Catholic universities, colleges rank well in 2012 US News annual best list

It seems that everyone is in the school-ranking games these days. Indeed, you can’t turn around without getting a top 10 list of everything from movies to animal acts. However, U.S. News and World Report remains the all-time champion of university and college ranking. Academicians love to hate them, but they all check it out.

In the just-published 2012 rankings, the 250 or so American Catholic colleges and universities did well, especially in the liberal arts and regional universities categories. Here they are:

Among the national universities — those that offer a full range of undergraduate and graduate degrees and do grand-breaking research — the University of Notre Dame again led the pack at #19. Georgetown University was next at #22. In the top 100 were Boston College, #31, Fordham University, #53, Marquette University, #82, St. Louis University, #90, and the University of San Diego, #97.

Also in the top ranking national universities are University of Dayton, #101, and University of St. Thomas (Minn.), #115. Four tied for #119: The Catholic University of America, Duquesne University, Loyola University Chicago and University of San Francisco. DePaul and Seton Hall universities tied at #132. The other ranking schools were St. John Fisher University, #143, St. John’s University (N.Y.), #152, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, #177, and Immaculata University, #194.

In the rankings for liberal arts colleges — those that “emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half their degrees in liberal arts fields” — College of the Holy Cross ranked highest at #29. St. John’s University (Minn.) and Thomas Aquinas College (Calif.) tied for #71. The College of St. Benedict (Minn.) tied with St. Mary’s College (Ind.) for #90. St. Michael’s College ranked at #99.

Filling out the liberal arts rankings were Siena and Stonehill colleges tying at #112, St. Norbert College, #127, St. Anselm College, #139, and St. Vincent College, #157.

The annual ranking groups together regional universities. These are defined as offering “a full range of undergrad programs and some master’s programs but few doctoral programs.”

In the south, Loyola University New Orleans was the top Catholic school at #8. Bellarmine University, #14, Spring Hill College, #17, and Christian Brothers University, #24, made the top 25. The others that ranked were Marymount University (Va.), #45, Thomas More College, #49, and tying at #63 were two Florida Catholic universities, St. Leo and St. Thomas.

Catholic universities rocked the western rankings with Trinity, Santa Clara, Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount (Calif.) taking, respectively, the first four spots. Seattle University was a close #6, and the University of Portland was #9. In the top 25 were also St. Mary’s College of California, #12, and three Texas schools, University of Dallas, #14, St. Edward’s University, #21, and St. Mary’s University of San Antonio, #22.

Others in the western rankings were Mount St. Mary’s College (Calif.), #28, University of St. Thomas (Texas), #30, Regis University, #31, Dominican University of California, #37. St. Martin’s University, #57, Notre Dame de Namur University, #69, and Holy Names University, #83.

Both the Midwest and the North are jam-packed with Catholic schools, and there was an explosion of them on the listings.

In the Midwest, Creighton University took the #1 spot. Xavier University (Ohio) was #4, and John Carroll University (Ohio) was #7. In the top 25 also were St. Catherine University, #14, Dominican (Ill.) and Rockhurst universities tying at #19 and University of Detroit Mercy, #23. Rounding out the top 50 were the College of St. Scholastica, #26, Franciscan University of Steubenville, #32. Illinois’ St. Xavier University and the University of St. Francis tying for #37, St. Ambrose University, #40, and Lewis University, #41.

Ranking in the top 100 were Aquinas College (Mich.), #53, Alverno College, #62, Fontbonne University, #66, College of Mount St. Joseph (Ohio) and Walsh University tying at #72, Ursuline College, #78, College of St. Mary (Neb.), #81, and Avila University, #88. Quincy University was at #91, and Madonna University was at #96. Ohio Dominican University tied with University of St. Francis (Ind.) at #98.

Finishing the ranking in the midwest were University of Mary (N.D.), #103, Marian University, #109, and Newman and Viterbo universities at #110.

The largest region, of course, is the north. Again Catholic universities trumped took the top four spots with Villanova, Fairfield, Loyola Maryland and Providence respectively ranking. St. Joseph (Penn.) and Scranton universities tied at #8. Making the top 25 also were Marist College, #13, Manhattan College, #15, Le Moyne College, #18, Canisius College, #20 and Mount St. Mary’s University (Md.), #21.

In the top 50 also were Iona College, #30, Notre Dame of Maryland and St. Bonaventure universities tying at #32, Assumption College and Salve Regina University tying at #34, College of St. Rose, #39, LaSalle and Sacred Heart universities tying at #41, St. Francis University (Penn.), #46, and Mercyhurst College, #49.

Following in the top 100 were Marywood College and Misericordia University tying at #52, Emmanuel College, #60, Niagara University, #68, Rosemont College, #74, DeSales University, #79, St. Joseph College (Conn.), #82, and St. Joseph College New York, #91.

Also in the north regional ranking were Gregorian Court University, #102, Holy Family University and St. Peter’s College tying at #104, New York colleges, Mount St. Vincent and St. Thomas Aquinas, tying at #125, Chestnut Hill and Mount St. Mary (N.Y.) colleges tying at #132, and Albert Magnus and Alvernia colleges tying at #136.

Regional colleges are defined as schools that “focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than half their degrees in liberal arts disciplines.”

Four Catholic schools in the south were included: Wheeling Jesuit University, #8, Brescia University, #21, Belmont Abbey College, #38, and Aquinas College (Tenn.), #61.

Only two Catholic schools ranked in the west region, both in Montana: Carroll College and University of Great Falls.

In the midwest, eight Catholic schools made the rankings. They are Mount Mercy College, #24,  St. Mary-of-the-Woods College (Ind.), #25, Benedictine and St. Joseph (Ind.) colleges tying at #27, Marian University, #33, Mount Marty College, #40, Notre Dame College of Ohio, #50, and Silver Lake College, #63.

In the North, Catholic colleges are almost always large, but there are some small gems. Five ranked this year: Merrimack College, #8, Seton Hill University, #13, College of Our Lady of the Elms, #25, La Roche College, #30, and Mount Aloysius College, #37.

Of course, different ranking organizations rank in different ways. Rankings of neither #1 nor #150 indicate the success or failure of a student’s education. The criterion that the matters most of all is that a college and a student are well matched.

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