The changing seasons bring with them new hope and fresh expectations. Welcome indeed is change as we grow tired toiling in this world of ours. For students alike, falling leaves means falling into school. Orange, brown, red, and yellow colors mean it’s time to embark on the voyage of learning once again. Fall means seeing old friends and meeting new ones. This autumn atmosphere cannot be underestimated, for beauty leads us to transcend the time-bound world to another spiritual or intellectual level.
William Blake wrote “To Autumn” in 1783. His classic poem captures the passing charm and beauty of the season by imagining it singing and dancing.
Consider and enjoy it below:
“O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
“The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.
“The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.”
As we explored the nation’s colleges, we found the 50 most beautiful campuses in the fall. Rankings were based on the following, in the order of importance:
• Number of times mentioned on 10 other popular lists
• The presence of an arboretum or botanical garden
• Recognition as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation
• Historic architecture and landscaping
• Mountain, river, or lake views
50. Bowdoin College
Eight students began taking classes after Samuel Adams signed the charter of Bowdoin College in 1794. Today, Bowdoin College is a private, liberal arts college located in Brunswick, Maine that offers 33 majors and 4 additional minors, with student-faculty ratio of 9:1. With famous alumni like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the quality of education speaks for itself. Students receive the personal attention required for a liberal arts education; 71 percent of Bowdoin’s classes have fewer than 20 students, ensuring students have ample time and opportunity to interact with professors. Students who are interested in athletics will appreciate Bowdoin’s 30 varsity teams; the school mascot is the polar bear, which was selected in 1913 to honor Bowdoin alumnus who led the first successful expedition to the North Pole. In addition to its main campus, Bowdoin also owns a 118-acre coastal studies center on Orr’s Island and a 200-acre scientific field station on Kent Island.
Not far behind the great academic heritage is Bowdoin’s beautiful campus. In fact, academics and campus beauty are related as two giants of American Literature, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, graduated in the class of 1825. The Bowdoin College campus is approximately 215 acres and includes 120 buildings. Bowdoin’s Coastal Studies Center, located eight miles from campus on 118 acres of Orr’s Island, was completed in 1998. Fall in Maine is glorious and can be experienced just about anywhere in the state. On campus, Coe Quad offers great fall colors. Not only do deciduous trees adorn campus, the famous Bowdoin Pines, many still standing today have been a silent witness to history. The Thorndike Oak, a campus landmark for generations, was planted in 1802 and gives some perspective on the rich history at Bowdoin. Buildings are also noteworthy and include Massachusetts Hall, Hubbard Hall, the Parker Cleaveland House and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House.
49. Hanover College
Nestled in 650 acres of a wooded campus and located on the banks of the scenic Ohio River, Hanover College is a private, liberal arts institution “where brains and beauty truly intersect. “ Hanover has 1200 students and offers 33 majors in the liberal arts plus a design-your-own major. The student-faculty ratio at Hanover College is 11:1, and 73 percent of its classes have fewer than 20 students. Hanover was founded in 1827 by Presbyterians and has been through much change, including a plummeting enrollment after WWII and the 1974 tornado Super Outbreak, which inflicted great damage to the campus. Through it all, though, Hanover has survived and now thrives. The most popular majors at Hanover College are Biology/Biological Sciences, General, Economics, General, Kinesiology and Exercise Science and Psychology. A notable development is the Business Scholars Program, founded in 2005. The Program is an experiential business education program that lets students practice business skills and apply knowledge taught by faculty with extensive industry experience.
To see the beauty of the campus is to believe it. Hanover College is a must visit for its natural beauty, cultivated campus, and fine Georgian architecture. Click here to see fly over footage of the campus. Ranked by many services as one of the most beautiful campuses, it’s easy to see why. The 650-acre campus next to the Ohio River and the 500-acre nature preserve of forested ravines with hiking trails is one-of-a-kind. The campus has an Environmental Education Center, community garden, campus arboretum and Natural History Museum to boot and the nearby Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge and Clifty Falls State Park. As for autumn ambiance, the quad is top-notch with a tunnel of trees, stunning in fall foliage. Hanover’s commitment to beauty shows in their commitment to keeping a unified architectural style; the School turned down a proposed building by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright the 1940’s because it wasn’t Georgian.
48. College of William and Mary
Located in the historic town of Williamsburg, Virginia, William and Mary is unlike any other university in America. The second oldest college in the nation, William and Mary is a “Public Ivy” that offers a world-class education and cutting-edge research. There are over 6,300 undergraduates and 2,100 graduate students from 49 states and 68 foreign countries at William and Mary. Eighty-one percent of freshman who graduated in the top ten percent of their class, and William and Mary students are known to earn doctorates at a higher rate than any other public university in the nation. Additionally, more than 45 percent of students study abroad at some point in their undergraduate careers. There is no doubt that William and Mary is an excellent university, historically, academically, and through the countless opportunities offered William and Mary students.
It goes without saying that William and Mary offers an outstanding education to all 8,500 students. As for autumn beauty, the campus does not disappoint. The 1,200-acre grounds are immaculate and marvelous to behold. The School’s historic buildings, like the Wren Building, the oldest academic building to be used uninterruptedly and a National Historic Landmark to boot, are spectacular. With heavily wooded areas, the aesthetic Sunken Garden, Crim Dell pond’s iconic bridge, and towering trees, William and Mary brings heaven down to earth – especially in the fall time. With ambiance like this it’s no wonder figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay, and John Marshall were inspired by it. Every year, the School holds their Autumn Blast, an overnight program for multicultural high school senior and underrepresented populations to experience college life as prospective students. This year, the Blast will be Oct. 22nd-23rd.
47. University of Maine
A child of the Morrill Act, the University of Maine has grown up and flourished. Originally opening as the Maine College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts in 1868 with 12 students and two faculty members, the University now has nearly 11,000 students and is strengthening its research side considerably. It was recently ranked among the top public universities for research by the National Science Foundation. UMaine is committed to remain relevant with 15 Signature and Emerging Areas of Excellence, two of which are to increase STEM students and lower student debt. “Enrollment in STEM majors has increased dramatically in the past five years, with over 600 more STEM majors in the fall 2015 compared to the fall 2011.” With 100 majors and programs, 70 master’s, and 30 doctoral degrees, UMaine offers great variety for students. With 150 years of tradition, there is a thriving community at UMaine, over 200 clubs and organizations and one of the oldest honors programs in the U.S.
Meandering rivers, plentiful trees, and historic architecture make the University of Maine a gorgeous autumn campus. With an awesome array of autumn colors, student and visitors enjoy the arboretum-designated campus daily. The 660-acre campus was designed by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. For nature lovers, the 15 miles of hiking, biking, walking, and skiing trails are heaven. The 7-acred Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamental Gardens offers a picturesque tree lined path, especially in the fall, as a haven in a hectic world and place of study for students. The Stillwater and Penobscot Rivers carry leaves and worries away aiding to the natural setting of the campus. UMaine is the only Land Grant University located on an island. Moreover, those autumn colors and leaves are brought out by outstanding architecture. The UMaine Historic District includes ten buildings. Don’t miss the ivy that covers much of Boardman Hall and take some photos of Stevens Hall. With neoclassical architecture, a central cupola, and handsome facade and traditional landscaping, it can’t be beat.
46. University of Alabama
The Capstone Creed typifies life at the University of Alabama, “As a member of The University of Alabama community, I will pursue knowledge, act with fairness, integrity and respect; promote equity and inclusion; foster individual and civic responsibility; and strive for excellence in all I do.” The School is consistently ranked high in many areas. It’s easy to see why with 47 Goldwater Scholars, 15 Rhodes Scholars, 16 Truman Scholars, 32 Hollings Scholars, six Boren Scholars and 30 UA faculty who have received the NSF CAREER Award, the nation’s most prestigious recognition of top-performing young scientists, in disciplines ranging from nanoscience and engineering to biological sciences. Being the oldest University in Alabama (founded in 1820) it is the flagship university for Alabama, enrolls 38,000 students, has 13 schools, and an endowment of $660 million. UA is known for excellent research, engineering, and of course, Crimson Tide football.
Originally designed by noted English-born architect William Nichols, the overall design for this early version of the campus was patterned after Thomas Jefferson’s plan for the University of Virginia, with its Lawn and Rotunda. University of Alabama is 1970 acres filled with amazing architecture. The President’s Mansion highlights the beauty of the Greek-Revival style with its red bricks and Ionic columns. This backdrop only emphasizes fall colors on the Tree Campus USA. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the President’s Mansion is Shelby Hall, the Gorgas Library and Denny Chimes, a campanile equipped with a 25-bell carillon. These buildings are joined by the central Quad, which has a grove of trees along one side that are simply marvelous in the autumn time. In 1865 Union soldiers decimated an area by fire, but has revived to one of the most gorgeous campuses in the nation.
