Whitworth Receives High Honors

Madelyn Osorio | Staff Writer

Receiving attention and recognition on the national level, for any reason, is a monumental occasion—and on September 9th, Whitworth University announced that it has been ranked No. 3  among the West’s regional universities by the U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 “Best Colleges” rankings.

Whitworth was also ranked No. 1 Best for Veterans, No.4 Best Value, No. 10 as most innovative school and A+ School for B Students. 

These new distinctions join a history of prestige. In the past 20 years, Whitworth has been ranked in the Top 10 of the region 19 times. 

These rankings are awarded based on a “formula that uses statistical measures of academic quality, such as graduation rates, social mobility, faculty information and admissions data,” according to a Whitworth press release.

The press release referenced many of the University’s achievements including welcoming the second largest and most diverse incoming freshman class this year, a student to faculty ratio of 11-to-1 and new educational facilities. 

Greg Orwig, Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid at Whitworth, said these rankings can be beneficial to the University in “attracting more great students” and creating an even stronger assurance of degree value for graduates. 

“[This] is the highest ranking we have ever had, to my knowledge, so it’s very exciting for Whitworth to be ranked so high and recognized for its excellence among its regional university peers in the West,” Orwig said.

While these honors are rather complementary, Orwig said that, “what attracts students, even more than rankings, is Whitworth’s warm and inclusive campus community, deep faculty and student relationships, and our mission to elevate academic excellence and faith-learning integration.” 

He mentioned that admitted students who visit campus are six to eight times more likely to enroll, and rankings “simply cannot capture all of these benefits.” 

August Albers, a first year at Whitworth, said “my assurance [in my choice of school] lies in the people, faculty and community I have come to know… statistics and rankings mean very little to me, it was the community and quality in relationships that I’ve found here, both in students and teachers, that reassured me of my choice.”

Orwig also said that Whitworth being named the No. 1 Best for Veterans is an affirmation to the University’s efforts in this area. In recent years, the University has created a Veteran’s lounge in the Hixon Union Building to attend to the unique needs of students who have served in the military. Whitworth has also hired an admissions counselor for veterans, two vet corps members who focus on serving and supporting students who are military connected and has provided military specific training to faculty members in an effort to offer optimal education to  students who are veterans. 

In the future, Orwig said that Whitworth will improve its rankings by “continuing to keep a low student to faculty ratio [and] fostering strong student-faculty relationships,” which are factors that align with the University’s priorities and the U.S. News and World Reports’ ranking system. Orwig said the university doesn’t make changes solely in order to get a better ranking, instead focusing on improving its students’ educational experience. 

The entirety of U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 rankings are available at https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges.  Whitworth’s specific rankings are available at https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/regional-universities-west