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Widener Ranks Among Best Colleges for America

Widener University ranks in the top 10 in service and 55th overall among national universities in the 2011 Washington Monthly College Guide, which ranks colleges and universities based on their contributions to the public interest.

Widener was one of only two national universities in the Philadelphia area named in the top 100. The University of Pennsylvania ranks 21st.

Unlike U.S. News & World Report ranking, Washington Monthly ranks individual schools based on their tangible contributions to the public interest: on the degree to which they recruit and graduate low-income students, produce PhDs and research, and encourage students to serve in ROTC, the Peace Corps and other service programs. Institutions are ranked on three criteria: social mobility, research and service.

The “service” category, in which Widener ranks ninth, is based on the number of alumni who serve in the Peace Corps, the percentage of students in ROTC, the percentage of federal work-study money that goes to community service, the number of students participating in community service and the number of service hours performed, and the school’s rank on a combined measure of the number of staff supporting community service, the number of academic courses that incorporate service, and whether the institution provides scholarships for community service.

Widener University has ranked among the top 100 institutions in the annual Washington Monthly rankings since the magazine’s inaugural college issue in 2005. Widener University President James T. Harris III said that Widener’s consistent ranking in the guide represents the university’s strong commitment to civic engagement.

“The way we measure the success of our graduates is similar to the philosophy that Washington Monthly uses to rank colleges and universities,” Harris said. “Washington Monthly asks what colleges are doing for the country. Widener asks how we can prepare students to serve our communities and our nation. We believe that is the true measure of the success of an institution.”

For the full ranking and methodology used in the Washington Monthly ranking, visit

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,600 students. Visit the university website,