45. Salve Regina University
With only 2,800 students from 35 states and 20 countries, it is easy to overlook this gem. Located in Newport, Rhode Island, Salve Regina University sits in a special place. Offering 46 undergraduate majors, 11 master’s degrees, 2 doctorates (Nursing and Humanities) and over 200 study abroad programs in 45 countries there are many academic opportunities. Founded in 1934 by the Sisters of Mercy as a women’s school, it became coeducational in 1973. The original vision for excellence in “virtue, piety, and learning” continues to this day. Through teaching and research Salve Regina prepares men and women for responsible lives by imparting and expanding knowledge, developing skills and cultivating enduring values. In keeping with the traditions of the Sisters of Mercy, and recognizing that all people are stewards of God’s creation, the University encourages students to work for the world that is “harmonious, just and merciful.”
Mother Teresa once said, “The Lord likes small things best, especially those done with love.” The campus at Salve Regina is fittingly beautiful as it is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God. The absolute cornucopia of architectural gems is astounding. It is set on 80 acres and seven continuous estates and features more than 20 historic structures. The ocean setting surrounded by rare trees, tide pools, museums, and wildlife is living laboratory for students and visitors alike. Shining among the architectural gems is Ochre Court, an astonishing chateau-like mansion that dates back to 1892. The Neo-Gothic French style typifies the overall style of the campus. The hall was acquired by Salve Regina in 1947, 13 years after the school was founded. Other architectural treasures of the stunning, water-fronted site include the red sandstone, Romanesque Revival McAuley Hall, the geometrically intricate mock-Elizabethan manor house Wakehurst, and our Lady of Mercy Chapel.
44. Chatham University
Named after William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, Chatham University in Pittsburg offers 2,100 undergraduate and graduate students over 60 programs in the health and lab sciences, sustainability, business and communications, and the arts and humanities. The School has been recognized as a top green school and leader in sustainability. In 2012, a Forbes article said Chatham is one of the places “contributing to Pittsburgh’s transformation into a destination for green living.” Notably, Chatham opened the world’s first fully sustainable campus in higher education, Eden Hall Campus, in 2014. CU has come a long way since starting as Pennsylvania Female College in 1869. In 1994, Chatham College expanded around its historic undergraduate women’s college by beginning to offer graduate programs to both men and women with a special emphasis in the health science fields. Now a co-ed institution with students from 48 states and 27 foreign countries, Chatham is on the rise.
The autumn breeze at Chatham is fresh. With a peaceful ambiance, the old campus is home to 115 types of trees spread out over 32 acres and is designated as an arboretum and recognized as a Tree Campus USA school. Trees such as the Japanese flowering crabapple, river birch, and Kentucky coffeetree provide the warmth of fall colors and beauty of Mother Nature to students and visitors alike. The architecture of Chatham also provides a great backdrop to fall foliage as the campus today is composed of buildings and grounds from a number of former private mansions, including those of Andrew Mellon, Edward Stanton Fickes, George M. Laughlin Jr. and James Rea.
Lastly, part of Chatham’s rise is the new 388-acre Eden Hall Campus, donated in 2008 and opened in 2014. The Eden Hall Campus offers programs in sustainability and environmental studies, food studies, landscape architecture, and women’s studies and is home to the Falk School of Sustainability, one of the first of such programs in the U.S.
43. West Virginia University
“As a land-grant institution in the 21st century, WVU will deliver high-quality education, excel in discovery and innovation, model a culture of diversity and inclusion, promote health and vitality, and build pathways for the exchange of knowledge and opportunity between the state, the nation and the world.” An apt mission being lived out, West Virginia University has produced 24 Rhodes Scholars, 36 Goldwater Scholars, 22 Truman Scholars and 19 faculty named Carnegie Foundation Professors of the Year. The ambition runs high at WVU with the goal to be the premier research institution in the U.S. by 2020. The University has 14 colleges and schools offering 353 majors in just about every degree imaginable. WVU is one of only about a dozen schools in the country that are land-grant, doctoral research universities with a comprehensive medical school. The WVU School of Medicine is the first in the country to rotate students through a clinical addiction program, which is now a requirement for all American medical students. Also, WVU is one of only three institutions that offer a joint petroleum and natural gas engineering ABET-accredited major.
West Virginia’s climate is ideal for fall foliage. West Virginia University’s campus can be divided in three basic sections. The original main campus, typically called the Downtown Campus, is in the Monongahela River valley on the fringes of Morgantown. It has eight academic buildings on the National Register of Historic Places with architectural styles featuring red brick including Victorian Second Empire, Federal, Neoclassical, and Collegiate Gothic among others. There is also the Evansdale Campus and the Health Sciences Campus. Perhaps unique to WVU is the 91-acre Core Arboretum of mostly old-growth trees on a steep hillside along the Monongahela River flood plain. Breathtaking in the fall and free to the public, visitors enjoy over three miles of trails, three acres of planted lawn and great fall time trees.
42. The Ohio State University
It’s hard to understate the fact that Ohio State University is enormous. Originally founded as a school set up for mechanical and agricultural training, OSU has since developed into a comprehensive university. It is the third largest university campus in the United States with its main campus in Columbus but also a regional campus system with campuses in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, and Wooster. Walking, biking, busing, and attending classes at the main campus are 59,000 students. A member of the Association of American Universities and a Public Ivy, academic options, quality, and accolades abound. Research is also huge at Ohio State. With expenditures in the top 10 in the U.S., OSU has dedicated much towards a cure for cancer, renewable energy sources, and sustainable drinking water supplies. OSU was named by Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching the highest overall classification of “Doctoral/Very High Research Activity.” With too many great programs to mention, OSU is truly a place that something for everyone.
The OSU Columbus campus covers 1,764 acres and has four buildings currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Hale Hall, Hayes Hall, Ohio Stadium, and Orton Hall. There is a mix of architectural styles but amongst all the buildings great green spaces, trees, walkways, and plant life. In the fall, though, the main reason for making our list is the Chadwick Arboretum. This 60 acres of cultivated plants is a masterpiece. The Learning Gardens and Lane Avenue Gardens are eye-catching landscaped gardens that are the focus of urban design and environmental studies. They are filled with annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs. The Arboretum North is the hidden gem of the autumn time of the entire OSU campus (a Tree Campus USA). The gardens include a diverse willow collection, a 3.5-acre research lake stocked with several fish species, a picnic area, and a planting of 1,000 trees native to Ohio.
41. Salisbury University
Founded in 1925, Salisbury University exists to “empower our students with the knowledge, skills, and core values that contribute to active citizenship, gainful employment, and life-long learning in a democratic society and interdependent world.” With 8,700 students from 47 states and 68 countries, the School competes with the best. Salisbury has 42 undergraduate programs, 14 master’s, and two doctoral programs. The Carnegie Classification is “Master’s L: Master’s Colleges & Universities (Larger Programs).” There are four endowed schools at the University, a great honors program, and established and successful study abroad options. The most popular majors are Biology, Exercise Science, Communication, and Elementary Education. “Salisbury University cultivates and sustains a superior learning community where students, faculty, and staff are viewed as learners, teachers/scholars, and facilitators, and where a commitment to excellence and openness to a broad array of ideas and perspectives are central to all aspects of University life.”
Without a doubt, the most special fall feature of Salisbury is their 155-acre campus arboretum. Integral to Salisbury since 1988, the Arboretum is the place for tranquil natural beauty, scientific study, and public display of myriads of plant life. With over 2,000 plant species, indigenous and exotic, the Arboretum displays the best of Mother Nature. Located on the Delmarva Peninsula, an area known as Maryland’s Eastern Shore, midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay provides a mild temperate zone. When wandering the natural wonderland, don’t miss the beautiful collection of sculpture. Adding to autumn scenes are classic green spaces flanked by great architecture. Holloway Hall, which was built in 1925 with majestic southern colonial columns is worth of a photo anytime of the year. Also, worth noting is Fulton Hall, a colonial style building with white columns and red brick, nicely complementing the trees in autumn.
40. Hofstra University
The history of Hofstra is interesting. Originally an extension of New York University in 1935 called “Nassau College – Hofstra Memorial of New York University at Hempstead, Long Island,” the School became Hofstra in 1939. Comprising 10 schools, including a School of Medicine and a School of Law, Hofstra was the first private school on Long Island. Now serving nearly 11,000 students, the School provides a quality education. Offering about 155 undergraduate program options, about 170 graduate program options, three first professional degrees, and 15 dual degrees, Hofstra is diverse. There are also dozes of outstanding centers and institutes seeking to research and bring innovation to America and the world. According to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, Hofstra is considered a large research university. Also of note is the fact that it is the only school who has hosted the United State Presidential Debates for three consecutive campaign cycles. The student retention at Hofstra is high at 80 percent for returning freshmen.
