10 Colleges With Incredibly Loyal Alumni

The best way to gauge the value of the education and experience offered by a college is to rate the satisfaction of its alumni. Those who stay involved with their schools well after they graduate — whether it's through networking or donations — typically got the most out of their college careers. Their contributions ensure that future generations of alumni will feel the same way, strengthening the almost familial bond within the network. These schools have produced some the nation's best and brightest, many of whom continually express their gratitude as they fulfill their career and life goals.

  1. Princeton University

    Founded in 1746, Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in the United States and historically one of the nation's most distinguished, notably producing 32 Nobel Laureate winners. The school boasts a powerful alumni base that includes First Lady Michelle Obama and current Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Samuel Alito. With such accomplished graduates, it should come as little surprise that the school receives a healthy amount of donations annually. According to U.S. News & World Report, 60.3% of Princeton alumni contributed funds to the school in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

  2. University of Pennsylvania

    There's no doubt that a degree from Penn is worth its weight in gold. Students learn from some of the world's most accomplished professors — several faculty members have won the Nobel Prize during the last decade — enabling them to enter the real world prepared to make a difference. Students also benefit from an abundance of on-campus resources — just last May, Raymond and Ruth Perelman gave $225 million to the medical school, which will be named in their honor. The handsome sum will go toward innovative health research, faculty recruitment, and financial aid.

  3. Amherst College

    A mere 1,744 students were enrolled at Amherst during the fall of 2009, a number surpassed by many metro area high schools throughout the country. The benefit is that a more closely-knit community is fostered on campus, producing many happy graduates after four years — a 2009 study indicated that the school had the second highest graduation rate in the country. Known for being generous with financial aid and generally well run, it's no wonder 59.5% of alumni, according to U.S. News & World Report, gave back in 2007-08 and 2008-09 after entering their careers.

  4. Dartmouth College

    Another top-10 Ivy League school, Dartmouth offers an excellent undergraduate education to the select few students who are granted admission. It has recently been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as first in undergraduate teaching at national universities, a strength that enables students to enter some of the nation's finest law, medical and business schools upon graduation. When they enter the real world, they immediately earn attractive salaries — PayScale indicates that Dartmouth grads earn the highest starting salaries in the country and second highest income 10 years after graduation, hence the grateful alumni.

  5. Middlebury College

    Middlebury is one of the oldest and most established liberal arts colleges in the country. Always a proponent of dedicated students, it was the first institution of higher education to award a bachelor's degree to an African-American, and one of the first all-male schools to accept women. Its alumni appreciate the school's passion for students, and thus 60.1% of them donated to Middlebury in 2007-08 and 2008-09, according to U.S. News & World Report.

  6. University of Michigan

    The extensiveness of Michigan's alumni network, an estimated 460,000 around the world in 2007, is matched by few schools — in fact, it's the only school to have an alumni association chapter on the moon. Among them are numerous Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, and Rhodes Scholar winners, many of whom return to the university for lectures and alumni events, including Saturday football games, in which 110,000 fans pack Michigan Stadium to watch the Wolverines. The generosity of its alumni has helped Michigan build the seventh largest endowment ($6.6 billion) in the country.

  7. Webb Institute

    As previously mentioned, the size of school can have an effect on the cohesiveness of its alumni. Webb Institute consists of just 91 students, each of whom is working to attain a Bachelor of Science degree in naval architecture and marine engineering. Together, they invest copious amounts of time into their rigorous studies in an effort to reach graduation, a task more difficult at Webb than most other schools. The reward is almost guaranteed job placement, which is why so many alumni give to the school — 70.9% in 2007-08 and 2009-09, according to U.S. News & World Report, the highest percentage in the country.

  8. Texas A&M University

    Texans are familiar with the bond shared by Aggies, whose values reflect the school's distinct military history. In many cases, Aggies come from Aggie families with members who've served in the military, and likely majored in the school's nationally recognized engineering program. Texas A&M is the sixth-largest university in the country, and numerous former students contribute to the school. The Aggie Network, the school's alumni association, has more than 500,000 members, composing perhaps the most active collection of grads in the country.

  9. Carleton College

    Carlton College is one of the best schools you may not know about, routinely ranking as one of best liberal arts colleges and colleges in general in the country — though its administration prefers not to discuss rankings, as it's a member of the Annapolis Group, a group of liberal arts colleges who've spoken out against publications such as the U.S. News & World Report. So don't expect a Carlton grad to brag about the U.S. News recognition of their generous alumni base, 61.3% of which donated to the school in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

  10. Columbia University

    When you've sat in the same classrooms as 40 Nobel Prize winners, 104 Pulitzer Prize winners, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, U.S. Senators, CEOs and billionaires, you're bound to be a little more proud of your school than the average college grad. Columbia alumni are typically highly intelligent and successful, and many of them credit their alma mater for molding them into valuable members of society. The school's $6.5 billion endowment is among the largest in the country, thanks, in no small part, to their generosity.

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