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UC San Diego again tops national rankings of universities

August 27, 2012 | 12:12 pm

UC San Diego student centerUC San Diego again blew away Harvard, Princeton and Yale in an unusual ranking of national universities compiled annually by the Washington Monthly magazine.

The 2012 listing, released Monday, put the UC San Diego campus as No. 1 nationwide for the third year in a row based on such socially conscious efforts as enrolling and graduating low-income students, supporting research and encouraging students’ public service.

The whole UC system did well once more in the Washington Monthly evaluations, with four campuses in the top 10 and six in the top 20.

In the top 10, the La Jolla campus was followed by Texas A&M, Stanford, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Case Western Reserve, University of Washington in Seattle, UC Riverside and Georgia Tech. UC Santa Barbara was 14 and UC Davis 17.

By the liberal magazine’s measurements, Harvard was 11, Princeton 20 and Yale 41. That is radically different from other college rankings, such as those compiled by U.S. News & World Report, which puts more emphasis on a school’s financial endowment, academic reputation and selectivity in admission. In that listing, Harvard was No. 1 this year, with Princeton and Yale ranking second and third; UC San Diego was 37.

In an article published Monday about the rankings, the Washington Monthly expressed admiration for, and concern about, the UC system: “Six of our top twenty universities hail from the UC system, a testament to their commitment to enroll an economically diverse student body while supporting world-class research. Tragically, the system has been rocked by budget cuts and price increases in recent years. We hope this trend is reversed before the UC campuses fade from prominence.”

In a statement released Monday, UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla welcomed the ranking announcement. “Public service is integral to our mission. It is an honor to be recognized three years in a row as the No. 1 university in the nation for our dedication to service, innovative research, and efforts to ensure accessibility and affordability for a diverse student body,” he said.


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-- Larry Gordon

Photo: The UC San Diego Student Center. Credit: Philipp Scholz Rittermann / UC San Diego Stuart Collection