Located in Hempstead, New York, Hofstra University is home to a stunning, 240-acre campus that has been designated as an arboretum and bird sanctuary. Throughout campus, there are more than 250 gardens, 12,000 trees representing 625 varieties, and unique benches to boot. The Hofstra Arboretum is home to a Model Bird Sanctuary and Environmental Studies Center. The entire campus is a bird sanctuary, but this designated two-acre sanctuary has served as an educational prototype for the State of New York. Hofstra is truly one of a kind as far as beauty. In every season there’s something for every onlooker. For students it’s easy, but visitors would do well to mark one of the three festivals held on campus celebrating the food, traditions, and arts of Dutch, Irish, and Italian culture.
39. Illinois State University
Illinois State Normal School, created by the Board of Education and legally drawn up by Abraham Lincoln in 1957 was to train teachers. Today, Illinois State University offers 21,000 students from 47 states and 67 countries a quality education. The University still focuses on teaching and is recognized as one of the top ten largest producers of teachers in America according to the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. In 2015 the School conferred 5061 degrees, and its graduation rate is high coming in at 74 percent. Another important number is the freshmen retention rate which was 81.5 percent. The most popular majors at the School besides education are Business, Management, Marketing, and Social Sciences. The ISU campus is located in the twin-city community of Bloomington-Normal near the geographic center of the state, 137 miles southwest of Chicago and 164 miles northeast of St. Louis.
The Quad at Illinois State University is the central hub of the campus. The Quad is surrounded by handsome buildings, shady trees, and hosts many events for students. The most famous building is John W. Cook Hall, or Cook Hall, building in the Gothic Revival style resembling a castle and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most significantly for fall beauty, however, is the marvelous Fell Arboretum. The Tree Campus USA award winner of 2008, the Arboretum is a 490-acre site that represents over 154 species of trees from the state of Illinois. Trees on the north side of the quad are from Northern Illinois and those on the south side of the quad from southern parts of the state, with a total of approximately 4,000 trees. In the autumn, warm colors, pumpkin spice lattes, and relaxing afternoon on a bench in the Quad are rarely matched.
38. Mississippi State University
A land, sea, and space-grant public university, Mississippi State is strong in research and many areas besides. Located in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi the School offers the state’s only petroleum engineering degree program and is one of only a few schools to earn both research and community engagement rankings from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. MSU’s research expenditures total over $200 million showing its dedication to innovation. Enrolling over 20,000 students on multiple campuses, MSU has something for everyone. It is not simply a place for research in lab coats, MSU students get out and serve the community. “MSU’s Maroon Volunteer Center annually connects nearly 5,000 students, faculty and staff volunteers to 60 community and campus partners, performing more than 14,700 community-service hours each year.” All in all, Mississippi State offers an abundance of degrees, a gorgeous campus, thriving student life, and life-changing opportunities.
MSU’s total campus contains 160 buildings, comprise about 4,200 acres, including farms, pastures, and woodlands, not to mention the additional 80,000 acres across the state. The main campus is built around the Drill Field, which harkens back to the founding of the school in 1878. This huge open green space is a quadrangle surrounded by many historic buildings. Beaux Arts, Pseudo-Gothic, Colonial, and Italianate styles are all present; the most picturesque is Lee Hall, built in1909. MSU’s campus is beautiful in the fall, and their love of trees is unmatched. The eye-popping yellows, golds, and reds are both abundant and outstanding. Species include the Ginkgo biloba, the Autumn Blaze red maple, Native hickories and many more. With a 760-acre arboretum, MSU has alluring autumn appeal. It is listed as a Tree Campus USA and deservedly so. The Campus Tree Trail showcases their arbor love with more than 10,000 tree species and varieties.
37. University of Richmond
“The mission of the University of Richmond is to sustain a collaborative learning and research community that supports the personal development of its members and the creation of new knowledge.” Located in beautiful Richmond, Virginia, the University has five schools offering undergraduate, master’s, and law degrees: School of Arts and Sciences, Robins School of Business, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond School of Law, School of Professional and Continuing Studies. A private and highly selective liberal arts school of 4400 students, UR has an 8:1 student to faculty ratio which maximizes learning. In 2011 Bloomberg Businessweek’s specialty rankings ranked the school #1 for international business and it was also selected by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its classification recognizing colleges and universities “that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.” Whether its studying abroad or researching at home, UR offers one of the best college experiences in the nation.
In 2000, The Princeton Review named The University of Richmond’s 350-acre grounds the most beautiful in the country. This ranking is easy to agree with as the campus has expansive green spaces, lots of trees, a lake, and splendid architecture. Ralph Adams Cram, a noted architect who also designed buildings for Princeton, Cornell, Rice, and Williams is responsible for the overall architectural style of Collegiate Gothic. Boatwright Memorial Library (among many great buildings) with a soaring Gothic tower, overlooks Westhampton Lake to one side and an immaculately carved and cultivated green space on the other. Warren H. Manning, a former apprentice to Frederick Law Olmsted, designed the original landscape plan. As for natural beauty, the many pine trees, mixed with deciduous give a great panoply of colors for the autumn lover. There are a number of large trees, mostly oaks, on campus among the other 172 varieties. UR earns a top spot on the most autumnally beautiful campuses in America.
36. University of Oregon
“Nestled in the lush Willamette Valley, with an easy drive to both the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, the University of Oregon is renowned for its research prowess and commitment to teaching.” A public flagship research university, U of O has nine schools, grants 316 degrees, and has 21 research centers and institutes for its 25,000 students. Founded in 1876, the University of Oregon has grown to become one of the best schools in the country. A member of the Association of American Universities and recognized with a Carnegie Classification demonstrates their commitment to research and knowledge. The School attracted $117 million in research awards last year and $1 billion in campaign gifts. U of O gives back to Oregon and the country with $2.3 billion worth in economic returns. With great hopes for the future, U of O’s capital campaign is growing well and hopes to be part of securing U of O as a leading university in America.
Located in the lush Northwest, the campus of the University is spread over 295 acres and has 80 buildings. In the autumn, fall colors are awakened in the 3,000 trees and 530 varieties. U of O is perfectly located for just about every outdoor adventure and hobby there is. Eugene is situated near many prominent geographic features such as the Willamette River, Mackenzie River, Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. According to National Geographic’s “Green Guide,” Eugene is the number one green city in the U.S. for air quality, recycling, transportation, and green space. Being located where it is, U of O visitors and students ought to try the Fall Street Faire, which is a bi-annual, three-day outdoor festival/farmer’s market. For the more adventurous, a hiking or nature trip to one of the seven waterfall wonders of the area is ideal for the autumn time.
35. Marquette University
Little did Father Jacques Marquette, the famous 17th century French Jesuit missionary and explorer, know that one day a major private university with 12,000 students, 11 different schools, over 80 majors, and an endowment of $550 million would come into existence. Marquette University is a member of the 28 schools in the Associate of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Since its founding in 1881, the School has expanded their influence to include students from over 65 countries and all 50 states. Known for quality research, great sports programs, an active student life, and outstanding travel programs, Marquette is a top university. The mission of Marquette goes back to the Jesuits, a Catholic religious order founded in 1540. The University’s mission is “the search for truth, the discovery and sharing of knowledge, the fostering of personal and professional excellence, the promotion of a life of faith, and the development of leadership expressed in service to others.”
The setting of the 93-acre campus is ideal for fall beauty, especially considering the surrounding areas. Lake Michigan is about one mile away and provides a tranquil and inspiring view anytime of the year. The thing about being located in Michigan is the sheer amount of trees. As for the campus, there are many trees, and many more coming. The Wisconsin Native Tree Collection at Marquette University features more than 40 varieties trees and shrubs throughout campus native to southeastern Wisconsin and shows a dedication to sustainability. A special role in campus beauty is Marquette’s buildings. With the only medieval chapel the Western Hemisphere, the St. Joan of Arc chapel, the reflective and relaxing autumn atmosphere can’t be beat. Marquette Hall, constructed in 1924, is a four-story building that contains three lecture halls with 300 seats each, a string tower and 48 bells. Lastly, the Joh P. Raynor Library with 1.8 million volumes contains some of J.R.R. Tolkien original manuscripts.
