St. Thomas Moves Up Slightly in U.S. News’ ‘Best Colleges’ Rankings Doug Hennes '77 September 12, 2012 For the third consecutive year, St. Thomas has moved up in the annual “Best Colleges” rankings published by U.S. News & World Report magazine.St. Thomas ranks No. 113 among 281 schools in the National Universities category, an improvement from No. 115 a year ago, No. 124 in 2010 and No. 137 in 2009. The ranking is the highest in the 12 years that St. Thomas has been in that category.“It always is good to receive recognition in rankings,” said Father Dennis Dease, president. “Our decisions never have been motivated by rankings, however, but simply by our commitment to improve the quality of a St. Thomas education year after year.”In addition, for the third straight year St. Thomas is listed as an “A Plus School for B Students” (as were eight other Minnesota schools). These schools, the magazine says, are “where non-superstars have a decent shot at being accepted and thriving – where spirit and hard work could make all the difference.”U.S. News announced the rankings today (Wednesday). They will be published on the magazine’s website and in the 2013 print edition of the “Best Colleges” guidebook, which will be available Sept. 18 on newsstands.The magazine’s published findings do not explain why St. Thomas moved up in the rankings, which are based on seven measures: undergraduate academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving.National Universities are defined as offering a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and doctoral degrees. Harvard and Princeton are tied for the top spot, and the University of Minnesota is at No. 68. Among Catholic universities in this category, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Boston College, Fordham, Marquette, St. Louis, San Diego, Chicago Loyola and San Francisco rank higher than St. Thomas. Catholic universities ranked lower than St. Thomas are Dayton, Catholic, Duquesne, Seton Hall, DePaul, St. John’s of New York and St. Mary’s of Winona.All other Minnesota colleges are ranked in three other institutional categories: 251 National Liberal Arts Colleges, which emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the arts and sciences; 625 Regional Universities, which provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs but few, if any, doctoral programs; and 370 Regional Colleges, which focus on undergraduate education.