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Sep 20, 2014 06:19 AM EDT

Trinity University has topped the list of best west American (spanning from Texas to Alaska) Universities by US News.

The semester-based academic year, undergraduate and graduate programs, lecture series, study abroad programs, creative projects and research, and "on the job" experiences could be likely factors for its ranking.

Sharon Jones Schweitzer, Trinity spokesperson, said that the school makes consistent efforts to attain excellence through enhanced curriculums and faculty. "It never gets to be old hat. It's a great source of pride," Schweitzer said, ksat reports.

Trinity is followed by the Santa Clara University with student-faculty ratio of 12:1, and best freshman retention and undergraduate graduation rates. The University has been consistently ranked second best in the west for the last six years.

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"We are pleased that the hard work of our students, faculty and staff helps fuel the recognition of our excellence," Dean of the School of Engineering Godfrey Mungal said in a statement after the ranking was released in 2012. "We are engineering with a mission and strive to balance rigorous academics, hands-on learning and values-based education that empowers our students to make a real difference in the world as engaged citizens."

At No: 3 is Gonzaga University. The university made tremendous improvement since last year, jumping from the fourth best "Regional University" in the West to the third best this year. Similar to Trinity, the University follows a semester-based academic calendar.

Gonzaga's liberal arts tradition is part of its core curriculum, which integrates philosophy, religious studies, mathematics, literature, natural and social sciences, and extensive writing in each major discipline.


Colleges and Universities | FindTheBest

Top 10 West American Colleges

1 - Trinity University

2 - Santa Clara University

3 - Gonzaga University

3 - Mary Mount University

5 - Seattle University

6 - Mills College

7 - Chapman University

8 - University of Portland

9 - Whitworth University

10 - California Polytechnic State University

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