Real Estate / Home + Design

America’s Most Beautiful and Ugliest Colleges?

Surprise Texas Schools Nearly No. 1 on Both Lists


Beauty isn’t only skin-deep. It also reaches into concrete and brick pillars. Especially if they grace one of the Most Beautiful College Campuses in America.

The Princeton Review’s new best college rankings are out, and Southern Methodist University has vaulted up to No. 2 in the campus beauty rankings. SMU is ahead of the storied hedges of the University of Georgia and the leafy elm trees of Dartmouth. Only Rollins College beat out the Dallas school — and Rollins carries the super advantage of being right on the water in Florida.

SMU’s Georgian architecture, park-like setting and somewhat unbelievably green lawns (is there a special climate dome over the place?) won it raves.

Do promising high schoolers make college decisions based on campus beauty? Who knows? But it sure doesn’t hurt. It’s also a lot better than the alternative. Another Texas university is feeling that. And it’s ugly. Literally, the Princeton Review argues.

For while SMU is basking in its near beauty queen moment, the University of Dallas — a private Catholic university that’s actually located in Irving — has been named the Ugliest Campus in America. For the second straight year.

The University of Dallas has been named the Ugliest College Campus in America. Do you agree?
The University of Dallas has been named the Ugliest College Campus in America. Do you agree?

Boxy 1970s-style architecture and plenty of brown is a look no one is seeking out in their college campus.

The University of Dallas isn’t apologizing, though. It’s firing back, tweeting, “Does this look ugly to you?” with a shot of the campus (albeit a fairly long-distance one).

Dallas Morning News editorial writer Rudolph Bush — a proud University of Dallas alum — went even further, writing, “We are not in England or the verdant mountains of Virginia. We are in North Texas. We are in a place of brown grassy plains and little scrub hills. UD never made any pretensions to be other than where it is and what it is.”

Okay, that’s actually not much of an aesthetic defense. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Maybe not when it comes to college campuses. Texas may boast the beauty pageant runner-up and the ultimate ugly duckling in its colleges, but at least both schools have found the spotlight.

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