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Saint Mary’s rank falls in new report

Liz Harter | Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Saint Mary’s tied for 104th among the U.S. News and World Report’s top liberal arts colleges for 2009.

This is only the second year the College, which had previously been counted among the top liberal arts schools in the region, has been on the national rankings list. It held the number 91st spot last year.

The College’s Director of Media Relations Gwen O’Brien said the school securing a national ranking for a second consecutive year indicates Saint Mary’s is on a course to meet a key goal in the College’s Strategic Plan, which is to provide “Educational Excellence Equal to that of the Best Colleges in the Country.”

“The College hasn’t done anything differently in the past year,” she said. “We continue to follow the leadership of our president who has been at the helm for four years now. She set a goal early in her presidency to move into the national liberal arts rankings and that’s where we are.”

College President Carol Ann Mooney said in an Aug. 22 statement, “The real proof of our success can be found in our graduates.”

“We know we compete on a national level. Saint Mary’s excellent faculty and our commitment to educate the whole person set us apart,” she said.

While Saint Mary’s U.S. News ranking dropped slightly this year – to 104 from 91 last year – O’Brien said this fact is not necessarily worrisome to College officials.

“While our ranking number did slip this year, our overall score actually improved, increasing by a point,” she said. “We are very proud of that fact.”

The Princeton Review also recognized Saint Mary’s as a “Best Midwestern College for 2009,” a category the College has ranked in since the Princeton Review began the “Best Regional College” categorization six years ago.

U.S. News and World Report, which relies heavily on evaluations from peer institutions, differs from the Princeton Review, which considers student input. Its rankings are based on standards for excellence and student opinion data, collected through a survey on its Web site.

The information was compiled in the publication’s “Best Colleges: Region by Region” section of the Web site dedicated to colleges that “stand out as academically excellent institutions of higher learning.”