The historian’s obligation is to the recorded past and its crooked paths to the present. Despite every temptation, I am less concerned with what a university ought to be than describing its present character and identifying the internal and external forces that have shaped its past and are shaping its future. The approach should not be taken to mean that universities while beholden to their surroundings and obedient to history, are only reactive or passive. They have never been mirror images of some other entity. Such is only true under tyrants and dictators. Otherwise the intersections with churches, the state, social classes or a particular economic system are many and complex.