Published on September 12, 2012 by Philip Poole  

Samford University maintained its high ranking in the annual U.S. News & World Report collegiate rankings made public Sept. 12. Samford was ranked fourth among Regional Universities-South for the second consecutive year, continuing a three-decade tradition of being ranked in the top tier of its peer group.

Samford was the highest ranked university in Alabama in any peer group and ranked very high among Southern Conference peers. Among Southern Conference schools, only Elon University (North Carolina) was higher, ranked second in the same category as Samford. Samford also was among the highest-ranking historically Baptist colleges and universities.

“Rankings are just one measure of an institution’s success,” said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland. “We always are interested in assessing our standing compared with our peers, but, at Samford we believe that our best assessment is in the academic success of our faculty, students and alumni.”

The rankings are based on the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classifications and assess such criteria as academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, class size, faculty/student ratios and alumni giving, according to R. Phil Kimrey, Samford’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. Peer assessments from presidents, provosts and chief admission officers of institutions in the same classification also are used to determine the rankings.

Institutions in Samford’s classification are ranked in four regions. Samford’s overall score placed it 12th nationally among the 625 institutions classified as regional universities. This is the largest classification grouping in the U.S. News rankings.

Samford also was included on two of the special category lists that are part of the 2013 rankings.

Samford was ranked 11th among regional universities in the South in the “Great Schools at Great Prices” category. According to U.S. News officials, only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included in this list because they are considered the significant values. Two of the three schools ranked above Samford in the overall South rankings – Rollins and Stetson universities in Florida – also were on this list.

In addition, Samford was one of 21 schools in the South to be named an “A-Plus School for B Students.” Institutions on this list admitted a “meaningful proportion of applicants whose test scores and class standing put them in non-A territory, but who have a decent shot at being accepted and thriving,” according to U.S. News.

Both Westmoreland and Kimrey noted that the rankings come at the same time the university anticipates announcing a sixth consecutive semester of record enrollment and very strong first-year class and retention rates. Official enrollment totals are expected to be released Sept. 14. Several Samford programs, including business, law and nursing, have achieved high national rankings in recent months, and the university has been highly ranked by other publications such as Kiplinger’s, Colleges of Distinction and The Princeton Review.

“The rankings and assessments from our peers confirm what we at Samford University have known for years – that Samford’s emphasis on rigorous academics is succeeding,” Westmoreland added. “Many people have helped to build that strong reputation through the years.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.