Oxford Ranked as Nation’s Second-Best College Town

Photo by Robert Jordan

Photo by Robert Jordan

OXFORD, Miss. – It’s surely no surprise to most Ole Miss fans and people who live in the Oxford community, but the home of the University of Mississippi has been named one of the nation’s top college towns.

Livability.com ranks Oxford No. 2 on its third annual listing of top college towns, praising the town’s genteel atmosphere, cultural and social opportunities, and abundance of outdoor activities. Oxford was No. 9 on last year’s list and this year ranks right behind College Station, Texas, home of new SEC member Texas A&M.

“While there is an equal number of permanent residents and college students, the town retains a sophisticated feel,” the website’s review says. “That comes from the care city leaders take in preserving historic buildings and the fact that business owners know their clients have an appreciation for the finer things in life.”

The review also spotlights the university’s contribution to the city’s vibrant cultural scene, citing the UM Museum, Rowan Oak and Ole Miss Theatre offerings as being particularly important. It also notes that retirees have a chance to take UM classes tuition-free.
“College towns are appealing to all demographics because universities bring a host of quality-of-life amenities, such as arts and cultural activities, top-notch medical facilities and nightlife, as well as economic development assets, such as research and development, continuing education and workforce training,” said John Hood, spokesman for Livability.com.

The listing is an honor for the entire Lafayette-Oxford-University community, Chancellor Dan Jones said.

“Oxford has benefitted from strong city leadership for some time,” Jones said. “The University of Mississippi is proud to be a part of such a strong, vibrant community and grateful for the close relationship we enjoy. This honor for our hometown is just an affirmation of what we’ve known for some time.”

Other cities making the list are Logan, Utah, home to Utah State University; Champaign, Ill., home of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Lawrence, Kan., home to the University of Kansas; Corvallis, Ore., home to Oregon State University; Bloomington, Ind., home to Indiana University; Athens, Ga., home to the University of Georgia; Ann Arbor, Mich., home to the University of Michigan; and Blacksburg, Va., home to Virginia Tech.

Livability.com focuses on small and medium-size communities through a variety of lists that highlight good living, visiting and working opportunities. Some recent rankings have included the nation’s “Top 10 Best BBQ Cities,” “Top 10 Cities for Historic Preservation” and “Top 10 Cities for Affordable Vacations.” To develop the list of the top 10 college towns, editors considered a variety of factors, including cost of living, walkability, ratio of students to residents and the economic impact of the university on the city.

The listing is the third national honor in a month for Ole Miss, which moved up to No. 18 in Forbes’ annual rankings of the nation’s “Best Value Colleges” a few weeks ago. The university also is included in the “Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013,” which profiles the top 300 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

For more information, visit the Livability.com rankings.