WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- In its 13th annual America's Best Colleges guidebook, to be published Monday, Aug. 23, and to be carried in that week's issue of the magazine, U.S. News & World Report names Whitman College one of the country's top national liberal arts colleges.

In this year's edition of the rankings, Whitman ranks 35th among the 159 national liberal arts colleges. In improving from last year's ranking of 36th, Whitman again placed solidly among the nation's best institutions of higher learning. Whitman has earned higher and higher ratings from U.S. News in recent years.

There are 159 schools in the national liberal arts category, which includes the nation's most selective colleges. These colleges are divided into four tiers. Whitman is the Pacific Northwest's only national liberal arts college in the top tier, and one of only five on the West Coast.

U.S. News bases its national school rankings on academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and graduation rate performance (the difference between actual and predicted graduation rates). Areas in which Whitman is consistently impressive include graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, and the percentage of first-year students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

"We are pleased, though not surprised, at the improvement in our ranking this year," said Thomas E. Cronin, president of Whitman. "It is important, however, to understand the statistics U.S. News & World Report uses only tell part of the story of a college. Some of our greatest strengths, such as the quality of the Whitman faculty, are not reflected in these ratings."

Whitman has won widespread favorable notice in several other rankings over the past year. Kiplinger's Magazine recently rated Whitman one of the top 15 "best value" liberal arts colleges in the nation. The Princeton Review Guide to Best Colleges rates Whitman among the top 10 coed liberal arts colleges for academic excellence, and Yahoo Internet Magazine ranks Whitman among the top "most wired" liberal arts colleges in America.


Mason Smith, Whitman College Communications, (509) 527-5768
Email: smithmm@whitman.edu