The American university in the first half of the 20th century was a success. Yet, the history of this "national" institution includes little mention of southern scholars or universities in the South. The purpose of my dissertation is to explore and reconstruct the discussions and debates about university structure and mission that took place in the South between 1920 and 1950. Largely my study concentrates on the social science institutes funded first by the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, and later by the Rockefeller Foundation, at three universities in the South between 1920 and 1950 - namely the University of North Carolina, the University of Virginia, and the University of Texas. My hypothesis is that the individuals and ideas attracted to and supported at these institutions were a fertile source of ideas and influence about what the southern university ought to be.