34. Vanderbilt University
With a rich history and story, Vanderbilt lives as one of the best universities in the U.S. In hopes that the University would help heal the wounds of the Civil War, Cornelius Vanderbilt gave the initial $1 million to begin. Since then it has played its part in this hope. It was an important place in the Civil Rights Movement and was the first university to allow an African-American athlete into the Southeastern conference. Since 1873, Vanderbilt University has been contributing to the fabric of American culture. “Alumni can be found in Congress, on the judicial bench, in the pulpit, leading corporations, conducting innovative medical research, writing for and appearing on the stage and screen, and playing in the NFL, major league baseball, the PGA and LPGA.” Enrolling 12,000 students from all 50 U.S. states and over 90 foreign countries in 10 schools, the School has myriads of options. Research is big at Vanderbilt. Several research centers and institutes are affiliated with the university, including the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies, Dyer Observatory, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Vanderbilt’s campus has it all: marvelous buildings, greenery, trees, and natural beauty. Located a mile and a half southwest of downtown Nashville, which is great for experiencing four distinct seasons, Vanderbilt is a great place for autumn reveling. Replete with golds, yellows, and orange leaves mixed with red-bricked buildings and the white pillars of the Wyatt Center or Kirkland Hall it’s autumnally awesome. Take a stroll through the 330-acres of more than 300 tree and shrub varieties or soak in the autumn sun in the National Historic Landmark Peabody section of the campus. Of the 392 buildings there are many worth visiting or just taking some fall time photos. Whatever the case, all is well with souls at Vandy. The famous Bicentennial Oak dated before the American Revolution still stands and is worth a look. Lastly, the campus itself was designated an arboretum in 1988 lending more credence to VU’s dedication to trees and natural beauty.
33. Iowa State University
One of the first land-grant universities, Iowa State University has been contributing to the fabric of our nation since 1858. Now serving 37,000 total students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries, with over 100 majors and 800-plus student organizations to choose from, ISU is top-notch. Academically, the School offers 100 bachelor’s degree programs, 112 master’s degree programs and 83 at the Ph.D. level. Consider only three of the following contributions to the world by ISU: The world’s first electronic digital computer and the encoding process essential to nearly all FAX machines, the world’s highest resolution immersive virtual reality lab, the largest concentration of faculty involved in sustainable agriculture teaching and research, and lastly, Cystorm, a super computer that performs more than 28 trillion calculations per second. With these it’s clear why ISU is a leader in research and innovation.
If one only thinks of Iowa s farmland, beautiful in its own way, one of the best campuses would be missed. Iowa State’s 1,900-acre campus contains over 160 buildings several listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When one understands that the American Society of Landscape Architects honored ISU’s central lawn as a “medallion site” along with only two others, – Harvard and University of Virginia, one sees the diamond in the rough. The 20-acre central lawn is surrounded by the Campanile, Beardshear Hall, and Curiss Hall, according to the ASLA show the “grandness of its space” and “represents places of heart and soul”. With roughly 13,000 trees on campus visitors enjoy some of the best autumn beauty in the country. ISU is a Tree Campus USA. The University also has a 415-acre arboretum and the Reiman Gardens. As for buildings, the Campanile stands 110 feet tall on a 16 by 16 foot base and is the iconic image of ISU.
32. Colorado State University
Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, Colorado State University is now a large public research university enrolling about 33,000 students. Originally a land grant university, the School has grown tremendously and is a leader in many fields. CSU has eight colleges and 55 academic departments offering 65 Bachelor’s degrees, 55 Master’s, and 40 doctoral degrees. Eighty-four percent of graduates secured employment or continuing education within six months of graduation and three out of four are employed in their field of study. Buttressed by the academic values of curiosity, passion, rigor, and innovation, CSU boasts that only four percent of their budget goes to administration and the “rest goes to instruction, academic support, and scholarships.” In light of current economic challenges this is noteworthy. In addition, the School records that need-based aid is up 51 percent. It is clear that CSU is one of the premier research institutions and routinely ranks in the top of all American Universities in research expenditures.
It’s a treat to experience autumn beauty at Colorado State University. Located in Fort Collins, a town that has been consistently viewed as a great place to live, with breathtaking views of the powerful Rocky Mountains, over 1100 varieties of trees, and gorgeous green spaces, Colorado State is ideal for those who love natural beauty. Recognized as a Tree Campus USA, CSU shows a commitment to the environment, tree health, and education. The campus is huge: the main campus is about 600 acres, but CSU also has the 1500-acre Foothills Campus, the 1100-acre Pingree Park mountain campus, and multiple research centers outside Larimer County. Take a ride on over 315 miles of bike trails in Fort Collins or a leisurely stroll alongside the 65 American Elms lining the 2000-foot green space called the Oval. If Mother Nature calls, explore and meander the CSU arboretum. Click here to see the arboretum through the seasons.
31. Vassar College
When 353 women paying $350 dollars for school and residence walked into their first classes in 1861, little did they know they were the beginning of a notable legacy. One of the Seven Sisters, Vassar College today is a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college. The School prides itself in intellectual rigor and offers “boldness, breadth, and flexibility” in their curriculum. Still relying on original source material, the liberal arts tradition is alive and well. This is aided by the 290 faculty members who teach all classes, 70 percent of whom live on campus, with a student-faculty ratio of 8:1 and an average class size of 17. The nearly 2,500 students hail from over 55 countries can choose from 50 majors. The College has great extra-curricular, student organizations, study abroad programs, and centers for research and inquiry. The campus, designated an arboretum, has been ranked for its beauty and historic importance many times over. Vassar is also home to one of the largest undergraduate library collections in the U.S.
Rising to heaven with buttressed walls, the tower of Thompson Library is crowned with battlements and pinnacles of the Perpendicular Gothic. The most iconic of over 100 buildings, the Library has rare books, tapestries, and beautiful stained glass. Far from being the only stunning building, Vassar is also home to two National Historic Landmarks: The Main Building and the Vassar Observatory. The real treat is the grounds on which these masterpieces live. Originally an open treeless plain (site of the Duchess Country Racetrack), the campus is now a 1000-acre arboretum and recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA. Ornamented with elms, maples, beeches, Russian olive trees, cucumber trees, magnolias, weeping willows, hemlocks and more, the campus in the fall is the photographer’s paradise. The Class Tree tradition is certainly worth noting. Every year since 1868, graduating classes plant or adopt a tree, of which the campus now has over 230 varieties.
30. Belmont University
Belmont is the largest Christian university in Tennessee and the second largest in the state behind Vanderbilt University. With 7,700 students from 25 countries, 90 areas of undergraduate study, seven colleges with 19 master’s and five doctoral programs the school is competitive academically. Notably, Belmont is home to the only Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International accredited Music Business program in the world. It’s no surprise as it’s located in Music City USA. The School also operates a couple recording studios used by such artists as Dave Matthews and Elvis Presley. Especially focused on teacher training, the University’s vision is “To be a leader among teaching universities, bringing together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service.” In sum, Belmont University is one of the best Christian universities in America.
The lovely 75-acre Belmont Campus is designated as an arboretum. Established in 1890 the School has some great architecture highlighting the natural beauty. Recently recognized as a Tree Campus USA, Belmont is home to glorious sites in the fall, especially considering the surrounding mountains, trails, and parks. The campus trees are luscious red and orange in the autumn and, should one visit, the gazebos and paths around aid in the overall experience. Belmont Mansion earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and continues to awe visitors with Greek Revival and Italianate elements. Most striking initially in the two columns in front as the classic Antebellum Era architecture so prominently displays. In its current role as a museum, Belmont Mansion remains a showpiece on campus. Also built in 1853, Belmont’s 105-foot Tower and Carillon is another historic highlight. These and others are great reasons why Belmont ranks high as one of the most autumnally beautiful campuses in America.
29. Washington University-St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis was founded in 1853 and is a private research university. It ranks high in many categories and currently boasts 25 Nobel Laureats. The University is made up of seven schools and offers a wide variety of degrees and programs. Being located in St. Louis is vital to understand the lure of beauty and quality education at Washington University. St. Louis is a dynamic place to visit and live – and a superb place to locate a school. With professional football, hockey, and baseball as well as great historical sites, the 1,400-acre Forest Park, it’s no surprise students, faculty, and alumni love “WashU.” The 15,000 enrolled students come from over 80 countries and all 50 states. WashU is known for research with over $613 million and over 3000 projects in 2015. Their focus is on innovation in medical, environmental, energy, entrepreneurial, and plant-science research.
Perhaps the fact that Washington University has been selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates to host more debates than any other institution in history, as well as much of the 1904 Olympic Games, is due to the beauty of the campus. Situated in historic St. Louis, the 169-acre campus was designed like Oxford and Cambridge. It has over 11 million square feet of buildings and is simply an architectural wonder. In the fall, turning leaves are accentuated by Collegiate Gothic architecture, like the Benjamin Brown Graham Chapel. It is a gorgeous red granite building which features a stunning stained-glass window. Most iconic of all, though, is Brookings Hall. Completed in 1902 and sitting in pastoral green spaces surrounded by well-kept and old trees simply shines. Bald Cypress, Valley Forge Elm, Gingko, Swamp White Oak and Tulip Poplar are among 76 varieties of the 3,800 trees on campus. The Arbor Day Foundation has named WashU a Tree Campus USA.
