These 10 Incredible Public Universities Are Changing The World


5. Ohio University (Athens, OH)

photo by Ottawa80 via Wikimedia Commons

At Ohio University, numbers paint a clear picture of its innovation and research.

The school has produced 41 Pulitzer Prize winners and, from 2017-2018, 10 Fulbright Award winners. In 2018, approximately 900 Ohio University students presented projects at the annual research and creative projects expo. Finally, the school’s researchers hold more than 94 active patents. Oh, and you’ll find 3.3 million print and electronic volumes in the school’s library. Impressed yet?

Beyond the numbers, Ohio University’s School of Leadership and Public Affairs is well-regarded across the country. It’s focused on public policy innovation and specifically looks to help the Appalachian region.

For instance, the school has focused on substance abuse prevention and mental health services in the area. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said what Ohio University is doing is a prime example of what other higher-education programs should be doing across the country.


4. Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)

photo by Spilly816 via Wikimedia Commons

Colorado State University’s line-up of notable alumni is probably one of the longest you’ll see on this list.

It includes astronauts, the father of modern bouldering, a former “Saturday Night Live” castmate (Leslie Jones), the first woman to become a full-time coach in a major North American professional sport (Becky Hammon), and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.

It’s not just the alumni who are notable, either. Colorado State University has impressive faculty members, including a co-founder of the Peace Corps and the president of the Colorado Equal Suffrage Association.

At Colorado State, research remains at the forefront of its mission. In 2019, it generated nearly $400 million in research expenditures, and it’s been designated as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University — only one of only six U.S. schools. Additionally, more than 5,000 undergraduates are directly involved in research.


3. Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)

photo by Gregkeene via Wikimedia Commons

Oregon State University is only one of four institutions in the U.S. to be a land-grant, sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant institution. That means the school does research in all four of those areas.

U.S. News & World Report also recently named it the top university in the Pacific Northwest for innovation, and it tied for 33rd in the nation, alongside Yale and Georgetown.

Some of the most notable innovative efforts happening at the school include cancer research breakthroughs, desalination technology to help communities experiencing drought, and the development of a vaccine for gonorrhea.

When it comes to innovation at Oregon State University, it’s not all about science and technology either. The school is focused on its students and helping alleviate the student debt crisis in the country.

With its new Undergraduate Student Success Initiative, it aims to increase graduation rates with new student support services, including more advising and financial aid. In 2019, 46.5% of students graduated debt free, compared to the national average of 34%.

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