National Treasure or
Frank H. T. Rhodes
I WELCOME THE OPPORTUNITY to express my gratitude to those who planned and participated in the symposium which resulted in this volume. Some time ago, Peter Stein, dean of the Cornell faculty, told me that the Faculty Council of Representatives wished to hold a symposium to mark my retirement, and he invited me to suggest a topic for the symposium. This, of course, I was happy to do and that is how the title— "The American University: National Treasure or Endangered Species?"—came into existence. I chose the title largely because in the current debate most observers would regard those two characterizations of the university as polar positions.
Happy as I was to be allowed to suggest the topic for this symposium, I was no less happy to be allowed to invite the participants. I chose, in fact, the most knowledgeable people I could think of in each of the various areas and, to my delight, each of them agreed to come. I should add, by way of full disclosure, that the speakers were individuals who have been not only colleagues over many years—in some cases more than twenty years—but also people