28. Brigham Young University
“Enter to learn, go forth to serve.” Brigham Young University is a private research college operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located in Provo, Utah. The School was founded by the famous Mormon leader Brigham Young after he purchased the original land of a small academy in 1875. Since then, the School has impressively expanded. Enrollment at BYU is the largest of any religious school and is nearing 37,000. Students are 99 percent Mormon and come from over 100 countries and all 50 states, though most do come from Utah. BYU offers 178 undergraduate majors, 68 master’s programs and 26 doctorate programs, with business management, accounting, and psychology among the most popular. “Provo offers a rising downtown, extensive outdoor recreation, a vibrant music scene and more…It’s where people meet, collaborate and make big decisions that create a start. Businesses, relationships, careers, and families all start here.”
Called “the Disneyland of American colleges and universities” by the Desert News in Salt Lake City, BYU’s campus is lovely. Imagining an oil canvas, the background would be filled with panoramic views of the Wasatch Mountains. Another layer would be more than 15,000 trees, which, in the fall provide the palette with golds, yellow, red, orange and brown. The foreground shows carefully cultivated green spaces rounding out the natural beauty few colleges can beat. In addition to this is some astounding architecture and buildings. Dedicated in 1975, the Carillon Bell Tower rises 90 feet for a stunning vertical accent to the splendid horizontal sunsets and mountain views. BYU’s campus has been expanded to around 560 acres and 295 buildings. Among those are some outstanding museums, performing arts centers, and one of the biggest arenas of American colleges, the Mariott Center, seating up to 22,000 students.
27. Harvard University
Known as one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Harvard University was founded in 1636, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. A private research university, Harvard is home to the Harvard Library, which is the world’s largest academic and private library system, comprising 79 individual libraries with over 18 million volumes. The University also operates several arts, cultural, and scientific museums. Not only are these facilities impressive, Harvard’s alumni is worth boasting about: eight U. S. presidents, 62 living billionaires, 335 Rhodes Scholars, 242 Marshall Scholars, and several foreign heads of state. Harvard offers 46 undergraduate majors, 134 graduate degrees, and 32 professional degrees. As for academic rigor and accolades Harvard is in a league of its own.
Academic prestige aside, if possible, and Harvard University is simply a gorgeous place to visit. Being the oldest institution of higher learning, the 200-acre campus is architecturally adorned and immaculately landscaped. This combination creates a campus that ranks as one of the most beautiful in many categories. The High Victorian Gothic Memorial Hall is a National Historic Landmark. Harvard Yard, the oldest part of the University, features the quad-shaped green space surrounded by bricked buildings such as the library and residence halls. As far as trees and plants to admire and adorn the campus, Harvard has 15,000 plants and 4,000 taxa in their 281-acre Arnold Arboretum. The Yard, originally planted with hundreds of American Elms, some of which remain, is tremendous place for tree lovers with oaks, maples, redwoods, and other varieties. If blessed with the chance to visit, take a leisurely stroll around campus, pop into Memorial Church, or just sit and relax in the Yard.
26. Connecticut College
Expectations for high achievement are built in at Connecticut College. Founded in 1911, “The College expects students to learn both inside and outside the classroom, through activities such as research, travel, and internships.” As for in the classroom, the 1,900 students can choose from 56 majors, minors, and certificate programs taught by outstanding faculty. The 10 most common majors over the last five years have been English, Economics, Psychology, Government, History, Biological Sciences, International Relations, Anthropology, Human Development, and Art. Outside the classroom, Conn has a 750-acre arboretum campus located in the historic New England seaport community of New London. This great resource feeds research at Conn. Connecticut College has been recognized as a top producer of Fulbright awardees, producing in 2012, nine Fulbright Grant recipients. To highlight noble expectations, students live under the college’s 85-year-old student-adjudicated Honor Code rather than the Greek system.
Psalm 1:3 says, “Like a tree planted by rivers of water,” indeed a fitting motto for the campus at Conn. Fine architecture adorns the campus. Harkness Chapel is a excellent example of noted architect James Gamble Rogers colonial Georgian style, with twelve stained glass windows. Also to note is the Lyman Allyn Art which is a Neo-Classical building designed by Charles A. Platt. The real fall treat is the incredible natural beauty found in the 770-acre arboretum. Utilized in at least 30 different college courses, it is integral to create a “living laboratory” for students. With 120 acres of trees and 30 acres of native plants, and three acres of diverse wooded plants in a garden setting autumn visitors will be blown away by color and beauty. The Arboretum “provides an outstanding model of an ethically and environmentally sound community.” All in all, Conn’s Campus is among the top.
25. University of Michigan
Founded in 1817, and originally located in Detroit, the institution’s home moved to Ann Arbor in 1837. Since those days, the University has grown to include 19 schools and colleges with a total enrollment of approximately 44,000 and 3,100 faculty. U-M offers just about every degree possible with over 200 undergraduate majors, 100 doctoral and 90 master’s programs with health sciences as the most popular. Considered a “Public Ivy” U-M puts research at the top of the priority list. According to the latest national data, the University of Michigan spends more on research – $1.29 billion in 2015 – than any other U.S. public university. Not only is U-M conducting cutting edge research and discovering cures, this is the 14th consecutive year that U-M has earned a spot on the Peace Corps’ annual list. Since the agency was created 53 years ago, 2,556 Michigan alums have served overseas, making U-M the No. 4 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.
Being a Tree Camus USA member, having a 300-acre arboretum, and botanical gardens make the University Michigan an outstanding choice for fall beauty. Located in Ann Arbor, the “town of trees” says a lot about the autumn time in Michigan. The Ann Arbor campus is divided into four main areas all connected by bus: the North, Central, Medical and South campuses that total about 700 acres. Notably, there are 16,000 trees across campus and come September and October, the yellow, orange, and red of the fall combine with cool breezes for a peaceful setting. The Matthaei Botanical Gardens or Nichols Arboretum provide ideal locations for enjoying a salted caramel latte and good book in the great outdoors. The campus also features the Huron River, tranquilly traveling through campus with the fallen autumn leaves voyaging to the sea. For those who enjoy the gentlemen’s game, U-M has two golf courses as well.
24. Georgetown University
In 1789 Georgetown University opened classrooms to students. It is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher education in the United States. Located in Washington’s historic Georgetown neighborhood, the university’s main campus is noted for Healy Hall, a National Historic Landmark. Georgetown’s law school is located on Capitol Hill, and the university has auxiliary campuses in Italy, Turkey and Qatar. Drawing upon the 450-year-old legacy of Jesuit education, Georgetown seeks to “educate the whole person through exposure to different faiths, cultures and beliefs. Students are challenged to engage in the world and become men and women in the service of others, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community.” Georgetown has nine undergraduate and graduate schools, enrolls approximately 17,000 students from 130 foreign countries. Known for its law school and premier research, the school spent $176.1 million in research and development last year.
The Nation’s capital is a special place. Georgetown offers the best of a fascinating city and the beauty of an old east coast campus. In the fall the University looks perfect. Perched on a hilltop above the Potomac River, the 104-acre campus displays a river view to die for with many varieties of trees. Every existing color of fall appears on campus. Healy and Copley Lawn, the two biggest green spaces provide a nice complement to autumn leaves and historic buildings like Healy Hall. While working on the Library of Congress in 1877-79, prominent architects Paul J. Pelz and John L. Smithmeyer had Healy Hall constructed in the Neo-Medieval style, a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. Interestingly, ‘The Tree,’ a maple at the south entrance to Copley Hall, was a traditional gathering place for students. A seat underneath it and the surrounding area were dedicated in 1945 by the parents of Richard F. Hoffman, who was killed in action during World War II, in the memory of their son and all WWII heroes.
23. St. Olaf College
“Fram! Fram! Kristmenn, Krossmenn! Forward! Forward! Men of Christ, Men of the Cross!” This motto typifies the spirit of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Founded by Norwegian farmers and a pastor, the School is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Named after the King and Patron Saint of Norway, the mission is “grounded in academic rigor, residential learning, global engagement, and a vibrant Lutheran faith tradition.” Majors are offered to 3,000 students in 39 different disciplines and subject areas in the natural and mathematical sciences, fine arts, social sciences, and humanities. Also worth noting is that more than two-thirds of all students study abroad before graduating. According to the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates, St. Olaf ranks 12th overall among the nation’s 263 baccalaureate colleges in the number of graduates who go on to earn doctoral degrees. The high percentage of prestigious awards for a small school is a testament to success, with 5 Rhodes Scholars and 107 Fulbright Scholars.
