"To discover to the world something which deeply concerns it, and of which it was previously ignorant; to prove to it that it had been mistaken on some vital point of temporal or spiritual interest, is as important a service as a human being can render to his fellow creatures..."
John Stuart Mill, "On Liberty"
Of all of the traditional institutions of America that have come under siege of late, perhaps none has held up better than the our great American research universities. However, even they have suffered. The economic crisis, a political culture that often embraces ignorance, international competition and a lack of understanding of their role in our society are all taking aim at The Great American University. Perhaps because of all of this, because we need to nurture this unappreciated national resource, it's more important than ever to embrace and examine these issues. This is what Jonathan R. Cole, the former provost of Columbia University does in his book The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must Be Protected.