The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says:
Main Entry: uni·ver·si·tyThat should say what it is. As an example, I have of course chosen the local one (I have after all spent some time there): University of Bergen:
Pronunciation: "yü-n&-'v&r-s&-tE, -'v&r-stE
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
Etymology: Middle English universite, from Middle French université, from Medieval Latin universitat-, universitas, from Latin universus
1 : an institution of higher learning providing facilities for teaching and research and authorized to grant academic degrees; specifically : one made up of an undergraduate division which confers bachelor's degrees and a graduate division which comprises a graduate school and professional schools each of which may confer master's degrees and doctorates
2 : the physical plant of a university
The University was founded in 1946, but was a continuation of Bergen Museum (see picture) that started in 1825. One of the most famous scientist working at the museum was Fridtjof Nansen - famous explorer and diplomat.
The University has chosen an owl on top of Bergen's seven mountains as a logo.
If you want to see a real owl (and chosen as the word of the day in Norwegian ("Ugle") - look here.