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UMM is among top Best Midwestern Colleges

Posted by Judy Riley on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006

The University of Minnesota, Morris is one of 163 colleges named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review in its 2007 Best 361 Colleges rankings. The publication's goal is to "identify some of the colleges and universities that [they] feel stand out within each region."

In a section, titled "What U. Minnesota Morris Students Say…" UMM students provided the magazine with statements regarding the student body, academics and campus life.

The Student Body:
" 'We have much more diversity on campus than anywhere else in the region,' brags one undergrad. 'And not without justification: With a 15 percent student-of-color population, UMM is one of the most racially diverse campuses in the UM system. Native Americans make up about half of the minority population the remainder is about evenly split among Blacks, Hispanics, and Asian Americans. While no one would mistake this campus for downtown Minneapolis, clearly the school works hard to recruit beyond its white, Christian, middle-class majority demographic…

' The typical UMM undergrad is ambitious ("It's not uncommon here to have two majors and a minor") and usually "overextended in terms of the activities and course load,' " student comments continued. 'About half are from rural areas, with many others coming from the Twin Cities. Most agree that 'the complete randomness makes it so everyone ‘fits in' just as well as everyone else. I feel like we all intermingle an incredible amount, which augments the college experience in a way that is significant yet often intangible,' " according to the magazine's report.

"Because the University of Minnesota, Morris focuses solely on undergraduate education, the small student body at this public liberal arts school enjoys big university resources on a more personal level. We act and think like a big university but our campus is small, so students have more opportunities and more personal attention. About half the student body engages in collaborative research with faculty members here about as many enjoy study-abroad experiences." Observed one undergrad: "The greatest strength is the individualized education that the environment encourages. Professors are eager to engage students and cater to their educational needs. Similarly, faculty advisers 'are students' best friends because they love designing individual majors, setting up internships, guiding directed studies and researching.

"We have an absolutely amazing jazz program," reported one undergrad.

UMM professors "are definitely here for one purpose: teaching." They "expect a lot from students, and that's generally what they get. That said, in many ways they treat us students as equals. I don't know many students at other schools who are on a first-name basis with their dean, chancellor, professors and many other administrators around campus, as we are."

Campus Life:
Hometown Morris lies smack "in the middle of the prairie…There is a coffee shop, a bookstore, a cool cafe, a bowling alley and a movie theater…there is something going on every night on campus, from movies to orchestra concerts to presidential debate-watching parties." A vigorous student-organization scene drives a lot of the activity. "We have something like 100 organizations for a student body of about 1,800," reported one student. These groups include "a performing arts committee that brings in five music artist/dance troupes/theater groups every year, a films committee that brings movies about every other week for students to see for free, and a concerts committee that brings in fairly popular or up-and-coming groups throughout the year as well." Students chip in, performing with the school jazz band, choir and theater companies. Summed up one undergrad, "Sometimes it's hard to find the time for homework amid all the commitments you make to do other things!"

Other Minnesota schools included named to Princeton Review’s 2007 “Best in the Midwest” list are: Augsburg, Carleton, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, Crown College, Gustavus Adolphus, Macalester, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, North Central University, St. Mary’s University, St. Olaf, St. Scholastica, St. Catherine, University of Minnesota (Morris and Twin Cities campuses) and Winona State University.

The book’s ranking lists are posted at

To learn more about UMM, visit