The Public Honors College

SMCM Newsroom

St. Mary’s Chosen as One of Best Public Liberal Arts Colleges

Moved Up Four Spots by “U.S. News” Ranking
August 19, 2010
Press Release #10-145


St. Mary’s College of Maryland continues to get top grades in the annual best college ranking guides, including the influential U.S. News and World Report, which lists St. Mary’s as one of the top five public liberal arts colleges in the nation and has moved the college up four spots to 88 in the list of the top 100 national liberal arts colleges. U.S. News, which released its numbers this week, made some significant changes in methodology this year, including weighing graduation rates more heavily and, for the first time, including the opinions of high school counselors.

Of the guides most closely watched by families and high school students trying to decide where to go to college, Kiplinger’s, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the Princeton Review in cooperation with USA Today, rated St. Mary’s College one of the Best Values for a college education. Kiplinger’s, Bloomberg Businessweek, and U.S. News classified it as one of the best public liberal arts colleges.

“St. Mary’s College,” said President Joseph R. Urgo, “presents a distinctive model as a public liberal arts institution and as the State of Maryland’s honors college. Qualified, academically ambitious students deserve the intellectual challenge and the individual attention that they get from our faculty and from the honors college curriculum. Our public status assures our commitment to providing access to the rigors of an honors education to any student who has the ability and the will to be successful here.”

Other recent rankings:

-          Forbes magazine ranked St. Mary’s 89th both in 2009 and 2010.

-          In the Fiske Guide to Colleges, St. Mary’s received 4 out of 5 stars in Academics, 3 out of 5 in Social Life, and 4 out of 5 in Quality of Living. Also, for the second year, the college is listed as one of the best small colleges in the country for music study.

 “Twenty-five years ago,” say Fiske editors, “St. Mary’s College of Maryland was just another public college, albeit one with a gorgeous waterfront campus in the oldest continuously inhabited English settlement in the New World. Then, the state of Maryland decided to make St. Mary’s its public “honors college” – and the rest, as they say, is history. With a student/faculty ratio of 12.2 to 1, students here can easily design their own majors, undertake independent research projects, or work closely with professors to investigate whatever interests them. St. Mary’s has worked hard to establish itself as one of the nation’s premier public liberal arts colleges.”

St. Mary’s also is being recognized for happy students, high race/class interaction, and a strong commitment to the environment. St. Mary’s, says The Princeton Review, “has all the intellectual stimulation of a private liberal arts school with none of the academic rivalry. … Students throw around the word “community” like rice at a wedding.”

Founded in 1840 as Maryland's "monument school" commemorating the state's first capital, St. Mary’s is the state's only public honors college.