The latest top college ranking is nothing for Ohio University to be embarrassed about, unlike its "victory" as top party school in the Princeton Review's college guide earlier this year.
No, this honor reflects positively not only on the university but on Athens itself. MSN.com on Friday released its list of the eight best college towns, and Athens, Ohio, placed among them. While Athens got the first mention on the list, MSN contributor Crai S. Bower made it clear that there is no single best college town:
"Creating this annual college list is never as easy as say, Geology 101, i.e. 'Rocks for Jocks,'" she wrote, "because, let's be honest, there is no 'top college town.' The best college town is simply the one where we attended college. Still, the institutions on this list each deserve special mention for taking a quiet town and turning it into college central"
Other college towns that made the list include Boone, N.C. (Appalachian State University), Bozeman, Mont. (Montana State University), Kalamazoo, Mich. (Western Michigan and Kalamazoo College), Logan, Utah (Utah State), Petersborough, Ont., Canada (Trent University), Plattsburgh, N.Y. (SUNY Plattsburgh), and Santa Cruz, Calif. (University of California, Santa Cruz).
In the write-up on Athens, Bower wrote, "The 1,800-acre brick campus of Ohio University rises above the oak trees of Athens like a Normal Rockwell painting, though the town certainly buzzes when the 25,000 students arrive"
The blurb name-checks Halloween, the old Athens Asylum (with the usual "haunted" reference), the Farmers Market, alternative energy initiatives and local festivals." However, notably, it doesn't mention the party scene, other than with a reference to Palmerfest, "a once-infamous statewide college bash that occurs every May."
It's unclear why it was "once infamous" and no longer is.
Whatever the case, this is the sort of publicity that can't be interpreted in any manner but positive, and will provide OU recruiters with a very sharp arrow in their quiver.