From the very start, the United States was a guarantor that research and teaching at Freie Universität would be of an international standard, thus ensuring its recognition throughout the world. In 1950, Paul Hindemith, who had fled Nazi Germany and had become Professor of Composition at Yale University, was the first Visiting Professor at Freie Universität.
It was he who initiated the superb relationship with Yale that continues to this day. In the same year, Hindemith was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Department of Philosophy in gratitude for his efforts in this respect. Freie Universität's reputation was strengthened by many other highly-respected emigrants who returned to Germany during the 1950s. Among them were Ernst Fraenkel, Ossip K. Flechtheim, Wilhelm Weischedel, Otto Stammer, Richard Löwenthal, Helmut de Boor, Hans Herzfeld and Ernst Heinitz, to name but a few.
A milestone in the history of the still young Freie Universität was the visit from the President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy, who was awarded honorary citizenship of Freie Universität. To this day, important figures in politics, literature, and science continue to come here to offer their thoughts about the future of world society.