Lawrence University continues to be ranked as the No. 1 liberal arts college in Wisconsin in the latest edition of the U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges rankings.

Released Sept. 18, the 2023-24 rankings place Lawrence 75th among all liberal arts colleges in the country. Lawrence is the only college in Wisconsin among the top 85.

Lawrence also ranks 41st nationally among liberal arts colleges in Best Value.

The U.S. News rankings evaluate more than 1,450 colleges and universities, including about 200 liberal arts colleges. A year ago, Lawrence placed 63rd nationally among liberal arts colleges. Changes in U.S. News’ methodology affected this year’s rankings for many colleges on the list.

Lawrence continues to build on its strengths as a liberal arts institution, adding to the student experience while putting a greater focus on career readiness. That can be seen in two building developments under way in downtown Appleton.

Fox Commons, a public-private partnership, will be a vibrant living-learning hub that extends Lawrence’s footprint into the heart of downtown Appleton. The space will provide apartment-style housing for 180 upper-level students as well as exciting avenues for experiential learning with co-located organizations – Mosaic Health, Prevea Health, and Gener8tor, a business incubator focused on sustainability. Academic spaces in the building include the Business and Entrepreneurship Center and the Health and Wellness Commons, providing state-of-the art smart classrooms, a teaching kitchen, real-world technologies—including Bloomberg terminals—a pitch/performance stage, and workshop/huddle areas.

The 315 E. College Ave. project, meanwhile, is a public-private partnership with the nonprofit Trout Museum of Art. The four-story, 120,000-square-foot mixed-use building, at the intersection of E. College Avenue and S. Drew Street, will house the art museum on the ground level, with faculty offices and academic spaces for Lawrence on the second floor. The Lawrence spaces include an innovative teaching and co-curricular commons, where students will engage in both formal and experiential learning in varying disciplines, including mathematics, computer science, data science, and music, plus the Humanities Hub at Lawrence – an intellectual collaborative for faculty, students, scholars-in-residence, and others from across the country and around the world. 

Together, the projects will bring new commitments to career discernment through community partnerships, new mentoring and internship paths, and deeper involvement with the Career Center.

The building projects, both announced this summer, follow the launch of new or enhanced academic programs in recent years in business and entrepreneurship, mathematics, computer science, data science, environmental science, pre-health majors, and music, among others.

Lawrence also has put a new focus on the first-year experience—including the hiring of its inaugural first-year dean—and is embarking on a soon-to-be-announced faculty-led revision of First-Year Studies.

The changes are positioning Lawrence to thrive in the rapidly evolving landscape of higher education.