The first list of “Public Ivy” schools was released in 1985 by a Yale graduate, Richard Moll. Moll wrote Public Ivies: A Guide to America’s Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities to show which colleges “provide an Ivy League collegiate experience at a public school price.” Originally, only eight schools were listed, but since then, more schools have been added. Here’s a list of the original eight, plus two more recently accepted “Public Ivies”.
10. University of Washington
Considered one of the world’s best American universities, the University of Washington in Seattle (also called, “U-Dub”) has been ranked #16 on list of the world’s top universities. Being smart is part of the job at U-Dub, just as appreciating Huskie football is. According to Urban Dictionary, students describe the school as “the best school in the Northwest overall when it comes to academics and student body.” Not only is the student community appreciated, but so is the beautiful campus. Movies such as Dan in Real Life and 10 Things I Hate About You were filmed there. Famous alumni include travel writer Rick Steves and martial arts actor Bruce Lee.
9. University of Georgia
UGA, located in Athens, GA, has a reputation for partying hard and loving football. While academics is a major part of campus life, UGA students primarily focus on the finer things in life such as frat parties and its bulldog mascot. Considering Athens, GA is known as one of the best college towns in the nation, it is not surprising that students spend equal amounts partying and studying. In 2010, UGA took the title of being the nation’s number one party school, and since the university is tied to tradition — it wouldn’t be surprising if students attempted to keep rank on this list. UGA alumni include the band R.E.M. and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.
8. University of Vermont
Located in Burlington, Vermont, the University of Vermont is known for socially conscious students. This school, also known as UVM, was the first university in the nation to receive a Gold certificate in its efforts to go green. However, its environmental accomplishments have also given the school it’s “hippie reputation.” According to Urban Dictionary, UVM is “known as Groovy UV” where “hippies reign freely and the ’70s will never die.” Students that attend UVM get a great education, with a lot of cultural advantages — the school frequently has major musical acts on campus. Notable alumni include the author of Brokeback Mountain, E. Annie Proulx, along with Ben Affleck and the guitarist of Phish (both dropped out before graduating).
They probably dropped out because they partied too much with these chicks.
7. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Although Chapel Hill is located near infamous Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill stands on its own as the #5 public university in the nation. With an emphasis in research, a strong emphasis on athletics, and promising academics, Chapel Hill offers a well rounded education for well rounded students. What sets this school apart from other public ivies is the interest in studying abroad, it has “the highest percentage of undergraduates studying abroad for any public institution.” Located in Chapel Hill, it’s smack dab in the middle of Durham and Raleigh, two very youthful Southern towns. Famous alumni include actor Andy Griffith and Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Yardley.
Check out our interview with UNC’s Law School graduate (and Playboy model) Stephanie Christine.
6. University of Michigan
Located in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan is known for its love of football and hardcore academic programs. Not only is Michigan known for its outstanding undergraduate program, but it law, business, medicine, and political science programs are well known across the country. With a total of 26,000 undergrads, this school offers something for everyone, whether it’s the athletics or campus activities. Notable alumni from Michigan include playwright Arthur Miller, convicted Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Theodre Roethke. Oh, and that Tom Brady dude. He never amounted to anything, huh? Loser.
Also, did you know if you’re a star wide receiver at U of M, you can suggest three ways to 2 female reporters at the student newspaper?
5. University of California
The University of California school system has some of the best schools including Berkeley, UCLA, Davis, Irvine, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. While each school is different, the reputation remains the same — impeccable academics, smart students, and diverse student bodies. Each school offers a unique location varying from Northern California (Berkeley and Davis) to Southern California (UCLA and San Diego). What makes the California public school system so great is that each school is strong in its studies, which leads students to ending up at a school fit for their futures. Notable alumni from these schools include multiple Pulitzer-Prize winners, countless Fulbright scholars, co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak, and the crown prince of Norway.
4. Miami University
Miami University isn’t in Miami, Florida — it’s in Ohio, and it’s home to some of the best education in the nation. For 2011, Miami was ranked #2 for having the best undergrad teaching — tying with Princeton! Although Miami has been in the news frequently in the past year for issues regarding its Greek life, it is certain to say that this school offers students the best of both worlds: an amazing education and tons of fun! According to Urban Dictionary, Miami is “a fantastic place to spend four years and well-respected amongst future employers from almost any field.” Miami’s alumni include multiple U.S. Senators and House Representatives, and, oh yeah, Mr. DTF himself, Ben Roethlisberger.
Plus, their sorority chicks LOVE destruction! So, you can get wrecked then do the wrecking!
3. University of Virginia
Located in Charlottesville, VA, UVA is known for its gorgeous campus and strenuous academics. Although they rank well for academics across the board, UVA students are often regarded as having uppity attitudes, preppy attire, and close-minded beliefs, which may stem from the school’s deep rooted history (it was established by Thomas Jefferson). At the least the academics can speak for themselves — UVA has been ranked #1 multiple times as being “the package deal” for a public education. Along with their undergraduate program, UVA is known for having excellent graduate programs and its law school is ranked in the top ten. Famous alumni include news anchor Katie Couric, presidents John F. Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson, and Playboy Playmate Amanda Paige!
2. University of Texas at Austin
The city of Austin is constantly being ranked as one of America’s greatest cities. With tons of live music venues, festivals, and college kids roaming around, it is no wonder that the University of Texas is ranked as one of the public ivies — it has everything. Known for strong academics and outstanding athletics, UT is not only the biggest school in the state of Texas, but it is also considered to be “the number one source of new Forutne 1000 CEOs,” according to USA Today. Famous alumni include actor Owen Wilson, actress Renee Zellweger, and actor Matthew McConaughey.
1. College of William & Mary
Located in Williamsburg, VA, William & Mary is the second oldest school in the nation (the first being Harvard, of course). Besides being constantly ranked in the top ten positions on the college ranking lists, William & Mary is known for strict academics, and according to their Urban Dictionary entries, this is a school where “fun goes to die.” Whether it’s fun or not, its reputation (especially in VA) is outstanding. Notable alumni include The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, fashion designer Perry Ellis, and the Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin.
Hey, one of our editors stole a cab from Jon Stewart once! Guess he wasn’t too smart to avoid that one, huh? BURN!
Are we missing anyone? Let us know which public colleges & universities should be on the list in the comments field below. Vote for your favorite Public Ivy in our poll.