There are a lot of good things going on at Stony Brook University. We didn't need U.S. News & World Report to confirm that, but the school is justifiably celebrating its rise to a best-ever No. 82 in the magazine's annual rankings of national universities.
Graduation and retention rates are up, as are test scores for incoming freshmen, and the acceptance rate is dropping. Stony Brook has strong leadership, outstanding research and stable (and low) tuition. And it's in the midst of a five-year plan to hire 250 faculty members, an initiative funded partly by a $150-million gift from hedge fund billionaire James Simons, a former chairman of the school's math department.
One of most heavily weighted factors in the rankings is peer rating -- the opinions of other schools' presidents and provosts. Word indeed is spreading.