Graced with white oaks, silver maples, elms, and evergreens, St. Olaf’s campus is dazzling .Known as “The Hill,” the 300-acre campus is home to 56 buildings with two listed on the National Historic Register. Adjacent to campus are 325 acres of restored wetlands, woodlands, and native tallgrass prairie owned and maintained by St. Olaf. This area also has a utility-grade wind turbine that supplies one third of the college’s daily electrical needs. In the fall, the colors pop out everywhere. From the classic quads and plazas, to the foreground of the Gothic Old Main – designed by Charles F. Haglin and F.B. Long in 1877, St. Olaf has it all. Old Main and Steensland Library are listed as historic buildings. Another notable feature of the grounds is the 15-acre Norway Valley that has huge trees and spectacular views. The autumn is certainly the best time to catch colors galore and great outdoor beauty.
22. Lewis and Clark College
Chartered in 1867 as the Albany Collegiate Institute by Presbyterian pioneers in the Willamette Valley, Lewis and Clark College has grown and expanded to become a respected institution of higher learning in the region and nation. In 1942 the school became Lewis and Clark College after acquiring Lloyd Frank’s (of famed and historic Portland department store Meier and Frank) “Fir Acres” estate. Today, Lewis and Clark is a private institution “with a public conscience [and] global reach.” The School has an undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences, a School of Law, and a Graduate School of Education and Counseling with a total enrollment of about 3,500 students. Being located in Portland, Oregon, the school is known for multiculturalism, diversity, forward-thinking, innovation, civic engagement and environmental sustainability. Their motto is Explorare, Discere, Sociare, which means “to explore, to learn, to work together.”
This small liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon lives up to the Northwest’s reputation for beauty. Lewis and Clark features a Tudor-style manor house with its own constructed waterfall and reflection pool on the rear terrace. Nestled in a little over 130 acres of Northwest trees, it’s easy to see why this school competes with larger schools for aesthetic appeal. The wooded campus sits atop Palatine Hill and is contiguous with the 645-acre Tryon Creek State Natural Area where one can enjoy hiking, biking (the campus is part of the 40 Mile Loop, a biking trail in Portland), and horse-riding. The Frank Manor House, a gorgeous 35-room Tudor-style mansion is also worth noting. Rogers Hall, originally a convent of The Sisters of St. Francis and the new Holmes Hall add beauty, sustainability, and a commitment to the environment as well. The campus is currently 100 percent wind-powered.
21. Emory University
Emory University is a top-ranked private institution recognized internationally for its outstanding liberal arts colleges, graduate and professional schools, and one of the world’s leading health care systems. It is located on a beautiful campus in Atlanta, Georgia’s historic Druid Hills neighborhood. The University has 11 schools and colleges, 14,000 total students from all 50 states and over 100 foreign countries. Being a private research university, the School has formed partnerships with the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Peking University in Beijing to jointly administer the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. The University also operates the Confucius Institute in Atlanta in partnership with Nanjing University and has a growing faculty research partnership with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Research awards totaled $575 million with the total school budget at $4.8 billion. Besides great research, Emory Health is the largest healthcare system in Georgia. To sum up, Emory is a leader whose motto is reality: “The wise heart seeks knowledge.”
Georgia is warm in many ways. The colors of the fall at Emory truly warm the soul. The 600-acre heavily forested campus is populated with pine, maples, oak, and magnolias bring every autumn color in the rainbow. Peavine Creek, a branch of the Peachtree Creek, runs through the campus carrying fallen leaves peacefully to the sea. Located in the lovely Druid Hills, Emory takes sustainability seriously with every tree removed guaranteeing one to be planted in its place; it is also a Tree Campus USA. Even more natural beauty can be found at the Lullwater Preserve with walking trails, woods and Candler Lake. As for buildings and architecture, Emory is among the very best. Many of the buildings are designed with multi-hued granite and Spanish Saltillo tile. To mention only one building among many, the Lulwater House is worth seeing. Constructed in 1926 it is a Tudor and Gothic Revival mansion conceived by Atlanta-based architects Ivey and Crook.
20. Middlebury College
Like many of the great American universities, Middlebury had a humble beginning. A group of Congregationalists thought to start a school to train ministers. These first students were expected “to read, translate, and parse Tully, Virgil, and the Greek Testament, and to write true Latin in prose, and shall have also learned the rules of Vulgar Arithmetic.” With about 2,500 undergraduates the school offers 850 courses in 44 majors at a 9:1 student to faculty ratio. This small class environment maximizes learning. The School is renowned for leadership in language instruction and international studies. In addition to undergraduate studies, Middlebury offers graduate and summer programs: Summer Language Schools, Bread Loaf School of English, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). Middlebury is also nationally known for programs in environmental studies. This College is serious about high achievement with The Carnegie Foundation classifying it as one of the “most selective” institutions with a 16 percent acceptance rate.
Middlebury is perfectly located for famous fall foliage. Located in the Champlain Valley of central Vermont, with Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east and New York’s Adirondacks to the west, the main campus is 350 acres. The College also owns the Bread Loaf Mountain Campus which is about 20 minutes away and situated in 30,000 acres of forest. The main campus is immaculate. Multiple carefully cultivated green spaces and over 2,200 trees are eye-popping with red, yellows, gold, brown and orange, what one would expect on Vermont postcards. Recognized as a Tree Campus USA, Middlebury is proud to be home to a 250 year old bur oak. Being located in a rural setting provides outstanding views of the Green and Adirondacks Mountains, coupled with views and trees are historic granite, marble, and limestone buildings. Most famous is Old Stone Row. This area has the three oldest buildings on campus, Old Chapel, Painter Hall, and Starr Hall, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
19. Dartmouth College
Dartmouth was established in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock making it one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. “Dartmouth has forged a singular identity for combining its deep commitment to outstanding undergraduate liberal arts and graduate education with distinguished research and scholarship in the Arts & Sciences.” The University has three professional schools: the Geisel School of Medicine, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business. Dartmouth has over 40 departments and programs and 57 majors for the 6,200 students enrolled. The School received $213 million for research in 2014 and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a “research university with very high research activity.” Coming as no surprise, the accolades for alumni are impressive: 62 Rhodes Scholars, 13 Pulitzer Prize winners, and three Nobel Prize Laureates to name a few. With this kind of fruit it’s undeniable that the Dartmouth educational tree is thriving.
Dartmouth’s picturesque 269-acre campus on the banks of the Connecticut River was evident to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Upon a visit in 1953, he remarked, “This is what a college should look like.” Magnificent architecture, open green spaces, walking trails, beautiful trees, immaculate landscaping, historic places, amazing views – it’s all part of Dartmouth. In addition to the 269-acre main campus, Dartmouth is the largest private landowner in Hanover and owns 4,500 acres in the White Mountains as well as 27,000 acres in northern New Hampshire. As for autumn, a great way to enjoy it is to walk the Upper Valley along the Connecticut River. If not up for a hike, the main campus offers excellent natural beauty and historic buildings like Wentworth and Thornton Halls. For tree lovers, the golden gingko tree, yellow Kentucky coffeetree, the Japanese zelkova, and the classic American elm all adorn the campus. Do not take it from Ike, see it first hand to believe it.
18. University of Notre Dame
The Catholic Church has an incredible record in the history of education. Perhaps the best known Catholic institution of higher learning is the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. By the numbers, the School shows off their global prominence with a $10 billion endowment. There are 12,000 students, 67 undergraduate majors in four schools, many research centers, institutes, and academic centers, as well as over 270 student organizations. ND boasts an impressive 98 percent retention rate among students and 95 percent graduation rate. Founded by French missionaries in 1842, and governed by The Congregation of Holy Cross priests until 1967, Notre Dame has earned a reputation for teaching, research, and of course, football. As for research, Notre Dame is at the forefront. For example, the aerodynamics of glider flight, the transmission of wireless messages, and the formulae for synthetic rubber were pioneered at the University. Today researchers are achieving breakthroughs in astrophysics, radiation chemistry, environmental sciences, tropical disease transmission, peace studies, cancer, robotics, and nanoelectronics.
Notre Dame has an iconic campus.
Spread out across 1,200 acres, connected by winding walking trails and walls of gorgeous sweetgums, yellow cucumber trees, and maples make this one of the most autumnally awesome campuses in the nation. The “God Quad” is commendable to visit and relax in the fall and views of peaceful St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s lake add to the autumn ambiance. Besides natural tranquility, and for many the meaning of fall, visitors can enjoy the ever-exciting Fighting Irish on the football green. Lastly, the history and art buff love ND’s architecture and grounds. Most known is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, a gorgeous Neo-Gothic building with 44 incredible stain glass windows and the tallest tower of college chapels at 218 feet; and the Golden Dome on the Main Building (inspiration for ND’s football helmets), a breathtaking 187-foot tall gilded dome, topped with a 19-foot tall, 4,000-pound statue of the Virgin Mary.
