USM Named a 2014 ‘Best Midwestern College’

8/12/2013 12:00:00 AM

Designation is 9th Consecutive Regional Best Honor for USM

(Leavenworth, Kan.)—The University of Saint Mary this month was named a “Best Midwestern College” by The Princeton Review for the ninth consecutive year. The designation primarily honors schools for their commitment to academic excellence.

USM was one of only 155 Midwestern higher learning institutions to earn the Princeton Review Best Regional College honor for 2014. Only about 25 percent of the country’s 2,500 four-year colleges make one of the Review’s four regional lists. In the Kansas City area, USM is part of a short roll of “Best Midwestern College” winners that also includes the University of Central Missouri, University of Missouri-Kansas City, William Jewell, and Baker University.

The Princeton Review selects schools for its regional best-of honors based on independent student surveys and the respective institution’s record for strong academics. The complete lists can be found online at Schools on the regional list are not ranked. USM’s Midwestern region includes colleges from Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

“We're pleased to recommend these colleges to users of our site as the best schools at which to earn their undergrad degree,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior vice president/publisher. “We chose these as our ‘regional best’ colleges mainly for their excellent academic programs… We also take into account what students at the schools reported to us.”

The Princeton Review asks students to rate their own schools in several key areas—from the accessibility of the faculty to the vibrancy of a given school’s student life program. Students also answer questions about themselves, their fellow students, and the general atmosphere and culture on campus.

Students responding to the survey on USM said Saint Mary offers “a ‘quality’ liberal arts education… with a personal touch.” Students raved about the “helpful and caring” faculty and said the campus is full of “friendly people who are always willing to do what it takes to solve your problem… students at Saint Mary are more than just an ID number.” Student respondents also remarked that “classes are not just lecture halls” and are taught by “very intelligent” professors who together comprise “the school’s greatest strength.” Students also describe their peers as very welcoming. “There is not one typical student at Saint Mary’s… There are several students from small rural communities as well as several from larger cities. We come from all over the nation, with some international students too.”

Dr. Bryan Le Beau, vice president for academic affairs at the University of Saint Mary, noted that “once again the nationally recognized Princeton Review has applied its widely held standard measures of academic quality to USM and found us worthy to be named a ‘Best Midwestern College.

“We are grateful, and we are also proud of what we accomplish year after year.”

Founded in 1981, The Princeton Review ( is a privately held education services company headquartered in Framingham, MA. The Company has long been a leader in helping students achieve their education and career goals through its test preparation services, tutoring and admissions resources, online courses, and more than 150 print and digital books published by Random House, Inc. The Princeton Review delivers its programs via a network of more than 5,000 teachers and tutors in the U.S.A., Canada, and international franchises. The Company also partners with schools and guidance counselors worldwide to provide students with college readiness, test preparation and career planning services.