In this paper, we investigate how third mission strategies relate to changing legitimacy of universities. The work is based on a literature review and a case study of the largest business university in the EU (WU Vienna). First, we describe relevant trends and pressures for higher education institutions towards responsibility, accountability, and third mission. Second, we introduce the case in order to substantiate these trends, driven also by Austrian politics and international networks, some of them also emerging with a more socially oriented mission. Finally, we discuss isomorphic trends in higher education.