FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Sacred Heart University was ranked one of the most innovative universities as well as one of the best universities in the North, according to U.S. News & World Report’s newly released guidebook, Best Colleges 2018.
“As one of the fastest growing Catholic universities in the nation, we are pleased to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review and many others for the educational excellence we provide,” said SHU President John J. Petillo.
Besides being named one of the best universities in the North, SHU also was one of four schools in the North to be recognized as an innovative school. For the past three years, U.S. News asks academics participating in its peer assessment survey to name institutions they think are the most innovative for its Most Innovative Schools listing. According to U.S. News, college presidents, provosts and admissions deans nominate 10 colleges they think are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities. U.S. News said the ranking is based on the responses to the question.
“Being considered one of the most innovative universities is a result of our mission and careful strategic planning,” Petillo said.
In recent years, the University significantly grew its graduate programs to include more than 29 options, including three doctoral programs, and launched a School of Computing, which includes courses and programs in computer engineering and cybersecurity. The University also bought the 150-acre Great River Golf Course and is in the process of acquiring St. Vincent’s College, allowing more opportunities for students. The acreage of Sacred Heart has more than doubled in recent years due to the acquisitions of the former Jewish Senior Services site, and the General Electric corporate headquarters in Fairfield, the University’s new West Campus, which will be an innovation hub. SHU also will open its new $65 million Center for Healthcare Education later this month.
This year, SHU enrolled 1,420 first-year students. The new class constitutes the largest and most academically talented group in SHU history, surpassing records set by the previous four freshman classes. Chosen from a pool of nearly 10,000 applicants, the new freshmen distinguish themselves according to several factors:
- The class has an average high school GPA of 3.5
- More than 200 freshmen are National Honor Society members
- They come from 10 countries and 24 states, ranging from California to Maine
- Four hundred freshmen intend to participate in service learning programs this year
- More than 200 freshmen plan to participate in performing arts programs
- Nearly 92 percent of the freshmen live on campus.
The University also welcomed 145 transfer students and 47 part-time students in August, an 88 percent increase in part-time enrollment over last year.
Sacred Heart has earned recognition as well from the Princeton Review, which recently ranked the University one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education and included SHU in its Best 382 Colleges guidebook. It also placed SHU on its lists for “Best College Theater” and “Most Engaged in Community Service,” each of which comprises only 20 schools from around the country.