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Press Release for Friday, August 3, 2012

Forbes Magazine Ranks UNF Among Best Colleges in America

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Associate Director 

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2102

For the second consecutive year, the University of North Florida has been named as one of the top colleges and universities across the country in the annual "America's Best Colleges" 2012 list, created by Forbes Magazine.


The University was ranked fourth in Florida among all state universities. UNF was the only Northeast Florida institution of higher learning to make the list and was ranked No. 427 in the nation, up from 491 in last year's ranking, ahead of the University of South Florida (No. 449) and the University of Central Florida (No. 462).


"The University is now showing up in nearly every national college ranking, putting UNF at the top of some very impressive lists," said UNF President John Delaney. "While the national recognition is an important benchmark of our quality and value, it's the small class sizes and individualized attention that have become hallmarks of a UNF education."


Forbes looked at 650 undergraduate institutions in the country and focused on things that matter the most to students: quality of teaching, great career prospects, high graduation rates and low levels of debt. The ratings don't attempt to assess a school's reputation, nor are they a measure of academic selectivity. The magazine's annual list is compiled in conjunction with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.


This latest recognition comes on the heels of UNF receiving 13 other national designations, including Kiplinger's Personal Finance's List of 100 Best Values in Public Colleges for 2011-12; No. 19 Best Buy College, Best College in America and Best College in the South, all by Forbes Magazine; 2012 Best Value Public College, Best College in the Southeast, 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, 2011 Best Value Public College and a top "Green" College by Princeton Review in 2011 and 2012; Best Regional University by U.S. News & World Report, Military Friendly School and among the 100 "Coolest Schools" by Sierra magazine.


For more information on the Forbes ranking and its complete list of colleges, go to .


The University of North Florida's Student Union has been recognized by the Florida Chapter of The American Institute of Architects (AIA Florida) as the best educational building and voted the top building in the state by architects' votes. UNF's Student Union was also voted by the public as the No. 4 building overall in the state and is the only local building in the top five.


"We're thrilled to have been voted as the No. 1 educational facility in Florida and to be selected as the top pick by architects," said Zak Ovadia, director of UNF Campus Planning, Design and Construction. "It's also an honor to be among the buildings recognized by AIA as the top 100 buildings that have beneficially added to the unique architectural fabric of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida."


In March, AIA Florida launched the Top 100 Buildings statewide online competition, inviting the public to vote for their favorite Florida building. This year marks the 100th anniversary of AIA Florida, recognizing the important contributions architects have made in the Sunshine State. The competition identified 100 structures across the state that represents the best in architectural achievement. The public was encouraged to vote online and more than 2.4 million votes were cast overall.


Designed by Rink Design Partnership Inc., the 150,000-square-foot Student Union was completed in 2009. The $40.1 million facility was programmed to be the focal points for student activities and programs, dining facilities and offices for Student Government as well as the Division of Student and International Affairs.


The Student Union is in two parts separated by a student plaza, called Osprey Plaza, with a sunshade feature, which along with the curvature of the building, creates a most distinctive visual effect. Both buildings are three stories and are comprised of a steel structure with brick and metal cladding.


The east building is mostly administrative and houses all Student Government functions, Student and International Affairs offices, a bank, a Starbucks and snack store, the game room and studios for Osprey Radio and Osprey TV. The west building contains a food court with five fast-food outlets on the main floor, the UNF Bookstore (two stories), the Boathouse restaurant and various meeting rooms on the second level, four ballrooms on the third level along with numerous student lounges and meeting rooms of various capacities.


One of the most unique elements of the Student Union is a 108,000-square-foot grass amphitheater with a permanent stage. Located behind the west building, the Coxwell Amphitheater, which can seat 6,000 spectators, is constructed with a nine-degree elevation for optimum viewing by crowds attending concerts, performances, fairs and other events.


The Student Union follows the University's other new buildings on campus as a certified "green" building, meaning it uses energy-saving measures, recycled materials and natural light to improve the work environment.


The Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects, headquartered in Tallahassee, represents the interests of more than 3,600 members in Florida and the Caribbean. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct that assures the client, the public and colleagues of an AIA-member architect's dedication to the highest standards in professional practice.