Driven by a shift in the political economy towards knowledge and information, and by the emergence of mass higher education, the historic central value of the liberal arts to the contemporary university is endangered. This essay presents an analysis of the current status of the university and asserts the value of the liberal arts to the covenant that sustains it. A history of the origin of the contemporary university, along with its dependence upon the liberal arts, is outlined. Finally, a definition of the liberal arts for the contemporary university is proposed, along with suggestions for models that could incorporate it. The argument concludes with a plea for anchoring university life in commitment to a modern understanding of the value of the liberal arts for faculty, students, and society.