My dissertation is composed of three articles, focusing on student-centric changes in American higher education in the post-World War II era. The first article illustrates the expanding notion of students as "whole persons" in the scholarship of higher education and the concomitant rise of student affairs as a professional field. The second article examines the current state of student centrism in American higher education reflected in mission statements. The third article explores the relationship between organizational characteristics and a university's discursive, structural commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity. More specifically, Article 1 explores the ways in which student centrism and student empowerment in American higher education has arisen in the past few decades. With a descriptive analysis of the historical development of keywords in journal articles, the author first demonstrates how sociological and educational scholarship reflects the shifting cultural view on students, increasingly understood as persons, and student life, increasingly complex and multidimensional. This article also illustrates how the field of student affairs has developed, in conjunction with the rise of various dimensions of student life in academic research. The impressive expansion of student-focused research and the structuration of the field of student affairs is discussed with a macro-sociological perspective. Drawing on the neo-institutional approach, this article seeks to explain such rise with two cultural principles of modern society: (1) the valorization of science and rationalization and (2) the expanded notion of personhood. The findings suggest that, beyond market competition, there is a widely held belief that student life is to be managed comprehensively and systematically, by professionals with formal training. While Article 1 focuses on the scholarship of higher education, Article 2 examines the behaviors of higher educational institutions. Specifically, this article explores the university's presentation of various themes of student life in mission statements, using a nationally representative sample of 218 non-for-profit public and private institutions. With increased competition and uncertainty, American higher educational institutions face greater pressures to manage their public image and identity. The findings of a descriptive analysis reveal that virtually all universities and colleges have adopted a mission statement and that there is no systematic pattern across various types of institutions. American higher educational institutions tend to emphasize students' holistic experience, the functional purpose of higher education, learning as well as research. The predominant themes and patterns in mission statements of the random sample are compared with those of the most selective institutions in the United States. Lastly, with historical examples, the author illustrates how and why the form and content of the mission statement has been homogenized over time. Article 3 pays special attention to the issue of diversity. With intensifying discussion on student empowerment and student diversity in higher education, a growing body of literature examines educational benefits of campus diversity for various outcomes ranging from student development to institutional excellence. This article focuses on organizational aspects of diversity initiatives in contemporary American higher education. Specifically, the study explores the relationship between various institutional characteristics and the university's discursive as well as formal structural commitment to diversity, using logistic and zero-inflated negative binomial regressions. Based on a uniquely compiled dataset of organizational characteristics and mission statements for a cross-sectional sample of 236 four-year non-for-profit colleges and universities across the United States, the findings suggest that cultural and institutional factors, above and beyond functional needs, influence (1) a university's emphasis on diversity in its mission statement, (2) its establishment of the diversity office, and (3) its appointment of the high-rank diversity officer. Differential relationships are found for discursive and formal structures, indicating loose coupling in the higher education system. The implications are discussed.