SMCM Ranks First Among Public Liberal Arts Colleges In U.S.

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (Aug. 24, 2008)—St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) ranks first among public traditional liberal arts colleges in the nation in last week's edition of U. S. News and World Report magazine, rising significantly in rankings. The College received the highest ranking as one of the top five public, traditional liberal arts colleges in the nation. St. Mary's College of Maryland, which rose to 84th in the overall liberal arts colleges ranking, was rated above Goucher and Bennington colleges. The number one and number two ranked liberal arts colleges were Amherst and Williams.

The magazine cited SMCM's high graduation rate as well as improvement in most areas. The school's overall ranking among the top 100 private and public liberal arts colleges improved from 87th in 2008 to 84th in 2009. Peer assessment, average freshman retention rate, and predicted and actual graduation rates increased. The percentage of classes with 20 or fewer students, and the percentage of faculty who are full time also showed an increase.

"The U.S. News and World Report ranking is noteworthy," said Jane Margaret "Maggie" O'Brien, president of St. Mary's College. "We are particularly proud of the College moving up in the rankings 11 places over the last two years."

The College was judged one of the best of the 265 liberal arts colleges in the nation, of which most are private. Liberal arts colleges emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half their degrees in the arts and sciences.

The only other public institutions to rank higher than SMCM on the magazine's list of "Best Public Liberal Arts Colleges" were some of the nation's military academies: the U.S. Military Academy (NY), the U.S. Naval Academy (MD), and the Virginia Military Institute.

Using a proprietary methodology, the annual U. S. News & World Report rankings represent a comprehensive look at how schools compare. Methodology is based on 17 widely accepted indicators of excellence, and help consumers evaluate and compare data compiled from more than 1,400 accredited four-year schools. An online and video guide to the report is available on the website

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