This past weekend, the names of 68 colleges were discussed during the opening rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. We decided to provide some background information on a few schools that might be unfamiliar to college bound high school families.
The Bears of Mercer University were the talk of the nation on Friday afternoon after upsetting Duke. Mercer is home to nearly 4,500 undergraduate students. This Macon, Georgia school was founded in 1833 with an endowment from Baptist leader, Jesse Mercer. Today this secular school, which started with just 39 students has 3 campuses. The main campus located in Macon, a Savannah campus that houses the School of Medicine and graduate/professional education campus in Atlanta. The Princeton Review consistently ranks it in the top 10% of all colleges and universities in North America, stating in 2014 that “Mercer’s exceptional reputation springs from its sound academic programs, excellent faculty, and modern facilities.”
University of Dayton
Upsets of both Ohio State and Syracuse propelled the Flyers of the University of Dayton into the Sweet 16. UD, a private, research university located in Dayton, Ohio, was founded in 1850 by priests and brothers in the tradition of the Society of Mary and is one of three Marianist universities in the U.S. Located 69 miles from the state’s capital (and Ohio State) in Columbus, UD was originally home to 14 boys and called St. Mary School for Boys. It now has over 8,000 undergraduate students on 388 acres along the shores of the Great Miami River. The University of Dayton ranks 115th on the 2013 U.S. News & World Report’s list of “National Universities while Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review ranked Dayton’s undergraduate program in entrepreneurship 18th in the nation.
Stephen F. Austin University
As a number 12 seed, Stephen F. Austin University shocked Virginia Commonwealth University in overtime to advance to the third round. Named after ‘the Father of Texas’, this Nacogdoches, Texas school was established in 1921 as a teachers college. Today, nearly 13,000 students reside on part of the homestead of another founding Texas father, Thomas Jefferson Rusk. It is one of four public universities in Texas that is independent of the University of Texas system. In 2011, SFAU was ranked 71st in the Best Colleges in the West Region by U.S. News & World Report.
National Division I scoring leader, and the coach’s son, Doug McDermott, helped propel Creighton University into the national lexicon during the men’s college basketball season. Creighton University is a private, research university located just outside the downtown business district in Omaha, Nebraska. Its 132 acre campus is home to over 4,100 undergraduate students, with nearly fifty percent traveling over 400 miles to attend Creighton. The school was founded in 1878 as a gift to honor prominent Omaha businessman Edward Creighton. Today the school is affiliated with the religious order Society of Jesus and is governed by the Jesuit core values of pursuing justice, striving for excellence and service to others.