Belmont University rose five spots in the latest annual ranking of America’s best colleges and universities in U.S. News & World Report and is now ranked 10th in the South in the “Best Universities – Masters” category. Belmont has risen 11 spots in the annual U.S. News ranking since 2003 when the university ranked 21st; at No.10, this is Belmont’s most impressive showing yet in the annual publication. Other Master’s institutions in the top 10 include such schools as Rollins College, James Madison University, Samford University, Elon University and The Citadel.
“We are thrilled to be recognized in the top 10 in an impressive community of colleges and universities,” Belmont President Bob Fisher said. “Belmont has experienced unprecedented physical growth over the past several years, but we have also grown in quality, with each new freshman class more academically gifted than the last. Our commitment to retaining our focus on academic excellence is reflected in this year’s ranking.”
The rankings in America’s Best Colleges 2007 are based on several quality indicators including student retention rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratios and scores on college entrance exams. The Master’s category includes institutions that provide a full range of undergraduate and master’s programs but a limited number of doctoral programs.
“Belmont is rapidly becoming the college of choice for students seeking a creative and challenging academic environment with learning that is steeped in real world experience,” University Provost Dr. Dan McAlexander said. “Our outstanding faculty and staff are committed to creating a premier teaching university that integrates the best of liberal and professional learning. As Belmont rises in national prominence, we are attracting increasingly qualified students who choose Belmont because of our unique academic atmosphere and vibrant campus community.”
Belmont’s high rankings come after several years of remarkable growth and accomplishment at the university. In 2000, Belmont’s enrollment was 2,970 students. Last year’s fall enrollment numbered over 4,300, and this fall is expected to top 4,500 students. As Belmont’s enrollment has grown the qualifications of incoming students has increased. The projected average ACT score for the 2006 incoming freshman class is 26, up from 23.6 just five years ago. In June the university opened the doors of the Gordon E. Inman Center, a $22.5 million facility that houses Belmont’s health sciences programs. Thrailkill Hall, a new residence facility, opened this month and will house 322 students.
Belmont’s growing student body continuously receives accolades for its commitment to academic discipline and success. For the fifth year in a row, Belmont’s athletic department won the Atlantic Sun All-Academic trophy for having the greatest percentage of student-athletes to earn a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the 2005-06 academic year. Last March Belmont’s men’s basketball team, which had 12 team members make the Atlantic Sun All-Academic team, made history when it made its first appearance in the NCAA Championship Tournament. In its first year, the Belmont Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team won the Rookie of the Year award at the SIFE national competition as well as runner-up in the entrepreneurship category.
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“Baptist higher ed prominent in U.S. News annual rankings” – Baptist Press, September 28, 2006