A Letter From the Publisher: Apr. 14, 1986

In saluting the 20 winners and 80 merit finalists of TIME's first College Achievement Awards last week, Editor in Chief Henry Grunwald issued a challenge. Citing James Fenimore Cooper's observation that "the tendency of democracies is, in all things, to mediocrity," Grunwald declared, "It is more urgent than ever for us to prove that democracy does not necessarily lead to mediocrity. That, on the contrary, the freedom it allows us does and can lead to excellence."

Reviewing the accomplishments of the award recipients, he had good reason to be heartened. The 775 college and university juniors who applied to the awards...

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