Liberal education aspires to excellence through the cultivation of free human beings who excel in thought, word, and deed. But what exactly is excellence, and why do we admire it? How do we conceive of what is excellent? What constitutes excellence—either for human beings, or in the realms of philosophy, literature, science, and politics? Why is excellence an aim of liberal education? What kinds of texts, courses, and inquiries contribute to achieving this end? Such questions animate the studies herein. The essays in this volume reflect on the idea of excellence embedded within core texts, as well as how such texts influence and ennoble higher education. In its chapters, we consider rival forms of excellence from ancient Greece and Rome, through modern Europe and America, and beyond. The world of antiquity and its accounts of excellence, as represented in the works of Euripides, Aristotle, Plato, Archimedes, and Cicero, are here brought into dialogue with diverse modern perspectives on excellence, as articulated by Shakespeare, Descartes, Newton, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Austen, Darwin, Lincoln, Tennyson, and Nietzsche, as well as (more recently) by John Dewey, Martin Luther King Jr., Cardinal Newman, and Eboo Patel. Our desire to seek and understand excellence transcends borders, and the purpose of this volume is to help perpetuate in contemporary higher education the study of core texts essential to the cultivation of excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.