Montana State University

Outside magazine picks MSU-Bozeman as fifth best college town

August 12, 2003 -- Carol Schmidt

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Bozeman - Outside magazine has picked Montana State University as the fifth best university in the magazine's annual "Top 40 College Towns" poll. The list, which ranks colleges and universities that combine the best intellectual and outdoor potential, was released today (Aug. 12) when its September 2003 edition hit the newsstands.

Bozeman and MSU are the top pick in the Northwest in the ranking of "the coolest college towns, places where the outdoors and intellectual esprit mingle blissfully."

"It's not hard to see why Bozeman, the hub of southwestern Montana's Gallatin River Valley, appeals to the adventurous," says MSU's copy. "The trout-filled Yellowstone, Gallatin and Madison rivers offer world-class fly-fishing, rafting and kayaking just outside town, and Bozeman is surrounded by four Rocky Mountain ranges, which draw hikers, bikers and rock climbers." The MSU page was accompanied by photographs of a kayaker on the Gallatin River (by Beth Wald) and a high-flying snowboarder at Bridger Bowl Ski area (by Gordon Wiltsie of Bozeman, who is listed as a correspondent on the magazine's masthead).

MSU ranked behind the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Middlebury College and Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C. Filling out the top 10 college towns were MSU, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Dartmouth College, University of Virginia, Northern Arizona University and the University of Iowa. The University of Montana, which was ranked in the top 10 last year, is listed as number 15.

Writer Becca Syme of Plentywood, who recently graduated from MSU with a degree in English, was MSU's student reporter for the magazine. Syme said MSU's English Department recommended her for the Outside job. Syme was an award-winning English student but was also pan Orientation Leader and Residence Hall Adviser so she knew the university well. However, there were some things about the area that Syme had to research.

"They asked some things I had no idea about, such as the median house price," said Syme, who left this week to pursue a master's of fine arts degree in creative writing at Minnesota State University in Moorhead.

Syme said she had no idea how high Bozeman/MSU would rank in the poll, "but I figured it was pretty high up. I did my best to convince them this was the best place to go to school."

Allen Yarnell, MSU's Vice-President for Student Affairs, indicated that university officials were pleased with the selection of MSU and Bozeman to the top five universities in Outside magazine's prestigious list.

"We believe that we offer a quality education in a world-class setting and we're delighted that Outside magazine agrees," Yarnell said.

Contact: Julie Kipfer (406) 994-4571