The idea of the university is habitually discussed in relation to German or English language classics. Instead, I will focus on the Spanish language periphery arguing that the discussions there merit attention for distinguishing between three central Old World models of the university, namely, apart from the English and the German, also a French one. Moreover, the marginal perspective stresses the social and political importance of the university. In this perspective, José Ortega y Gasset deserves attention for arguing for a university in the service of a modern republican state. Ortega stresses the importance of a cultural formation that includes the sciences to make enlightened decisions, the distinction between teaching a discipline and doing research within it, and that between a scientist doing research and a highly educated professional practitioner. Unfortunately, the role of knowledge and truth is neglected. The argument from the periphery is therefore necessary albeit not sufficient.