Citadel at top of colleges listing

The Citadel

The Citadel was named the top public university in the South for the second consecutive year in U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges rankings, which were released today.

The military college also ranked eighth in the South for best value; first in the region among public and private schools for its rate of alumni giving; and its engineering program ranked 17th in the nation, up from a rank of 20th last year.

Lt. Gen. John Rosa, the school's president, said the No. 1 ranking is a point of pride for a lot people who worked hard. “At least one group thinks we're doing it right,” he said.

Rosa said that ranking was based on the: freshman retention rate, graduation rate, percentage of classes with fewer than 20 students, faculty-student ratio, percentage of full-time faculty, and rate of alumni giving.

“We don't chase these rankings,” Rosa said, but the criteria the magazine uses line up with what The Citadel considers important.

The school faced some hard times last year when it came under intense scrutiny for its handling of a complaint against child molester Louis “Skip” ReVille. But the top ranking brings some much deserved recognition to faculty, staff and cadets at The Citadel, he said. “The true character of an organization stands the test of time,”

All the rankings released today also should benefit student recruitment, Rosa said. The military college already has broken enrollment records over the past few years.

In the future the college simply will continue doing the right thing, he said. The school has a strategic plan it will follow to continue to boost its academic and leadership development programs.

And it will continue to try to increase the rate of alumni giving. This year, 30 percent of alumni contributed to the college, he said. But school leaders would like to boost that to 50 percent.

Alumni stepped up and helped financially during recent tough economic times, Rosa said. “My hat goes off to them.

The 2012 Best Colleges guidebook will be on newsstands Sept. 18.

Rankings of other state colleges and universities:

Fourth among public colleges and universities in the South

Sixth on the “up-and- coming” regional universities list

“A-Plus School for B Students” among Southern regional universities

25th among the nation's top public universities, the same as last year

Seventh among “up-and-coming schools” that have made “the most promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus or facilities.”

Recognized for writing in the disciplines

58th in engineering schools among all institutions, public and private, whose highest degree is a doctorate

Top undergraduate international business program in the nation

55th among all national public universities

“A-Plus Schools for B Students”

One of the nation's best student-enrichment programs for First-Year Experience and Learning Communities

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.