Proving the power of social media, Wittenberg University landed the No. 4 spot in the nation following the month-long Forbes' social media campaign, #MyTopCollege, which concluded July 30. Wittenberg was the only liberal arts university to break the top five, where it found itself nestled between two large public institutions, Kansas State (#3) and Penn State (#5).
Forbes annually ranks colleges, but this year the media source decided to go beyond the "glamour shots" and straight to the people who know the colleges inside and out.
"We asked students, alumni and faculty to take to the social web and tell us what makes their school a top college. Over 300 of our top schools participated, with some 35,000 tweets and almost 8,000 posts on Instagram," Forbes explained.
Wittenberg fans flocked to Twitter and Instagram as the campaign unfolded, touting everything from crossing the seal at Commencement and lifelong faculty connections to fostering service dogs and discovering their passions. The marriage proposal shared by Samantha Iden, class of 2012, particularly caught the attention of Forbes, which included it with Wittenberg in the list of winners online. Photos from the #MyTopCollege campaign are slated to appear in the print version of the publication, Aug. 18.
"The reasons given about what makes Wittenberg a #TopCollege are indicative of the power of our transformative mission in the lives of alumni, faculty, students, parents, and friends," said Wittenberg President Laurie M. Joyner, who also joined in the conversation @WittPres.
"I am elated that we were able to share what makes Wittenberg special with so many during this campaign," she added. "The sentiments have also inspired us back on campus where we are continuing the important work of providing a first-rate liberal arts education and ensuring our students' success for a lifetime."
Adrienne Stout, a 2014 graduate, nicely captures exactly what Joyner’s means when she speaks about Wittenberg’s transformative mission. Stout was so inspired by her Wittenberg experience, she wrote a song as part of the #MyTopCollege campaign, telling the world how Wittenberg is “on fire” to the tune of Billy Joel’s famous 1980s single.
A nationally ranked university for the liberal arts and sciences affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Wittenberg University has repeatedly been ranked throughout the years by the Princeton Review for the quality of its teaching and faculty, including 11th in the nation for "Best Classroom Experience" and 15th in the category "Professors Get High Marks" in the 2011 edition of Princeton's annual Best Colleges guide. Most recently, Wittenberg earned the No. 4 spot in the category of "Most Accessible Professors." The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in service and athletics.