covenant in Washington, Pa.

As part of the Commencement ceremony, Strickland, along with retired chairman of Merck & Co. and W&J Board of Trustees chairman Richard T. Clark, GRAMMY®-winning organist and Washington, Pa., native Paul Jacobs, and president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) Sister Carol Keehan will receive honorary degrees from W&J.

In 1968, then-college student Strickland founded the youth arts program Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (MCG) to expose inner city youth to the arts and get them away from life on the streets. After his success with MCG, Strickland assumed leadership of vocational education school Bidwell Training Center in 1971 and subsequently joined them, and other innovative organizations he created, under the parent company Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC). The MBC business model has been so successful that it’s being replicated across the world, with several MBC-affiliated centers in various cities in the United States and more in the planning stages in Israel, England, and Japan. While in office, President Barack Obama named Strickland as one of 25 members of the White House Council for Community Solutions. Strickland was honored by the U.S. Senate for his contribution to social innovation and was the 2011 recipient of the international Goi Peace Award, which honors individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to a harmonious world. Additionally, in 1996, Strickland received a MacArthur Fellowship, commonly referred to as the “genius” grant. Strickland earned his bachelor of arts in American history and foreign relations after graduating cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service from W&J.

W&J will present an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Clark. Clark’s career with global pharmaceutical and healthcare company Merck & Co. spanned 39 years, during which he held various leadership positions before becoming president and CEO, and eventually chairman. Currently, Clark is the chairman of the Washington & Jefferson College Board of Trustees and the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia. He also serves on the Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) Board of Directors, Corning Board of Directors, and is chair of the board of Project Hope. Clark earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Washington & Jefferson College and his M.B.A. from American University.

Paul Jacobs has been showcasing his musical prowess since he was a teenager, serving as the head organist of a local parish of 3,500 people when he was just 15 years old. At age 23, Jacobs made musical history when he played Bach’s complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon performance on the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. Jacobs joined the faculty at The Juilliard School in 2003 and was named head of the organ department in 2004. He has performed across the world, and in 2011 he was the first organist ever to win a GRAMMY® Award for his rendition of Messiaen’s “Livre du Saint-Sacrement.” He received his bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and a master’s degree from Yale University. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Music from W&J.

For more than 35 years, Keehan has worked in administrative governance positions at hospitals sponsored by the Daughters of Charity, becoming the ninth president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) in 2005. As a leader in the governance of health care, insurance, and educational organizations, Keehan played a central role in advancing the Affordable Care Act. She serves on the boards of Georgetown University and St. John’s University. In 2010, she was named on of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and spent several years on Modern Healthcare’s list of “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare,” topping the list in 2007. Keehan earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Joseph’s College, graduating magna cum laude, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity from W&J.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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