40 Colleges That Change Lives: Puget Sound is Selected to Join Elite Group

August 28, 2012

College guide reviews schools that help students grow and succeed

TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound has been chosen as one of a select group of just 40 colleges nationwide included in the new edition of Colleges That Change Lives. The highly-regarded college guide offers high school graduates detailed reviews of institutions from around the country chosen for their life-transforming success with students.

The book, published today, describes Puget Sound as having a “smart, fascinating curriculum” and thoughtful professors who “earn shining endorsements” from their students. The guide focuses on liberal arts colleges where professors are passionate about their teaching and mentoring, and where students can meet and exceed their own expectations for personal intellectual growth.

“We are delighted that Puget Sound is being recognized for the distinctive educational and personal growth our students experience here,” said Puget Sound President Ronald R. Thomas. “Our successful alumni around the world testify to the transformative effects of a Puget Sound education, and we are proud their remarkable and meaningful life journeys began here and were inspired by their time with us.”

Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges (Penguin, Aug. 28, 2012) was originally written by former New York Times education editor Loren Pope and published in 1996. For this fourth edition, writer Hilary Masell Oswald conducted all-new school tours, including in-depth interviews, and built on Pope’s original work to create a completely updated guide.

Oswald extensively interviewed students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Puget Sound, along with other potential candidates for inclusion in the book, collecting detailed research data to assess the college, its academics, its cocurricular opportunities, and its outcomes.

Oswald praises Puget Sound for the dynamic curriculum, saying “the faculty here like to dream up new courses and expand offerings as their fields grow, change, and overlap.”  She comments that students enjoy a “rich and open community where they feel heard and respected” and she relates students’ views that Puget Sound “boosts their confidence, sharpens their skills, dissolves their assumptions, and gives them a community of scholars and friends.”

“This place attracts and supports students who are independent thinkers and creative,” George Mills, vice president for enrollment, is quoted as saying. “We can work with students who come with talents and help them develop, rather than forming them into a predesigned mold.”

Oswald points to the singular opportunities offered by the nine-month Pacific Rim study-travel program; the community-focused Civic Scholarship Initiative; and President Ron Thomas’ fireside dinners, which students can attend simply by being one of the first 10 to respond to the email invitation.

In the book alumni from three decades offer their gratitude for learning “to take chances and be an outside-the-box thinker,” for the professors’ tough but nurturing critiques of student work, and for the enduring friendships with classmates and professors.

The beautiful campus too comes up, a campus of “trees that would give shade to giants” and “everywhere shades of green”—a campus that President Ron Thomas describes in his interview as a place that expresses the college’s soul.”

In addition to appearing in the book, Puget Sound is invited to join the nonprofit organization Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL). Governed by a voluntary board of college counseling professionals, CTCL works to educate families about the importance of understanding each student’s individual needs as they conduct their college search.

CTCL holds information events for students and families throughout the country and in Asia from spring through summer each year. The programs share research on effective education, followed by a college fair including representatives from member colleges. Puget Sound will become a member on October 1, 2012.

For more about the nonprofit group Colleges That Change Lives visit: http://www.ctcl.org/

For more about the Penguin book Colleges That Change Lives visit: http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780143122302,00.html?Colleges_That_Change_Lives_Loren_Pope

Photos on page: Campus in fall; class; and volunteer work by students. Photos by Ross Mulhausen

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