By SETH BISHOP & ELAINA MERCATORIS
Contributing Writer & News Editor
Allegheny climbed US News & World Report’s rankings this year, moving from No. 93 to No. 86 in the Top 100 Liberal Arts Colleges rankings and jumping onto the list of five Up and Coming liberal arts colleges nationwide.
Allegheny tied for fourth with Beloit College, in Wisconsin, as an institution meeting the criteria for “most promising and innovative changes,” according to the US News & World Report website.
President James Mullen appreciated the acknowledgement from the peer assessment survey experts from US News & World Report.
“Allegheny College is a college on the move, and it is gratifying to see that ambition recognized by US News & World Report, and also by our peers,” he said.
Dean of Students Joseph DiChristina said this move resulted partly from graduation rates.
“[The] graduation rate has increased by about 3.5 percent in the last cycle (taken every six years), and it’s one of the primary elements that are judged in a statistical measurement such as this,” DiChristina said.
For current students knee-deep in work, Amy Hamill, ’14, said the increased ratings may justify Allegheny’s academic rigor.
“I feel the increased rankings are a nice thing to know, and might affirm your reason for going here, too,” Hamill said.
Clay Grego, ’13, said he believes that Allegheny has a certain reputation that it needs to uphold in order to maintain its academic integrity.
“It’s a very exciting thing that I’m happy to be a part of—I’m involved and hope that I have contributed, in part…it’s a really great effort on Allegheny’s part and something that we deserve,” Grego said.
DiChristina said the rankings will also benefit Allegheny graduates.
“It’s really about getting that name recognition out there further than an 800-mile radius,” he said. “That’s really where the value of name recognition is for our graduates; it’s during the graduate school interview process and career process when having that strong academic name reference can make all the difference.”
Increasing the rankings begins with finding and filling in the gaps at Allegheny compared to other institutions, DiChristina said.
For example, the Learning Commons filled a void by switching freshmen registration to the summer.
Mullen cited the strategic plan as a large motivator for the national liberal arts college rankings.
“As we continue to strengthen our strategic plan, I’m confident we’ll move even higher,” Mullen said.
After completing two strategic plan initiatives, the college is working on a new strategic plan to further benefit for students.
“By embarking on our third strategic plan, we are bringing back alumni who have connections all over the place,” DiChristina said. “Ultimately, this turns into networking opportunities, scholarship opportunities, and additional endowments that will enable us to reinvest in the quality that has become Allegheny.”