Marshall recognized as top-tier university in the U.S.

Marshall University is now officially included in the nation’s highest tier of education institutions, categorized alongside institutions like Harvard, Princeton and Columbia universities.

U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 magazine edition, released earlier today, listed Marshall as one of the best 381 universities within their top-tier “National Universities” category of the “Best Colleges” rankings.

“We are certainly gratified that U.S. News & World Report has designated Marshall University among the top tier universities in the country,” Jerry Gilbert, university president, said. “It is wonderful to see our university recognized nationally as a student-centered public research institution committed to academic excellence, research, student success and accessible and affordable higher education.”

U.S. News’s “National Universities” category features schools which offer students what they deem an expansive range of undergraduate majors and master’s and doctoral programs. Universities within the category must also be dedicated to producing innovative and educational research.

In addition to being recognized as part of the highest tier of learning institutions in the U.S., Marshall is also now the only in-state research university to be included in U.S. News’s “Social Mobility” category, in which the university is now ranked 147th in the nation. This classification measures the success of schools in regards to enrolling and graduating students from lower-income households.

Jaime Taylor, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Marshall, said the university’s designation under the “Social Mobility” category is a particularly notable achievement.

“With 75 percent of our students coming from West Virginia, Marshall has always provided native students with affordable access to a college education and graduated them into well-paying jobs,” Taylor said. “This ranking helps validate that we are serving our talented students particularly well by helping them elevate their socioeconomic status and, in turn, strengthen their communities.”

Multiple students across Marshall’s campus said the university’s excellent “Social Mobility” ranking means more to them than being categorized alongside universities like Harvard, Princeton and Columbia in the “National Universities” category. One such student is Brady Shrader, a political science graduate student at Marshall.

“I come from McDowell County, which is like the third poorest county in the United States,” Shrader said. “I’m one of the first people in my family to be able to go to college, so that means a lot to me.”

While being ranked well in a general evaluation category does not necessarily mean a university is available to most people in the state, Shrader said, such excellence in the “Social Mobility” category portrays Marshall’s real-world influence in the lives of average West Virginians.

“A lot of kids in McDowell County don’t have much of a chance to go to college,” he said, “but now I’m a graduate student at Marshall University.”

Marshall’s Brad D. Smith School of Business is also included in U.S. News’s rankings of the “Best Undergraduate Business Programs” in the nation.

The university’s recent unprecedented rankings in several prominent categories of higher learning institutions across the country come after its classification as an “R2” research institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, which ranked Marshall amongst the top six percent of universities in the country in March this year.

Douglas Harding can be contacted at [email protected].