October 11, 2002


USAO Named No. 1 in the West, Again

For the second year in a row, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma has been named the No. 1 public undergraduate college in the Western United States by U.S. News and World Report.

Released first on its website, the magazine also calls USAO the "No. 1 Best Value" in the West among schools in the "Comprehensive-Bachelor's" category. The magazine's annual college guide hit newsstands on Sept. 13. Besides quality, USAO also earned praise for cultural diversity and for helping students achieve their educational goals with less debt.

"This is extraordinary news," said President John Feaver. "Since the rankings are based on volumes of data provided by thousands of colleges nationwide, it is a distinct honor to reach this mark twice. We have been ranked among the top 25 percent of regional liberal arts colleges for the quality of our academic programs for the past several years by the magazine,
but this announcement is welcome news."

New national attention also helps when state budgets are hurting, he said.

"These kinds of rankings are particularly helpful to USAO at a time when state revenues are declining, as the college focuses its full efforts on fundraising and development," Feaver explained. "It demonstrates to our friends and alumni that USAO is a quality institution worthy of their generosity and loyalty."

Sen. Bruce Price, D-Hinton, added his applause. "I¹m elated. The faculty and administrative leadership at USAO, as well as the input of alumni and students, has attracted national attention to this institution. This is a team effort, and I¹m proud of the staff and students at USAO and privileged to represent USAO in my senate district."

Rep. Susan Winchester, R-Chickasha, said, "As Oklahoma's leadership seeks to boost higher academic standards, led by dedicated faculty, seeking excellence for the Oklahoma education system, it is rewarding to see USAO recognized in this way for the second straight year."

Of special interest to Lynn Boyce, USAO's chief information officer, is the college's new ranking as a "best value" by the magazine.

"Here in Oklahoma, we've always known that USAO is an excellent value," she said. "But this ranking from a national publication tells the story to a much greater audience. This year, USAO was the only public school to rank among the top 18 'best values' in the Western Comprehensive College list.

USAO remains the only public school ranked as No. 1 in any of the four regions, as well as the only public school among the top 40 colleges nationwide to be ranked as a 'best value' school."

In only the second year for the category, "Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelors" ranks "institutions focusing on undergraduate education and offering a range of degree programs in the liberal arts which account for fewer than half
their bachelor¹s degrees and in professional fields such as business and education." The category includes both public and private colleges.

In USAO¹s category, the magazine listed 324 colleges divided into four regions: north, south, midwest and west. The Western Region, led by USAO, encompasses 15 states, including California, Texas, Hawaii and Alaska. No other public university in Oklahoma made the "Top Public Colleges" list in their category.

Contact: Randy Talley, 405-574-1337, cell 574-5551, rtalley@usao.edu OR Jason Jewell, 405-574-1210, jjewell@usao.edu