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As with many U.S. colleges and universities during World War II, Stanford University responded to the demands of mobilization by increasing its commitment to technical training and adopting a defense research agenda. In a striking departure from this national trend, however, Stanford also established its School of Humanities in 1942. By examining such seemingly disparate pursuits, this study reveals the complexity of the challenges that confronted institutions of higher education throughout the war era. Stanford University's simultaneous embrace of these programs illuminates broad concerns regarding the role of higher education in fostering civic-mindedness in a society denned by rapid technological advance and the perception of an ever-increasing threat to national security. © 2005 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.