Throughout this paper, we present the observations and conclusions of our research that is both conceptual and pragmatic. As the title suggests, our research focuses on the new roles of universities in the knowledge economy. Since their beginning, universities have been scientific, cultural and moral landmarks for society and even today they have the mission of stimulating a social and economic progress in society. We start the presentation of the research by emphasizing the correlations between the new understanding of the knowledge concept and the functioning of the university. We consider that knowledge represents a strategic resource for universities and also the main resource used in all its organizational processes and has great impact on the final products and services that the university delivers for its stakeholders and finally for the whole society. In the second section of the paper we discuss the strategic roles that the universities play in society. Though we consider that the primordial role of the university is to educate students and to contribute to the scientific knowledge of the world, today universities integrate more and diverse responsibilities which represent new dynamics capabilities. Within the third section of the paper we approach the problem of the intellectual capital which we consider also as a strategic component of universities and with great potential for their prosperity. The discussion regarding the impact of the intellectual capital is particularly important due to the presentation of the novel entropic model of intellectual capital. In the final part of the paper we analyze and argue the most recently announced challenges and high perspectives for the universities world-wide and we present our concluding remarks.