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W&M moves up in U.S. News national rankings

  • U.S. News ranking
    U.S. News ranking  William and Mary ranked 32nd out of all national universities and 6th among public universities for the 10th year in a row, according to U.S. News.  By Stephen Salpukas.
  • High performance
    High performance  William and Mary continues to turn conventional wisdom on its head, ranking 32nd in quality, while placing only a modest 111th in financial resources. Achieving more with less is "a testament to the extraordinarily high caliber of the faculty, students and staff at William and Mary," according to Interim President W. Taylor Reveley III.  By Stephen Salpukas.
  • Intimate class size
    Intimate class size  With the campus' changing autumn foliage as a backdrop, a class meets between the Wren Building and the Sunken Garden. Statistics from U.S. News and World Report indicate that the College's student/faculty ratio of 11/1 is the lowest among the top public universities and comparable to the top 25 schools in the United States.  By Stephen Salpukas.
  • Celebration time
    Celebration time  Dressed in cap and gown, students gather as they prepare to make the ceremonial walk across campus from the Wren Building to William and Mary Hall - venue for the commencement exercises. U.S. News and World Report recognized William and Mary's stellar graduation rate in its 2009 rankings of the nation's institutions of higher education.  By Stephen Salpukas.
  • They'll be back
    They'll be back  Last year's crop of William and Mary freshmen unload their luggage with some help from their families. Statistics indicate that 95 percent of these first-year students will return for their sophomore year. U.S. News and World Report cited William and Mary's high retention and graduation rates - 18th among the nation's top schools.  By Stephen Salpukas.
  • New and improved
    New and improved  A tour group stops outside Earl Gregg Swem Library, which has undergone extensive renovations and expansions in recent years. The work more than doubled the library's size and turned it into a state-of-the-art library facility. Recent rankings by the Princeton Review acknowledge the library's improvements, placing William and Mary in its "Best College Library" top ten.  By Stephen Salpukas.
  • Top ranking
    Top ranking  Members of one of William and Mary's sororities gather to observe Senior Toast, one of many annual traditions. In addition to being the birthplace of Greek-letter social organizations, Phi Beta Kappa - the nation's premier honor society - was founded here, William and Mary also retains a more recent distinction. For 2009, the college ranked sixth among public schools on both the Forbes and U.S. News and World Report lists.  By Stephen Salpukas.
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William and Mary moved up a spot to 32nd overall in national rankings and the College  maintained its spot as the sixth-best public university in the country, according to  the latest U.S. News & World Report.

It is the second time in less than a week that William and Mary has been recognized by a national magazine as one of the country’s best. Last week, Forbes magazine – using a different methodology -- ranked William and Mary sixth best among publics and 49th overall. In July, Forbes also ranked the Commonwealth of Virginia as the country’s best state for business.  Virginia topped the list, the magazine said, in part because of “top colleges like the University of Virginia and William and Mary.”

"It is very good to see that we've more than held our own in the U.S. News rankings," said William and Mary Interim President W. Taylor Reveley III. "It continues to amaze me how well William & Mary does with such modest financial resources.  U.S. News ranks us 32nd among all U.S. universities but only 111th in financial resources.  We alone have such a yawning gap between academic quality, on the one hand, and funding to sustain the university, on the other. It's a testament to the extraordinarily high caliber of the faculty, students and staff at William & Mary."

According to the U.S. News annual survey, which was posted on the magazine’s Web site Friday, William and Mary ranked 32nd among all public and private universities, which is up from 33rd a year ago. For the tenth year in a row, William and Mary was listed as the sixth-best public university. However, William and Mary’s financial resources ranked 111th – by far the lowest ranking among the magazine’s top 50 national universities.

Despite inadequate financial resources, William and Mary continues to perform very well in other categories in the U.S. News rankings. For example, the College's faculty/student ratio of 11/1 is the lowest among the top public universities--and comparable to those at the nation's top 25 schools. In addition, nearly 50 percent of William and Mary's classes have fewer than 20 students. According to the rankings, William and Mary is 18th in the country in the category of graduation and retention rate. For the first time, U.S. News included a national ranking by high-school counselors from across the country. W&M ranked tied for 25th in that list. In addition, U.S. News ranked the college's undergraduate business program 43rd in the nation, up five spots from last year's 48th ranking. Among public universities, the magazine ranked the undergraduate business program 22nd in the country.

“Gratifying as it is to be so recognized, such distinctions come from the dedication and hard work of a talented faculty and staff, working day-by-day with immensely talented students,” said William and Mary Provost P. Geoffrey Feiss.  “We do much with little; William and Mary’s pride in its mission and its dedication to its vision as one of the great liberal arts universities would tolerate no less.”

Among public universities, UVA finished second overall and the University California – Berkeley remained in the top spot, according to U.S. News. Among all universities, UVA ranked 23rd overall and Harvard University claimed the top spot. Virginia Tech was listed among the top tier of national schools in a tie for 71st overall and a tie for 30th among public universities.

U.S. News annually compiles data that ranks colleges and universities, both public and private institutions, in several categories based on criteria such as graduation rates, class sizes, academic reputation, freshmen retention rates, alumni contributions and faculty resources. The rankings, which will be published in the September issue of the magazine -- scheduled to hit newsstands Monday -- are also available Friday at

William and Mary also appeared in a number of rankings and polls this summer. In addition to U.S. News and Forbes magazines, the Princeton Review recently ranked William and Mary eighth in the category of “Best College Library.”