(FinalCall.com) – For the second year in a row, Morehouse College leads the list of the 50 Best Colleges and Universities for Blacks compiled by Black Enterprise (BE) magazine.

“We could not be more proud of this honor, nor more committed to continuing our historic mission,” said Dr. Walter Massey, president of Morehouse College, at the Sept. 16 press conference where BE announced its 2004 list. “For more than 137 years, Morehouse has enjoyed a reputation for academic excellence, which has produced some of the nation’s most outstanding leaders. We are proud to aim even higher as we move into the 21st century.”

Morehouse, located in Atlanta, Ga., is the nation’s largest private liberal arts institution for Black men. Coming in second place is Spelman College, a private liberal arts school for Black women, also in Atlanta. Both Spelman and Morehouse are part of the Atlanta University Center, which shares students, faculty and resources. Spelman’s urban setting and high academic reputation were instrumental in accomplishing its rank as a top college.


“We are proud of the work that we are doing at Spelman College and appreciate the recognition that this ranking represents,” says President Beverly Tatum. “It is empowering for young Black women to come to our campus, an institution where they can say, ‘This place was built for me, and it is nothing less than the best.’”

The historically Black college previously ranked No. 1 in 1999. Spelman also has the distinction of being rated one of the Top 75 Best Liberal Arts Colleges for undergraduates by U.S. News & World Report 2005 edition. For the second year in a row, Spelman remains the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) ranked in the top tier. The school moved up an impressive 15 spots from No. 81 in 2004 to No. 66, with what it calls a strong freshman retention rate, a significant percentage of class sizes under 20 and very few class sizes of 50 or more.

“Many of the colleges in the Top 75 have resources that exceed our own. We are proud of the accomplishments that we have made in spite of limited resources. Spelman College has a long history of producing Black women leaders and a national reputation for a strong academic culture. We want to build on that legacy, not rest on it,” explained Dr. Tatum.

The BE Top Colleges report, which debuted in January 1999, was developed in collaboration with Thomas LaVeist, Ph.D., author of the “Day Star Guide to Colleges for African Americans” and professor of Health Policy, Management, and Sociology at Johns Hopkins University.

Of the 10 highest ranking schools for 2004, HBCUs hold five of the top 10 positions; seven are located in the South; and nine are private institutions. Rounding out the top 10 are: (3) Hampton University, Hampton, Va.; (4) Howard University, Washington, D.C.; (5) Xavier University, New Orleans, La.; (6) Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Fla.; (7) Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.; (8) Columbia University, New York, N.Y.; (9) Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., and (10) Duke University, Durham N.C.

Four hundred and eighty-two colleges were selected based on the following criteria: accredited four-year colleges in which Black enrollment was at least three percent, or colleges that are large or well known. The survey also looked at the school’s five year graduation rate for Black students and its percentage of Black students.

Howard University, in addition to maintaining its spot at number four for another year, was also distinguished by U.S. News and World Report as number 90 among the 248 universities categorized as “Best National Universities.” This ranking puts the “Mecca of Black Education” (as it’s known) among the top 100 national research universities in the country. Within this group, Howard ranks number 28 under the category “Great Schools, Great Prices.”

Howard was also recognized as a leading national university with a 10 percent population of international undergraduates. “Howard has had two Rhodes Scholars in the last five years and continues to be a leader in enrolling National Achievement Scholars, the most academically competitive group of African-American first-year college students in the nation. According to recent reports from the U.S. Department of Education, Howard University continues to be the nation’s largest on-campus producer of African-American Ph.D. recipients,” wrote HU President H. Patrick Swygert after the announcement.

The accolades for Howard University continue. According to a survey by The Princeton Review of over 110,000 students at 357 top colleges, The Best Campus Newspaper award went to The Hilltop of Howard University. Second, third and fourth places went to the University of Mexico, Brooklyn College and Tuskegee University respectively.

“This ranking did not just occur,” said Jannette Dates, dean of the John H. Johnson School of Communications, to reporters. “It happened because of the students who work so hard to get the paper produced every Tuesday and every Friday, and always on time. This university is making great strides. It’s a good time to be at Howard.”