Stony Brook University achieved its best-ever placement on U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of national universities and public universities, released Tuesday.

Stony Brook, at No. 82, was in a four-way tie with Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., University of Vermont in Burlington and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

"It does reflect a lot of exciting things at Stony Brook," said Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., the university's president. "We had some amazing things happen in philanthropy. We recruited some amazing students and faculty."

Last year, Stony Brook came in at No. 92. This year, it was the only Long Island institution to place in the top 100 of U.S. News' national university rankings.

Princeton University was crowned No. 1 on the list this year, and Harvard University took second place.

Stanley also credited a state law that temporarily limits tuition increases to $300 per year, giving the university fiscal stability and allowing it to make long-term plans.

Philanthropic gifts of more than $200 million, including a matching-fund component, have helped Stony Brook hire luminaries such as Dr. Esther Takeuchi, an expert on power sources for biomedical devices who holds 150 U.S. patents, the largest number for any woman in the country, Stanley said. The university plans to hire 250 faculty members in the next five years across all departments.

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Hofstra University in Hempstead and Adelphi University in Garden City were the other Long Island schools among the top 200 national universities. Hofstra, at No. 135, tied with Kansas State University, and Adelphi ranked No. 152.

On the magazine's list of top public universities, Stony Brook ranked No. 34 nationally, ahead of all other SUNY schools -- another first. Binghamton University ranked No. 44, while the University at Buffalo was No. 53 and the University at Albany was No. 63.

The closely watched list also ranks schools in several other categories, such as regional schools and liberal arts colleges. The magazine uses a variety of metrics, including freshmen retention, graduation rates and the strength of the faculty.

The rankings are not without controversy. The National Association for College Admission Counseling, among other groups, has criticized the rankings and the methodology used to determine them. This year, the magazine made changes to give more emphasis to college graduation rates and less to incoming students' high school class rank, which no longer is available in many cases.