17. Kenyon College
Kenyon College is the oldest private school in Ohio. It was founded in 1824 by Philander Chase and is affiliated with the Episcopal Church in Gambier, Ohio. Like other Episcopal institutions, the English Medieval heritage is on display with a gorgeous hilltop Gothic campus. Academically challenging, the School is based on a traditional liberal arts model. Kenyon requires students to take classes in each of four academic divisions: Fine Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. Students must be competent in a foreign language and undertake a comprehensive senior exercise to graduate. Kenyon is small but focused with 1,600 students, 200 faculty, 33 majors, and 150 study abroad programs. Attending Kenyon means being in classes with a 10:1 student to faculty ratio and are always taught by one of the distinguished teachers.
The claim to fame of Kenyon is certainly the unparalleled beauty of their campus. Situated in rural Gambier, Ohio on 1,000 acres, the campus displays natural attraction. Due to its ancient and other-worldly Gothic architecture, it has been ranked as one of the most beautiful in America. To experience Kenyon in the fall it so experience Kenyon at its best. Along with fabulous buildings, Kenyon College features the Middle Path, which allows students to move between classes beneath the branches of massive trees such as sycamore, white oaks, beech, and maple trees – all spectacular in the autumn. Even more natural beauty can be had I the 480-acre Brown Family Environmental Center nature preserve with woodland and wetland trails and scene. The Gothic architecture is at the heart of Kenyon’s allure. The Richard L. and Helen Thomas Hall, constructed to perfection with vaulted ceilings and massive windows, Victorian Gothic Ascension Hall with carved wood interiors, and perhaps the oldest Gothic Revival building in the US, Old Kenyan Hall are marvelous to behold.
16. The University of the South
The technical name of the Sewanee is the University of the South; it is a private liberal arts college located in Sewanee, Tennessee. The School has an interesting history as it is owned by 28 southern dioceses of the Episcopal Church. “The University’s is dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in close community and in full freedom of inquiry, and enlightened by Christian faith in the Anglican tradition.” Ranked as a top liberal arts school, Sewanee has produced results. The University has had 26 Rhodes Scholars, 34 NCAA Postgraduate Fellows, 46 Watson Fellows, and dozens of Fulbright Scholars. Those numbers become even more impressive knowing the total enrollment is only 1,700. Sewanee’s excellent education comes in the form of 36 majors, 32 minors, and 15 special programs, along with pre-medicine, pre-nursing, pre-law, and pre-business. More than 40 percent of students participate in study abroad programs. The University’s location is unbelievable as it is located atop the Cumberland Plateau between Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee and is 13,000 acres.
Knowing the setting and location of Sewanee means understanding just how autumnally special it is. The 13,000-acre campus, called “The Domain” sits atop the Cumberland Plateau providing lovely views. The campus has caves, waterfalls, forests, meadows, and green spaces. Natural beauty and outdoor activities are part of visiting or attending the school with caving, hiking, walking, biking, kayaking, and more. As for fall foliage and those warm colors, the trees at Sewanee are many and diverse: maples, oaks, hickories, chestnuts, elms, willows and more. Click here to see a brochure dedicated to their trees. The charm of the South lives at Sewanee. One can’t mention the beauty of Sewanee without the stunning architecture, only accentuated in the autumn. Only to mention one is the All Saints’ Chapel. This Neo-Gothic building boasts a rose window, a tower, and vaulted ceiling based on Oxford, Chartres and Notre Dame de Paris that truly makes it one of the best in the world.
15. Michigan State University
Michigan State University “works to advance the common good in uncommon ways.” This began in when MSU was founded and became the prototype for 69 land-grant institutions established under the Morrill Act of 1862. Since then the School has become one of the biggest and best universities in America. With about 50,000 students from all 50 states and more than 138 countries, the school is large and diverse. MSU offers more than 200 programs of undergraduate, graduate, and professional study in 17 degree-granting colleges, not to mention more than 260 study abroad programs in more than 60 countries. Research is huge at MSU. A member of the Association of American Universities, an organization of 62 leading research universities in North America, MSU boasts the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, the Abrams Planetarium to name a few. MSU also has the country’s largest residence hall system designed in the “Oxbridge” manner.
Remarkable research and amazing academic options and accolades aside, MSU’s campus competes with the very best. Located in East Lansing, three miles east of Michigan’s capitol in Lansing, the 5,200-acre campus has 545 buildings, but in addition to this, approximately 19,600 acres throughout Michigan are used for agricultural and natural resources research and education. The school is known for pioneering work in agriculture. The campus has the oldest botanical garden and arboretum, the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden. The Garden is 5-acres with over 2000 species of plant life. The campus has an amazing total of 21,000 trees making it ideal in September and October for autumn lovers. Add the peaceful Red Cedar River flowing through campus and visitors are in an autumn wonderland. In the autumn, students and visitors can take a walk on winding paths on the old campus. Sights include Collegiate Gothic architecture like the 104-foot Beaumont Tower with 49 bells and the fall colors of sugar maples, white oaks, and ash trees.
14. University of Virginia
Ranked as a top tiered university in many areas, University of Virginia is impressive. It is a public-private flagship and research university in Charlottesville, Virginia. Interestingly, UNESCO designated the University as America’s first and only collegiate World Heritage Site in 1987, an honor shared with nearby Monticello. “Virginia,” as it the School is called, was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 and continues the founder’s mission to “develop tomorrow’s leaders who are well prepared to help shape the future of the nation and the world.” The University lives this out by offering 121 majors in 11 schools with $310 million for research to over 22,000 students from every state and 147 countries. Known for excellence in this area, the University of Virginia Health System is a “renowned academic medical center committed to providing outstanding patient care, educating tomorrow’s health care leaders and discovering new and better ways to treat diseases.”
The campus at UV is consistent with their academics. Located in one of the most beautiful areas of the country, we have ranked it as the #1 most beautiful campus in America. That ranking is due to the unique genius of Jefferson. His plan was to design an environment to maximize learning and the exchange of knowledge. At the head of the Lawn stands the world-renowned Rotunda, modeled after the Roman Pantheon, and at the foot, a spectacular view of the mountains. Flanking both sides of the Rotunda and extending down the length of the Lawn are ten Pavilions, each with its own classical architectural style, as well as its own walled garden separated by Jeffersonian Serpentine walls. The Academical Village was finished in 1826 and in 1976 the American Institute of Architects named it “the proudest achievement of American architecture in the past 200 years.” Having singularly genius architecture is only accentuated in the autumn with 8,000 trees and shrubs and the 172-acre arboretum. To experience UV’s campus anytime is a non-negotiable, but to plan an autumn visit would rival any location’s beauty.
13. Princeton University
The motto at the fourth oldest university in the United States is “Under God’s Power She Flourishes.” Princeton’s Ivy League reputation for all around greatness is deserved. Founded in 1746 and now serving 8,000 students with a 5:1 student to faculty ratio, the School knows how to educate. Princeton has the largest endowment per student in the United States. Research is integral with over 1,100 participating faculty members in 36 academic departments, and 75 institutes and centers, as well as a strong commitment to undergraduates. With 10 libraries and over 16 million holdings, students have incredible opportunities to gain knowledge in any subject known to man. The fruit of Princeton’s excellent tradition is obvious with 41 Nobel laureates, 21 National Medal of Science winners, 209 Rhodes Scholars, two U.S. Presidents, 12 Supreme Court Justices, and many prominent leaders across our nation.
Since its humble origins in 1746, Princeton’s campus has developed brilliantly – “from a barren landscape to the lush, park-like setting it is today.” The 180 buildings are distinguished by colonial, Collegiate Gothic, Italianate, Romanesque and modern styles. Princeton has the 142-acre Herrontown Woods Arboretum that is simply marvelous in the fall. (Tree lovers can click here to peruse pictures of Princeton trees.) All who enter Princeton enjoy the Washington Road Elm Allée. The road is lined by beautiful 60-foot elms and crosses over Lake Carnegie where the iconic Ivy League school dramatically presents itself. The trees lining the road are fantastic in the fall time. In addition to the University’s arbor enthusiasm, historic buildings provide a great background for autumn beauty. Nassau Hall, named after King William III, Prince of Orange and Nassau, was built in 1756 and has survived through the Revolutionary War and two terrible blazes. Alexander Hall (1892) is a 900-seat auditorium where students and visitors enjoy great concerts and more.
12. Duke University
Duke University is a leader in every aspect. Since 1838 and the humble founding by Methodists and Quakers, Duke has been dedicated to knowledge and the pursuit thereof. The University is now one of the top universities in the world in worth, at about $12 billion, annual research spending now over $1 billion, scholars produced, and accolades of various sorts. The University is very involved globally through the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, Duke Kunshan University in China and numerous research and education programs across the globe. Seventy-five percent of Duke’s diverse 15,000 students pursue service-learning opportunities in Durham and around the world through DukeEngage and other programs. The University’s 10 graduate and professional schools are among the leaders in their fields. Duke University Hospital is the flagship of the broader Health System, which also includes two community hospitals and more than 200 ambulatory care clinics. With great academics, sports, research, facilities, global engagement, and a campus to die for, Duke is on another level.
