Things looking up for University of Alabama

Depending on who you ask, the best way to measure the success of an institution of higher learning can certainly vary. Is it the number of research publications that are coming out of the University? Is it the school’s ranking on any number of the published lists out there? Is it the year-over-year growth of enrollment and 
degrees conferred?

If you ask me, the best way to measure the success of a university is all of those things and more. In nearly every facet of university function that I can think of, Alabama is as well-rounded and upward-trending as any public university in the country, and the University has become shining example of our state’s potential.

In 2015, the University conferred a record 8,500 degrees to students and nearly a quarter of a million degrees since its founding in 1831, bringing untold economic and cultural benefits to the well-being of our state and region.

As far as rankings go, the University is well-positioned and climbing fast. U.S. News has ranked Alabama in the top 100 overall colleges since 2010, and top 25 and top 55 law and business schools, respectively, consistently attracting talent from all over the country. Favorable scholarships have sent our out-of-state enrollment through the roof, bringing in talented and 
hardworking students from all 50 states to contribute to the 
college environment.

Our student athletes represent the best that intercollegiate athletics has to offer and have consistently been elite both in their sports and classrooms. Alabama’s football national championship and the strides our basketball team made this year are well publicized, obviously, but they aren’t the only teams on the rise. Nearly every varsity sports team at Alabama is nationally ranked and competing with the best in the country. This past weekend, my teammates on the men’s swim team placed sixth at the NCAA national championship, just three years after we placed 28th and our highest finish since 1983.

Our success on the playing field mirrors our success in the classroom, from SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Lauren Beers, a gymnast; to Levi Randolph, Alabama Basketball’s first Academic All-American ever; to our men’s and women’s swim teams, who both lead the SEC in 
team GPA.

Professors and other faculty often lead the way in the groundbreaking research that takes place at the University. Just last month, two UA geology professors were published in Nature, the world’s most highly cited interdisciplinary scientific journal. Faculty in our Law school have contributed to UA Law’s 6th-best bar passage rate in the country, better than schools like Michigan, Duke and Yale.

So as you can see things are looking up here at the University. Whether it’s our athletic prowess, our work ethic in the classroom or the innovations occurring in our laboratories, one thing is abundantly clear – it’s great to be from Alabama.

Kyle Simpson is a junior majoring in biology. His 
column runs weekly.

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