Library Acquires Five Millionth Volume

Issue Date: 
May 27, 2008

Strickland’s Making the Impossible Possible is the landmark acquisition

cover018.jpgPitt’s University Library System (ULS) has announced that its five millionth book acquisition is Making the Impossible Possible: One Man’s Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary (Doubleday Business, 2007) by Pitt alumnus, Pitt trustee, and ULS Board of Visitors chair William Strickland.

The ULS reached its first million volumes in the early 1960s and has been growing steadily since then. Within 13 years, the ULS reached two million volumes in 1975, and 16 years later, in 1991, it reached three million. During the ’90s, growth within the ULS took place rapidly. By 1999, the ULS celebrated reaching its four millionth volume by acquiring a copy of The New Ellesmere Chaucer Facsimile Edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (Huntington Library Press, 1995), one of only 250 facsimile copies of what is regarded as the most-famous literary treasure of the world-renowned Huntington Library, in San Marino, Calif.

Recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1996, Strickland is the president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation and its subsidiaries, the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (MCG) and Bidwell Training Center. The long-running MCG Jazz Series, which Strickland founded, has produced more than 1,200 concerts and garnered three Grammy Awards. Strickland has received numerous additional honors, among them being named a Pitt Distinguished Alumni Fellow and being inducted into the University’s inaugural Legacy Laureate class. He was named 2007 Pittsburgher of the Year by Pittsburgh Magazine and, earlier this year, Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg celebrated the publication of Making the Impossible Possible with a reception in Strickland’s honor at Pitt’s Alumni Hall.

Making the Impossible Possible
tells the story of Strickland’s inner-city childhood and how his mother and an art teacher inspired him to become more than just an aimless young man living in a rough Pittsburgh neighborhood. Strickland went on to graduate cum laude from Pitt in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and foreign relations. He established MCG to expose inner-city children to the arts. The book focuses on Strickland’s belief that each of us has the potential for remarkable achievement and that we can accomplish the impossible in our lives. Strickland serves as a consultant, grant evaluator, and mentor in the fields of the arts and arts education, community development, and workforce development training.

“Bill Strickland’s book tells an inspiring and important story of a most remarkable individual,” says Rush Miller, University Librarian and director of the ULS. “As the title states, Bill is in the miracle business, making impossible dreams reality for young men and women in Pittsburgh, many of whom might fail otherwise. It is fitting that our five millionth volume is the book by such a wonderful alumnus, friend, and supporter of the University of Pittsburgh and the University Library System.”