Some people say when you’re already at the top, there’s little room for improvement. Try telling that to the leadership here at Bryant University. Led by President Machtley and a dedicated team of faculty and administrators, Bryant has advanced to #14 on US News and World Report’s list of the Top 100 Regional Universities. Additionally, it was named second on a list of eight “up-and-coming” universities in the region, further demonstrating how Bryant’s reputation and standing has been enhanced as a result of concerted efforts by the Bryant leadership.

So, what exactly is a “regional university”? There are approximately 626 of them nationally, and they are defined as schools that provide, “a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs.” Continually growing and evolving, Bryant has proved to be a respected contender amongst other well-known and prestigious colleges throughout the Northeast as well as the nation.

After nearly a decade of occupying one of the coveted Top 20 spots, it goes without saying that Bryant has staked its claim as one of the region’s premier institutions for higher education.

Bryant’s innovative and ground-breaking programs, such as the renowned First Year Gateway Program, are a large part of the reason that the school is becoming widely recognized both regionally, as well as nationally.

“Since its founding 150 years ago, Bryant has been an innovative leader in preparing students to achieve success,” President Machtley stated recently. “This latest ranking by U.S. News confirms what we already know: A Bryant education prepares our students to take advantage of the unlimited global opportunities available to them.”

The list of colleges that are defined as “up-and-coming” this year are all schools that are “making the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty and student life.” This year, Bryant was ranked alongside Quinnipiac University, University of Scranton, Saint Joseph’s University, Wagner College, Endicott College, Loyola University-Maryland, and finally Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

In addition to achieving such a high ranking on the “up-and-coming” list, Bryant also climbed the rankings on the Top 100 Regional Universities chart. Continually innovating, Bryant has proved to be quite a national contender amongst other significant and respected colleges. Last year, the university occupied the #15 slot, according to U.S. News. This year marks Bryant’s ninth consecutive year among the top 20 universities in this category. In the Top 100 category, Bryant competes alongside schools such as Assumption College, Providence College, and Fairfield University.

Much of Bryant’s success can be attributed to many of its new and innovative programs. For example, the First Year Gateway Program has grown to be recognized across the country. Bryant University’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, Jose-Marie Griffiths, recently said the goal of the First Year Program is to, “produce graduates equipped not only with the professional skills to succeed but also with global context and critical thinking and reasoning skills to succeed as citizens of the world.”

So what do these accolades mean to students and faculty as members of the Bryant community? Do they matter? Can and will they affect the career paths that students choose to follow after graduation? In a word, yes. People love lists, in fact, as a society, Americans are obsessed with them. If a movie is this weekend’s top grossing release at the box office, people will rush to see it. The music industry lives and dies by the latest “Top 40” lists.

Similarly, each year, U.S. News & World Report releases its “Best Of” lists covering everything from hospitals to vacations and colleges. The annual “Best College” report is considered one of the most coveted achievements an institute of higher education can achieve. Many college endowments have both suffered and benefited from a school’s movement on this highly anticipated list.

Everyone wants to attend a top rated university, it’s only natural. At Bryant, each year, as the university climbs in the rankings, the applicant pool becomes increasingly larger, more talented, more diverse and even more competitive. Each incoming class of freshmen and transfer students is just that much better than the one proceeding it. As a result, they challenge upperclassmen to reach their full potential and, to quote an old recruiting slogan, “be all you can be.”

In addition to Americans’ infatuation with these “top lists,” society is also infatuated with statistics, an area that is one of Bryant’s true strengths. Bryant points out, with justifiable pride, that a staggering 98% of graduates are either employed in their area of study or have progressed to graduate school within six months of graduation.

Scoring high on the U.S. News & World rankings only intensifies Bryant’s quest to eventually become the number one ranked university in its category. To this end, President Machtley continually challenges the Bryant community to find their passion and pursue it with energy and vehemence.

The future looks bright for Bryant University. With an energized student body, a dedicated and driven faculty and a leadership team focused on the success of each individual member of the community, watch out #1…Bryant’s coming!