In late March 1967, an open-ended questionnaire was sent to 1305 individuals involved in higher education across the country. Respondents were asked for characteristics which they regard as distinguishing a "vital" college or university, or, in a sense, to free-associate with the words "institutional vitality." Since institutional vitality is a somewhat nebulous yet positively charged concept, the survey results suggest what the respondents consider to be essential to an ideal college or university. The survey was one of several activities carried out in the early stages of a larger project which has as its objective the development of an inventory for assessing what is tentatively referred to as "institutional vitality." The instrumentation project at ETS is, in turn, one phase of a more comprehensive study of institutional vitality under way at the Institute of Higher Education at Columbia University Teachers College, with funding from the Kettering Foundation.