Education: Those Hot Colleges on the Climb

Fast-rising and ambitious institutions are now challenging the nation's elite schools

Twenty years ago, it was a patch of forest outside Olympia, Wash. Today it is the site of Evergreen State College, a newly thriving liberal arts institution that last year was mentioned in a U.S. News & World Report survey of university and college presidents as one of the nation's better schools. Evergreen is one of a set of ambitious schools that in the past half a dozen years have emerged from academe's boondocks or thereabouts to reach for national recognition. All the institutions in the sampler below, along with a growing corps of like-minded schools, have risen under the hands...

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