Ave Maria University is "the most Catholic Catholic" college in the U.S., and has academics superior to almost all other Catholic schools, according to a survey of American higher education published by the respected religious journal First Things.
"Faith on campus is vibrant" at AMU, the editors of First Things wrote in their November issue, and "provides students with the opportunity to express their faith in all that they do."
First Things says it spent two years analyzing publicly-available data and conducting its own surveys on more than 2,000 U.S. colleges "to cast a light on the place of religion -- or lack thereof -- on American college campuses today." It published detailed rankings and descriptions of 105 schools in its November issue.
Ave Maria University tops the magazine's list of the 12 "Most Catholic Catholic Schools," a list that includes bedrocks of Catholic higher education such as Christendom College, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Thomas Aquinas College and the University of Dallas. Click here to see the complete list at the bottom of this article.
The magazine, a journal of religious thought published by the non-denominational Institute on Religion and Public Life, determined its own scores for colleges in three areas: Academic, Social and Religious. In the Academic area, AMU ranked 41st - just behind Tufts University -- on a list of 105 schools that is led by Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Stanford. Ave Maria's academic score put it ahead of all Catholic schools in that area except Notre Dame and Georgetown. Although Georgetown scored highly in the academic area, First Things also named it one of America's "Least Catholic Catholic Schools" - a list topped by DePaul University in Chicago.
"We are honored to have been given such a high ranking by First Things, one of the more esteemed journals in the Judeo-Christian world," said Ave Maria University President Nick Healy. "It is especially gratifying," he added, "that our academic strength was particularly noted."
Factoring in all its criteria - academic, social and religious - First Things ranked Wheaton College in Illinois its top school in America, followed by Thomas Aquinas College, Princeton, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Brigham Young University.
First Things also looked at graduate schools of Theology in its November issue, finding Ave Maria University's among the best in the nation with "a fine faculty and a clear corporate personality as a theology program loyal to the magisterium of the Catholic Church."
The rankings by First Things come shortly after Newsweek Magazine named AMU one of its best schools in America and one of the 25 "most desirable rural schools" in the country. Click here for a previous Ave Herald story on the Newsweek rankings.
First Things Magazine requires a subscription or a day pass to view much of the content from its November issue. Their website is here.
The First Things list of "Most Catholic Schools" in the U.S.:
1. Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, FL
2. Christendom College, Front Royal, VA
3. Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, OH
4. Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, CA
5. Benedictine College, Atchison, KS
6. Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, NC
7. Thomas More College, Merrimack, NH
8. University of Dallas, Irving, TX
9. Providence College, Providence, RI
10. Mount St. Mary's University, Emmitsburg, MD
11. College of St. Thomas More, Fort Worth, TX
12. University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX
(list copyright First Things, reprinted with permission)