The Collegian
Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Meet the schools that dethroned UR as the most beautiful campus

<p>The University of San Diego (left) and Bryn Mawr College (right) knocked down the University of Richmond from the most beautiful campus ranking by the Princeton Review.</p>

The University of San Diego (left) and Bryn Mawr College (right) knocked down the University of Richmond from the most beautiful campus ranking by the Princeton Review.

The University of Richmond has been officially dethroned as the nation’s most beautiful campus, dropping to third place in The Princeton Review’s 2023 college rankings. 

Let’s meet the schools that beat UR.  

Taking the No. 1 spot is The University of San Diego. The 180-acre campus is located just four miles from Mission Beach and six miles from downtown San Diego, California. This private Catholic university has just under 6,000 undergraduate students. 

Olivia Synek, a senior and tour guide at USD, said prospective students and their families are always impressed with the grounds. 

“From basically anywhere on campus where you are not blocked by a view, you will get a really nice view of the ocean, of the sunsets and of parks and greenery,” Synek said. “I end all my tours at the Garden of the Sea, which has a lot of plants that are native to California, and you can see all of the coastal line of San Diego in that spot.” 

University of San Diego Campus Aerial 2.jpg

University of San Diego's campus. USD is now ranked as the most beautiful campus by the Princeton Review. Photo courtesy of the University of San Diego.

USD also recently built a new business school, the Knauss Center for Business Education, in spring 2021. The building features collaboration pods, business labs and collaborative classroom furniture on the inside while maintaining exterior USD architectural elements.

In second place is Bryn Mawr College. This women’s liberal arts college about 10 miles outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is home to about 1,500 undergraduate students.

Dawn DiGiovanni, associate director for grounds, said she had focused during the past two years on developing exterior spaces for students to study, socialize and gather during the pandemic. 

“We encouraged people to go outside and use the grounds and hopefully set them up to be a place to actually study, but also a place to renew yourself and be able to enjoy the outdoors and be able to get away from the craziness of college,” DiGiovanni said. 


Students walk around the Bryn Mawr College campus. Photo courtesy of Bryn Mawr College.

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DiGiovanni said she was unaware of Byrn Mawr’s recognition as the second most beautiful campus but was thrilled when she found out and was proud that the work of her crew was recognized. 

And coming in at No. 3 is UR. With 350 acres for more than 3,000 undergraduate students, UR takes pride in its grounds and facilities. 

“The Collegiate Gothic architecture and the meticulously landscaped grounds are a major source of pride among students, staff, and faculty — and a major attraction for potential students and their families,” Paul Lozo, director of facilities operations, wrote in an email to The Collegian. 

Lozo said the UR Facilities team is responsible for maintaining 170 acres of turf, two and a half acres of walkways, 16 main flowerbeds and Westhampton Lake. With flowers ordered in the spring and summer months and bulbs planted in the spring, landscaping crews work year-round. 

Courtesy of the University of Richmond.

Courtesy of the University of Richmond.

Senior Tyler Chong is also a UR tour guide. Chong said despite the drop in ranking, the UR campus is still beautiful, and prospective students and families agree.

“I also know that people have different preferences, so they might think a different campus is more beautiful,” Chong said. “I think they can kind of see for themselves that it's a very beautiful campus and number three is so impressive.”

The Princeton Review bases its rankings on an 85-question survey sent to 160,000 students from 388 different colleges. The rankings are updated annually based on student responses. 

Contact lifestyle editor Corinne Flaherty at

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