Posted on Jul 30, 2006

Union College is among 20 ''hidden gems'' singled out to be on insiders' short lists in a story featured in the New York Times on Sunday, July 30.

The story appears in Education Life, which is published quarterly by the newspaper. The list is divided geographically, with Union included in the Northeast, along with SUNY Geneseo and Wheaton College in Norton, Mass.

The article highlights colleges considered to be solid alternatives to better-known schools such as Harvard, Yale and Stanford.

The list was compiled with help from a dozen higher education experts and counselors.

Nott Memorial with plaque

Here is the text of what was printed about the College:

''That's Union as in the union of science, particularly engineering, and the humanities. Consider this year's valedictorian, Mark Weston, who majored in computer science with a minor in classics. The salutatorian, Marisa Zarchy, was a biology major with a double minor in chemistry and art.

More than 150 years ago, Union was one of the big four – right up there with Harvard, Yale and Princeton – before losing ground amid a scandal over college finances. Union began a revival in the early 1900's with the addition of an electrical engineering program, tapping a relatively new technology.

Three years ago, Union embarked on another experiment. Worried that Greek life was dominating campus (the country's three oldest fraternities were founded at Union), administrators created the Minerva houses, after the Roman goddess of wisdom. Students, about 300 each, and professors are assigned to one of seven houses, where they study, hold discussion groups and just hang out; upperclassmen can live in the houses. Mr. Herndon-Brown lauds the new social climate for letting Union's “academic richness” shine through.''

Visit “Off the Beaten Path” to read the complete article (registration may be required).

The website of the Times also features a slide show of the 20 schools, including a picture of the Nott Memorial taken by Jason Slater '02.

The New York Times has a circulation of 1.6 million on Sundays.