Published on September 6, 2001 by William Nunnelley  

Samford University has been ranked as one of the top institutions in the nation by U.S. News & World Report magazine in its 2002 selection of America's Best Colleges.

Samford ranks fifth in the South in the category, Best Universities-Master's, which includes schools offering a full range of undergraduate and master's programs and some doctoral programs. Samford, while offering a large contingent of undergraduate programs, also offers 18 degree programs at the master's and doctoral levels.

U.S. News rankings are based on a school's academic reputation, freshman retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving.

"This is an honor because it is as close as higher education comes to academic league standings," said Samford President Thomas E. Corts.

"College-choosing parents and students look for ways to differentiate and prioritize among colleges," Corts continued. "This survey is one fact-based attempt at helping. We can be proud that the excellent work of our faculty and university community is so highly valued by experts beyond our own campus."

The rankings—announced Thursday, Sept. 6—will appear in the magazine on sale Monday, Sept. 10. In addition to the Best Universities-Master's category (the largest group), U.S. News ranks Best National Universities, Best Liberal Arts Colleges and Best Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor's. Schools are divided into groups reflecting their missions—basically, programs they offer—as described by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Samford has been ranked in the top 10 in its category by U.S. News since 1990. It also ranked fifth last year after two years of being sixth.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.