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While USF has received a fair amount of criticism, it cannot be said that the school is being managed by pessimists. In fact, at this University, optimism reigns supreme.

The top news article found on boasts of the school’s inclusion in another national report. Upon reading the article, one finds that USF has been ranked 79th in a list of 100 schools by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as a “best value in public colleges.”

At first, this may seem like a major step for the young University, but upon closer inspection, it is revealed that of the six Florida colleges on the list, USF ranks fifth. The University of Florida, crown jewel of the State University System, ranks second on the list, far above USF.

It is not that USF should not enjoy its success, but it might be better to let these achievements be found and judged by those interested in the reports than to boast about them.

In 2007, Dr. Stephen Portch was hired by USF to assess its academic infrastructure and report on whether the school would be able to meet its goal of matching the requirements of the Association of American Universities.

In his time here, Portch noticed the banners on many buildings throughout the campus announcing that USF’s among the top three research institutions in Florida.

Portch included in his criticisms that USF may not want to boast such minimal success.

It is difficult to disagree with Portch’s critique. When the model public university in the state, UF, is ranked 49th nationally by US News and World Report and USF hovers somewhere in the third tier (read: not in the top 100 national universities), it shows that being near the top in Florida does not translate to national success as far as education is concerned.

Unfortunately, when it comes to education on every level, the state of Florida and USF are lacking.

USF should focus on doing the best job possible to give its alumni a head start in life beyond their education. The primary deciding factor that determines the success of a university is how well-prepared its graduates are.

The schools that consistently rank near the top of the lists deemed so vital by universities typically don’t advertise their success. Those schools have faith that their product – successful alumni – will do all the advertising they need.