Following WWII, America committed itself to a system of mass liberal education with a core component of the humanities, a system designed to improve the quality of people's lives and strengthen the social bond. This linkage of private and public ends was both symbolized and secured by the combination of public and private support for higher education. Today, the American system is in jeopardy because the private and public entities that support the university have largely turned away from the educational mission even as they have dramatically increased their support for research and other activities. The resulting alteration in the character of the university necessarily comes at a cost to the democratic aspirations and the vision of human flourishing that higher education has traditionally served.

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