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September 6, 2001

Calvin 4th in US News Rankings

A change in category hasn't hurt Calvin College in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings (on sale on September 10).

Calvin will check in at number four in its new category of Midwest Comprehensive Bachelor's Colleges. There are 110 schools in that group, putting Calvin in the top four percent.

"Calvin is in some pretty select company," says Calvin vice president Tom McWhertor (above). "The top 10 is filled with good schools. We're happy to be recognized as one of them."

St. Mary's College, Ind., a fellow MIAA school is number-one in the group. Taylor, Ind., is second and St. Norbert, Wis., third. Ohio Northern trailed Calvin for fifth place in the category. Simpson, Iowa, Wartburg, Iowa, Augustana, S.D., Central, Iowa, and Millikin, Ill., round out the top 10.

Calvin has been a top-ranked school in the past but in a different category, one that included both private liberal arts colleges like itself as well as bigger state universities. A recent reclassification of schools by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching landed Calvin in its new category and U.S. News followed suit in its rankings.

Calvin's new category is made up of institutions that focus on undergraduate education and offer a range of degree programs, in the liberal arts, which account for fewer than half the bachelor's degrees, and in professional fields such as business, nursing, accounting, engineering, social work and education.

School officials awaited this year's results with bated breath, not knowing how a switch in categories might impact the Calvin ranking. They were pleased by the results.

McWhertor also was pleased to see that Calvin's score for academic reputation was the highest of any school in its category.

"We have worked hard to be a place that was known both for its Christian commitment and its academic excellence. Our current tagline, 'Minds in the Making,' expresses the high regard we have here for the life of the mind. Having the highest academic reputation of any school in our category is heartening."

In its 110-school category, Calvin also had the highest percentage of full-time faculty (93%), the second-best freshman retention rate (86%) and the fourth-best graduation rate (69%). "Those are all important measures," says McWhertor, who thinks the new category is a good fit for Calvin.

"Our focus is definitely undergraduate education," he says. "In fact we just introduced a new core curriculum this year that further strengthens our undergraduate emphasis. Calvin offers many traditional majors such as English, philosophy and history. In addition we have a large number of graduates every year who come through the education, business, nursing and engineering programs, giving us a nice blend of professional and classic liberal arts training."

U.S News & World Report has been ranking colleges since 1983 and its survey is widely considered to be one of the most thorough. The survey ranks colleges on academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. Calvin has been a top-ranked school 14 of the last 16 years.

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-957-6475 (v)
616-957-7069 (f)