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U.S. News keeps Saint Mary’s number 1

Megan O'Neil | Friday, August 27, 2004

Saint Mary’s found itself in familiar territory this week topping the rankings of the annual U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” in the category of Midwest comprehensive colleges. It is the 10th time in 11 years Saint Mary’s has finished first.

The guidebook organizes colleges based on size, location and courses of study. The schools are then judged in a variety of categories such as admission selectivity and teacher to student ratios.

The Midwest comprehensive category consists of institutions focused on undergraduate education and those that offer a wide range of liberal arts and professional degrees.

In a competitive field of 108 schools, Saint Mary’s was awarded an overall rating of 100, the highest score possible. The college ranked first for faculty resources, second for freshman retention rate and third for financial resources.

Director of marketing communications Nick Farmer said he is proud Saint Mary’s was again ranked No. 1.

“The ranking helps validate the excellence the College strives for every year,” Farmer said. “Given the College’s track record with the survey and its continued performance, we were hopeful that we would continue the streak.”

College President Carol Mooney also described her satisfaction in a statement on the College web site.

“In my first year as president of Saint Mary’s, I am proud to look back on the College’s consistent recognition as one of America’s best,” Mooney said. “I am excited to work with the faculty to achieve even greater success in educating young women.”

However, the ranking is more than just a mark of prestige. It can also be a valuable tool for the school. The success streak Saint Mary’s has enjoyed in the U.S. News and World Report rankings is included as an endorsement in recruiting materials.

“We realize that parents and prospective students use the U.S. News rankings as a tool in their college search, so a strong ranking can be helpful in getting recognition, especially for smaller schools like Saint Mary’s,” Farmer said.

Despite the welcomed attention and affirmation the top ranking brings to the College, Farmer said it describes only a part of the experience of Saint Mary’s. With a new president and a renewed focus on academic excellence, the College has no intention of growing complacent with its position.

“While the U.S. News rankings are well-recognized by parents and prospective students, the College ultimately measures its success based on the academic, professional and personal success of its graduates,” Farmer said.