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Advance in U.S. News & World Report


Press Release

May 20, 2011

Advance in U.S. News & World Report

In its just-released 2012 edition of America’s ‘Best Colleges,’ U.S. News & World Report has not only ranked Graceland University, once again, as a ‘first tier’ school in the Midwest, but our ranking has gone up 16 levels. This is a significant increase in the U.S. News rankings and it marks a national recognition of Graceland’s continued commitment to academic excellence.

Graceland made the move last year from a ‘tier two’ school to the ‘first tier,’ becoming a top-ranked school in the Midwest Region of Private Colleges and Universities. Graceland, again this year, scored well in average class sizes, under 20 per class; student/faculty ratio, at 15:1; a very high percentage of faculty with doctorates or terminal degrees in their academic discipline, nearly 90 percent on our Lamoni campus; and a high average rate of alumni who give to their alma mater.

Graceland’s ranking increased 16 levels this year to #91. The university is also perennially noted for its high percentage (about 17 percent currently) of international students, a student diversity level envied by other private liberal arts universities.

A Commitment to Academic Excellence

“This U.S. News & World Report ranking is something all Gracelanders can be proud of,” said Graceland President Dr. John Sellars. “It took hard work and true commitment to reach the first tier of Midwest colleges last year. Not only have we maintained that top-level ranking for 2012, we are now moving up in the rankings.” The president added, “This is another example of how Graceland University is succeeding in its pursuit of academic excellence. It is a key indicator of our progress in offering signature programs that are attracting top students.”

Schools in four regions were ranked as first or second tier schools by U.S. News & World Report, an annual benchmark of colleges and universities that provide high school students and their parents an excellent starting point in their college search.

The rankings allow students and parents to compare at a glance the relative quality of institutions based on such widely accepted indicators of excellence as retention and graduation rates and the strength of the faculty. And, they often lead students to discover unfamiliar schools.

A Caring Learning Community

Parris Watts, Graceland’s VP for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, was delighted with news of the higher ranking. “Graceland University’s continuing placement in the first tier is indicative of its reputation as a high quality educational institution,” he said. “Moving up in this ranking verifies that Graceland’s ongoing commitment to academic excellence in a caring, learning community is not going unnoticed.”

Gary Heisserer, Graceland’s Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, views the U.S. News ranking as “…a proud day for Graceland, and a proud day for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This is validation for our belief in the enduring value of the liberal arts at Graceland.” Heisserer said, “Graceland is an extraordinary place, and this kind of recognition reinforces our commitment to academic excellence and to the development of transformational leaders and global citizens.”

President Sellars added, “Graceland is one of the best choices available for students and their parents searching for the right fit in a top private university. We want high school students to know that we are here to ensure their success on our campus, and their success in life. Our passion is your success.”

Learn More about Graceland

Graceland University was established in 1895 as a non-sectarian liberal arts institution of higher learning. It operates campuses in Lamoni, Iowa and Independence, Missouri, and offers degree completion programs at three other sites – the Kirkwood Community College campus in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; the Indian Hills Community College campus in Centerville, Iowa; and the North Central Missouri College campus in Trenton, Missouri.

Students from 40 states and 40 nations choose from more than 50 academic majors and programs at Graceland. For information about attending GU, please view our website: and follow the links to Admissions and Financial Aid, call 866-GRACELAND, or write to Graceland University, Office of Admissions, 1 University Place, Lamoni, IA 50140.

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