001Write-Up & Photo by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com

The University of Connecticut, my alma mater, has once again been ranked among the top public universities in the nation. In its annual rankings for 2014, U.S. News & World Report has placed UConn at number nineteen, returning to its position among the top twenty colleges nationwide and highlighting something that those of us who attended already knew – UConn is one of the best universities in the country.

U.S. News & World Report cites UConn as a leading research university for programs such as Bioscience Connecticut. The university was also praised for offering one hundred majors and a special mention was made of The Neag School of Education’s kinesiology doctoral program. It was two years ago that a top 20 spot was first earned by UConn, before being moved to twenty-one last year. Reportedly, graduation rate performance was a key factor in UConn garnering this latest recognition.

In a message posted on the university website, President Susan Herbst is quoted as saying, “Our success is owed to the visionary support UConn receives from the state and its leaders so every citizen in Connecticut can be very proud of their flagship public university.”

Situated in a rural setting, UConn is described by U.S. News & World Report as “picturesque”.

In fact, the beauty of the 4,067 acre Storrs campus alone is noteworthy, possibly owed to its origins as an agricultural college founded in 1881. Each spring the university still hosts an agriculture and horticulture fair. It has its own dairy bar providing a variety of flavors made on site. Another link to its agricultural roots, UConn has an award-winning equestrian team. The aptly named Horsebarn Hill, once legendary for winter sledding, is just across the road from a horse barn. A skating rink is another very popular attraction. While attending UConn I worked at an ice cream and sandwich shop on the Four Corners, about 5 minutes from campus. One of my co-workers played intramural ice hockey for UConn and participation was so high that games were slated well into the wee hours of the morning – at 20-something, great fun to go watch after midnight.

Much attention is often paid to UConn sports but it is wonderful as well to have the university receive the acknowledgement it deserves for academics.