BETHANY, W.Va. — Gregory B. Jordan, Chair of the Bethany College Board of Trustees, has announced the election of three new members to the Board. Joyce Pollack Jefferson '77, Gayle Connelly Manchin H'07, and William (Bill) E. Strickland Jr. H'09.
“Bethany is fortunate to have at its helm the leadership and insight of such an exemplary group of distinguished professionals,” said Jordan ’81, Global Managing Partner at Reed Smith, LLP.
Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of the College, also welcomed the new members.
“I am extremely pleased to welcome such a talented group of new members to the Board,” said Miller. “Each embodies a great love for Bethany and brings with them tremendous professional and public service experience, as well as a firm commitment to furthering Bethany’s unique mission.”
Jefferson, a life-long resident of Wheeling, W.Va., is a 1977 graduate of Bethany College. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in English, she earned a degree in early childhood education from West Liberty State College. She has worked for 10 years in commercial banking. After completing her education degree, she worked for the Ohio County School System and taught for 11 years at Mt. de Chantal Visitation Academy.
Jefferson serves on the board of Wheeling Country Day School and Security National Trust Company and was formerly on the board of the Children’s Museum of the Upper Ohio Valley. She is a charter member of the Women’s Giving Circle of the Upper Ohio Valley of West Virginia and Ohio and serves on the Oglebay Institute Museums Committee. She is a trustee of the Driehorst Family Foundation, a philanthropic entity named for her family. A passionate advocate for the humane care of animals, she is involved locally in spay/neuter programs and the placement of abandoned and mistreated animals.
Manchin, grew up in Beckley, W.Va. She attended West Virginia University, where she earned her B.A. in language arts and education and a master’s degree in reading. She completed a second master’s specialization in educational technology leadership from Salem International University. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Bethany College in 2007 when she gave the address at the academic year’s opening Convocation. Manchin is the wife of United States Senator Joe Manchin.
As an educator, Gayle worked in Marion County Schools. She also served on the faculty of Fairmont State University and was the director of the college's first Community Service Learning Program. In addition, she was actively involved in community advocacy. After moving to Charleston in 2001, Manchin became the West Virginia director of the AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Program, which served 20 counties.
Believing in the opportunities of connecting programs, Manchin, under the Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts, implemented the WV PASS (West Virginia Partnerships to Assure Student Success) initiative. She serves as a member of the State Board of Education and as a Commissioner on the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service. In addition, she has been appointed as the chair of the Governor's Healthy Lifestyles Coalition, and the West Virginia Citizen's Council on Children and Families, and as a co-chair on the Governor's 21st Century Jobs Cabinet. She is a partner on the WV Partnership to Promote Community Well Being Commission, serves as the nominating chair of The Education Alliance, is a past president of the Vandalia Rotary Club of Charleston, and a new member of the Black Diamond Girl Scout Council.
Strickland is president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation and its subsidiaries — Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (MCG) and Bidwell Training Center (BTC) in Pittsburgh. A Pittsburgh native and one of the nation’s leading social entrepreneurs, Strickland is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in American history and foreign relations. Strickland returned to Manchester, the inner-city neighborhood in which he grew up, and created a model for turning underprivileged people into productive workers. His business model proved highly successful, and he continues to replicate it across the country.
Strickland founded MCG to teach life skills to at-risk children through the arts. Students have the opportunity to take classes and workshops in photography, design, ceramics and more and learn from internationally known artists. Strickland also created BTC, an innovative partnership with local companies that provides displaced adults with the training they need to land jobs in those companies. Participants can earn an associate degree or complete diploma programs in fields such as horticulture, office technology and chemical laboratory technologies. MCG and BTC have each grown into $3 million-a-year operations.
Strickland has received numerous awards in recognition of his contribution to the arts and his community. These include the MacArthur Genius Award for leadership and the Coming Up Taller Award, which was presented to him by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in a 1998 White House ceremony. Strickland also served a six-year Presidential appointment as a Council Member to the National Endowment for the Arts and is a member of numerous boards and councils domestically and overseas.
Strickland presented the Bethany 2009 Commencement Address and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humanities. Each graduate received a copy of Strickland’s book, “Make the Impossible Possible.”
Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.