A respected college guide today affirmed the decision of the 26,500 people who will attend Kansas University this fall semester for their education.
The 1994 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges awarded KU four stars out of five in all categories: academics, social activities and quality of life.
Seven public universities ranked higher academically than KU in the guide, which reviewed 300 of the nation's "best and most interesting" schools.
No university in the Big Eight Conference matched KU in academics. KU is the only Kansas college or university cited in the guide.
KU Chancellor Gene Budig said the guide reflects his pride in the university.
"The Fiske ranking underscores the exceptional value of the educational experience here," he said.
Fiske, former education editor at The New York Times, based the analysis of colleges and universities on interviews with students, faculty and administrators.
Their testimony captures the mood at each campus and provides a picture of what life is really like there, he said.
"No institution is right for every student," Fiske said.
Fiske's guide said KU is winning the battle against academic mediocrity.
"This big public university can compete with more expensive Eastern schools in myriad things -- excellent faculty, strength in a variety of disciplines, school spirit, even the ubiquitous campus parking shortage," the guide said.
The academic climate at KU is what students make of it. "We range from 'study animals' to flunk-outs," one student said in the guide.
Faculty "enjoy talking about their own research but also make an effort to assist students," the guide said.
Fiske hailed KU's undergraduate programs in allied health, architecture, business, education, engineering, journalism, nursing and pharmacy.
In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the guide cited top programs in chemistry, English, philosophy and foreign language.
Fiske recommended outstanding high school students look into KU's Honors Program, "which offers small classes with top professors."
He praised the Ellsworth Program in which freshman students live together and participate in social, educational, cultural and recreational activities.
The guide named Dennis Dailey, social welfare professor, as one of KU's most popular faculty. He teaches a course on human sexuality.
Fiske was impressed by KU's ability to raise private funding and improvement of campus facilities, including the Ernst F. Lied Center for the performing arts.
The guide criticizes residence hall food, which varies from "plain old bad to slightly above average." However, KU opened a new centralized cafeteria this month that offers an impressive menu to all Daisy Hill residence hall dwellers.
KU's traditional "Rock Chalk" cheer is "enough to bring a pang of nostalgia to the heart of even the most grizzled Kansas alumnus," the guide said.
Fiske's guide said Lawrence is considered a liberal intellectual hot
spot in the Midwest.
Race relations have been good on the whole, the guide said, but "are becoming more visible and tense because of the activist nature of minority groups."