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Union climbs to 14th in annual U.S.News rankings

Miller Tower, Jennings Hall and Providence Hall on Union's Great Lawn.
Miller Tower, Jennings Hall and Providence Hall on Union's Great Lawn.

JACKSON, Tenn.Sept. 11, 2012 – Union University moved up one spot to 14th among regional universities in the South, according to the annual rankings of colleges and universities by U.S.News & World Report released Sept. 12.

It’s the third straight year for Union to be ranked in the top 15 schools in its category, and the highest ranking ever for the university. This year also marks the 16th straight year for Union to be categorized as one of the South’s best universities.

A regional university, according to U.S.News & World Report, is one that provides a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s degree programs, while also offering a few doctoral programs. The category includes 625 universities ranked with four geographic areas – North, South, Midwest and West. Other categories the publication uses are national universities, national liberal arts colleges and regional colleges.

“Once again we are quite pleased and most thankful that the outstanding quality of a Union University education has been recognized with the highest rankings in Union's history,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “I offer my heartiest congratulations to the faculty, staff and students on the various and significant recognitions and listings found in this year's U.S.News & World Report Best Colleges rankings.”

For the fourth straight year, Union ranked highly for its strong commitment to teaching. Among all regional universities in the South, Union ranked in the top five for institutions “where the faculty has an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.” Joining Union in this recognition among regional universities in the South were Elon University, Belmont University, James Madison University, Loyola University New Orleans and Rollins College. Only 47 schools in the nation earned this description.

For the fifth straight year, the magazine ranked Union as one of the top “Up-and-Coming Schools” in the nation. Union ranked fourth in the South in the “Regional Universities” category of schools that “have recently made the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus, or facilities.” Only 49 schools in the nation were designated as “Up-and-Coming Schools.”

Also for the fifth straight year, Union was selected as one of 22 “A-Plus Schools for B Students” in the South, a category that highlights those colleges “where nonsuperstars have a decent shot at being accepted and thriving—where spirit and hard work could make all the difference in admissions offices.”

In addition, Union’s freshman retention rate of 91 percent was tied with James Madison University for tops among regional universities in the South.

Overall, other West Tennessee institutions ranked in the top tier of the “regional universities” category were Christian Brothers University (25th), Freed-Hardeman University (39th) and the University of Tennessee-Martin (44th). Among other institutions in the Gulf South Conference (in addition to Christian Brothers) in the top tier of the “regional universities” category were the University of North Alabama (59th), Valdosta State University (67th), Delta State University (80th), and the University of West Georgia (91st).

The U.S.News rankings follow other recent recognitions for Union, including the Princeton Review, which named Union as one of the best colleges in the Southeast, and RateMyProfessors.com, where Union was the fourth highest rated institution in the nation.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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