The American university of today is the product of a sudden, mainly unplanned period of development at the close of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. At that time the university, and with it a recognizably modern style of academic life, emerged to eclipse the older, religiously oriented college. Precedents, formal and informal, were then set which have affected the soul of professor, student, and academic administrator ever since.
What did the men living in this formative period want the American university to become? How did they differ in defining the ideal university? And why did the institution acquire a form that only partially corresponded with these definitions? These are the questions Mr. Veysey seeks to answer.