Saint Mary’s Named Among Top 10 in the Country When It Comes to Service

Washington Monthly rankings esteem SMC among the top 10 percent master’s universities in the country. And they include it on the list of “Best Bang for the Buck” colleges.

by Kevin Wing, Director of Media Relations & News | October 25, 2023

Saint Mary’s College of California has earned recognition as the No. 8 master’s university in the country when it comes to service, according to a 2023 report issued by Washington Monthly magazine. Of the multiple prestigious colleges in California, Saint Mary’s is one of only two master’s universities to make the Top 20 when it comes to service.

To those familiar with the 160-year-old college in Moraga, this national recognition doesn’t come as a surprise. Saint Mary’s was founded with a commitment to make education accessible—to instill in graduates the transformative power of education, both when it comes to creating opportunities for individuals and changing the world.

Jennifer Pigza leads the Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action (CILSA) at Saint Mary’s. “Every Saint Mary’s undergraduate has an engaged learning experience that invites them to consider the common good and our responsibilities therein,” she notes. “And through deeply immersive experiences, such as summer fellowships and internships, students grow their capacities to be compassionate and thoughtful leaders who partner with communities to advance equity. No matter their professional trajectory, we want all undergraduate and graduate students to consider how the promotion of justice can be a part of their lives well beyond their time at Saint Mary’s.”

According to Washington Monthly, Saint Mary’s is also the top Lasallian master’s university overall in the United States. Lasallian colleges are grounded in the tradition and leadership of the De LaSalle Christian Brothers, the largest Roman Catholic order dedicated to teaching. And when it comes to service, Saint Mary’s earns a spot on the Washington Monthly list as the No. 2 Catholic master’s university in the country.

Top 10 Percent in the Country—and a Different Kind of College Ranking

When it comes to overall rankings of master’s universities—institutions that primarily grant bachelor’s and master’s degrees—Washington Monthly puts Saint Mary’s among the top 10 percent in the United States.

Washington Monthly’s rankings consist of three equally weighted portions: social mobility, research, and community and national service. Top-ranked colleges needed to be excellent across the full breadth measures, rather than excelling in just one measure. The magazine’s rankings give props to those colleges and universities, like Saint Mary’s, that help non-wealthy students earn remunerative degrees, encourage students to vote and serve their country, and produce the scholars and scholarship that drive economic growth and human betterment.

Three male students helping assemble housewares as part of a service project for hurricane relief in 2020
Community partners: Saint Mary’s students work with the nonprofit Grateful Gatherings to support Bay Area families in need. / Photo by Ashley Rose

Recap: Saint Mary’s Numbers at a Glance, According to Washington Monthly

  • No. 8 for service in the country among master’s universities
  • No. 2 for service in the country among Catholic master’s universities
  • Top 10 percent among master’s universities in the U.S.
  • Top Lasallian master’s university in the country

More Recent Accolades for Saint Mary’s

The Princeton Review has profiled SMC as one of the nation’s top higher education institutions for undergraduates. This review is based on what students themselves say about the College. They highlight robust academic offerings, an ethnically and intellectually diverse student body, and the stunning campus “that goes hand-in-hand with the chill vibe of the San Francisco Bay and the student population.” 

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Saint Mary’s as the No. 4 regional university in the West

Earlier this year, Money Magazine included Saint Mary’s on its list of best colleges in the country, based on quality, affordability, and student outcomes. 

And in September, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) ranked Saint Mary’s among the top 10 universities in the country for sustainable food and dining. SMC earned a top 10 ranking nationally for its sustainable food and dining practices in the 2023 Sustainable Campus Index.

EXPLORE MORE: Learn about CILSA and service opportunities at SMC for students, faculty, and staff.

Read the latest from Saint Mary’s in the SMC NewsCenter.

Read more about the Washington Monthly’s rankings.