2020 Fiske Guide to Best Colleges Includes Gonzaga

An aerial view of College Hall, the administration building at Gonzaga University. (GU photo)
An aerial view of College Hall at Gonzaga. (GU photo)

July 17, 2019
Gonzaga News Service
SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga University is among the 323 “best and most interesting” U.S., Canadian, British and Irish colleges and universities featured in the “Fiske Guide to Colleges 2020,” a respected independent college guide for 36 years. This marks the fifth consecutive year Gonzaga has been included in the publication.


Compiled by Edward Fiske, the former education editor for The New York Times, the publication offers what it calls an “insider’s look” at what it’s like to be a student at the top schools in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Ireland.

The guide aims to portray the distinctive identity of its listed schools based on a broad range of subjects, including academic, social, and quality-of-life ratings. It also features lists of strong programs and popular majors at each college, indexes that break down schools by state, price, financial aid statistics and more.

The recently released 2020 edition describes Gonzaga as a “liberal arts university committed to the Jesuit ideal of educating the whole person: mind, body, and spirit.” In keeping with that commitment, the guide describes Gonzaga’s extensive core curriculum for undergraduates that starts with a first-year seminar and ends with a core integration seminar.

“Centered around the question of how students may ‘educate themselves to become women and men for a more just and humane global community,’ the core includes courses in English composition, speech communication, and critical reasoning, with doses of philosophy and religious studies, literature, scientific inquiry, and mathematics,” the guide notes. “Writing, social justice, and global studies are emphasized throughout the core.”

Gonzaga gets high marks for its Hemmingson Center, which offers ample space for the student body association, student clubs and organizations, and the main dining hall, and its transformative 52,000-square-foot, two-story Woldson Performing Arts Center that opened this year.

“Gonzaga students are excited, passionate, service-driven, and open-minded,” notes a history major.

The guide also emphasizes Gonzaga’s school spirit, small class sizes, committed and accessible faculty, a culture that emphasizes social justice and community service, and its remarkable sense of community.

“Basketball may inspire the most vocal outpourings of school spirit, but students say that the religious and humanistic values to which the university has long been committed run deep. ‘Community is a word tossed around quite frequently at all college campuses,’ says a psychology major, ‘but at GU, community is almost a belief.’”

Gonzaga offers more than 50 service-learning courses, and 57 percent of undergraduates take part in some form of community service, the guide notes.

“Being involved in the community is a specific Jesuit trait that we all try to live out,” adds another student.