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John Henry Newman begins his Idea of a University by claiming that the university “is a place of teaching universal knowledge.”1 But instead of referring to “universal” and all inclusive as Newman suggests, the word university was originally derived from the medieval Latin sense of universitas, meaning “a society, company, corporation, or community regarded collectively.”2 Newman's effacement of the corporate origins of the university in favor of universality reflects a transformation of the university in the course of the 19th century from a corporate body with particularist interests to one with a claim to an autonomous universality transcending all particular…
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