An autumn visit can’t get much better than tons of trees, trails, colors, cobble-stone paths, green spaces, and incredible architecture to boot. Duke is adorned with Gothic, Georgian, and other aesthetically tasteful styles in four main areas, East, West, Central, and the Medical Center, all totaling about 9,000 acres. Collegiate Gothic in style, the Duke Chapel was constructed in the mid- 1930s and is dominated by a 210-foot tower housing a 50-bell carillon, which is played at the end of each workday. The real fall treat though is the gardens and forest. The Sarah P. Duke Gardens is 55 acres of landscaped and woodland gardens in the heart of Duke’s West Campus. Each year more than 300,000 visitors come to enjoy over 8,000 varieties of plant life. The Duke Forest is over 700 acres and contains a variety of trees and is an active area for science research, and in the fall, meandering and reflective students and visitors throughout the dozens of natural heritage sites within. A Tree Campus USA member, Duke has over 15,000 trees featuring is a century-old pastel-colored willow oak and a 300-year-old red-brown ‘grandfather’ white oak.
11. Indiana University-Bloomington
Founded in 1820, Indiana University-Bloomington is the flagship campus of IU’s eight campuses statewide. The website states that “Innovation, creativity, and academic freedom are hallmarks of our world-class contributions in research and the arts.” IU is huge. Over 40,000 students from 50 states and 113 nations come to learn, live, and experience life in a major university. As the largest university in Indiana, academic offerings are diverse and expansive. IU has 16 schools and offers 550 degree programs in just about every field possible. There are over 300 students groups and over 200 centers and institutes. Being one of the 62 members of the Association of American Universities, among a host of other associations, research plays a prominent role as well. “Momentous IU breakthroughs and inventions—like the structure of DNA and the fluoride in our toothpaste—are part of a legacy of transforming how we live through research.”
When looking for a campus to see fall beauty, look no further than Indiana University-Bloomington. The nearly 2,000-acre campus is stunning from the Sample Gates made from Indiana limestone, to the Romanesque structures, to the natural beauty of Dunns Woods. Rich history is part of IU with much of the locally mined limestone taking place through the WPA during the Great Depression. Nine of the oldest buildings are included in a National Historic District known as The Old Crescent and are the Collegiate Gothic style. The Maxwell Hall has a gorgeous tower showcasing the Romanesque architecture that adorns the 1891 building. As for natural beauty, there are many marvelous trees full of fall foliage spread out over their huge campus. Thankfully there are 12 miles of biking and running trails to take it all in. For those who seek to relax with views of green and autumn hues, be sure to stop at one of the fountains, gazeebos, or benches, or perhaps along the Jordan River flowing through campus.
10. Furman University
The oldest institution of higher learning in South Carolina, Furman University serves 2,700 students. The School is named after the famous antebellum clergyman Richard Furman and is situated on 750 acres in the foothills of the Blue Mountains in Greenville. Originally a Baptist school, the institution is now is an independent liberal arts school that prides itself on great academics, a beautiful campus, and commitment to excellence. In the “Character and Values” section the School states, “As a community of liberal learning, Furman University maintains its commitment to freedom of inquiry and excellence in the quest for truth.” Furman boasts six out of 10 graduates working in some business-related field, including marketing, accounting, finance and public relations. The University ranked 81st among 1,500 schools in the percentage of graduates earning doctorates in the period from 2001 to 2010 and 96 percent of faculty have the highest degree in their field.
The beauty of Furman’s campus is an institutional commitment. It features an Asian garden, a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin, the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability, the 40-acre spring-fed Furman Lake overlooked by the Florentine bell tower, 13 miles of paved trails through woodlands and an 18-hole golf course. These highlights make Furman a great place to visit, but arriving in the fall is a real treat. The campus has many trees and Furman’s commitment shows by being recognized as a Tree Campus USA. In addition they have a new arboretum. There are over 2,000 trees and 30 species on campus which surround mostly Georgian-style buildings. The James B. Duke Library, with a long green space lined with trees and accented with multiple fountains shows off why Furman has been ranked as one of the most beautiful and best landscaped campuses in the U.S.
9. University of Wisconsin-Madison
Known as UW-Madison, the flagship of the Wisconsin University System and oldest of institutions of higher learning, the School is quite extensive in programs, buildings, accolades, and land. UW–Madison is organized into 20 schools and colleges for about 40,000 total students. The School offers 136 undergraduate majors, along with 148 master’s degree programs and 120 doctoral programs. UW-Madison is a Public Ivy and founding member of the Association of American Universities. With the third highest research expenditures in the country at $1.1 billion, UW takes knowledge and innovation to the next level. It is categorized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education in research as “very high research activity” for research universities. From changing the way Americans take vitamins to bringing flamingos to Bascom Hill, UW-Madison is set to “create a better future for Wisconsin, the nation, and the world.”
Located in Madison the 936-acre main campus of the University is situated partially on the isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona. Including research stations throughout the state, the campus is over 10,600 acres in area. Ranked by Travel + Leisure in 2011 as one of the most beautiful campuses in America, students and visitor enjoy four seasons. The fall is special though, with the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum. The Arboretum has over 100 varieties of woody plants and is home to Longenecker Horticultural Gardens, what is more, the 300-acre Lakeshore Nature Preserve provides even more natural beauty. UW-Madison has it all for beauty. Century-old elms (UW-Madison is a Tree Campus USA), green space, water, Muir Forest, and also amazing architecture. Bascom Hall is the most famous with Romanesque and Gothic elements. It has been stunning onlookers since 1859. With yellow, gold, red, and orange highlighting the four National Landmarks on campus, it’s no surprise UW-Madison ranks so high.
8. University of North Carolina
Opening its doors in 1795 as the nation’s first public university, the University of North Carolina has been vital to the American university system. Now with 30,000 undergraduates and graduates UNC offers just about every degree possible: 75 majors, 68 doctoral programs, 113 master’s programs in 60 departments though 14 colleges and the College of Arts and Sciences. The proof is in the pudding in regards to academic success as well with 49 Rhodes Scholars, 250 Fulbright Scholars, and 2 Nobel Laurette’s. Located in the beautiful Chapel Hill adds to the mystique of UNC, and who can think of UNC without thinking of the outstanding athletics programs. Research is central to the mission with more than $900 million annually spent as well as 3,000 undergraduates producing 140 original research projects per year. The accomplishments of UNC are many, but the fact remains that with more than $7 billion generated by UNC grads every year, the impact is real.
The combination of a large campus at 729 acres, a botanical garden that is 700 acres with 14 collections of a variety of plant life, a 910-acre arboretum, and world-class architecture it is no wonder UNC ranks high in many different ways. For example, the American Society for Landscape Architects designated the campus their National Landmark for outstanding Landscape Architecture. This is due mainly to the two central quads, extensive green-spaces cultivated to perfection, and excellent buildings and plants. The school is famous for their 300 year old tulip poplar named the “Davie Poplar” after a Revolutionary War general. Besides this natural landmark the Old Well, completed in 1897, is a neoclassical rotunda based on the Temple of Love in the Gardens of Versailles that is said to grant good luck to visitors who drink its water. The list goes on, but in the fall time be sure to enjoy the autumnal colors and smells in UNC’s outdoor Forest Theater, simply take a load off in Polk and McCorkle Place, or travel in their spectacular arboretum.
7. Cornell University
Cornell University is a recognized name among universities in the world. Founded in 1865 in Ithaca, New York as a land-grant institution, Cornell has stayed the course in providing an outstanding education yet always keeping service in mind. The School has over 600 buildings on over 2,000 acres. It serves 22,000 students from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Beside the main campus, Cornell has amazing research facilities dedicated to practical and theoretical inquiry. Locations include: Puerto Rico, Qatar, Appledore Island, Dominican Republic and multiple locations in New York State. There are 14 colleges and schools at Cornell: seven undergraduate units, four graduate and professional units in Ithaca, two medical units in New York City, one in Doha, Qatar, and the newest school, Cornell Tech in New York City. Currently, Cornell counts about 250,000 living alumni, with an impressive 34 Marshall Scholars, 29 Rhodes Scholars, seven Gates Scholars, 50 Nobel laureates, and 14 living billionaires.
It is hard to compete with Cornell when it comes to campus loveliness. Ranked #1 for the best arboretum and being located on in the Northeast makes it ideal for the fall time. It is also a Tree Campus USA. Add to that lakes, forests, meadows, and great architecture and we’re talking one of the best. With over 2,000 acres the F.R. Newman Arboretum, part of Cornell Plantations, views are spectacular in the autumn. The F.R. Newman Arboretum is filled with panoramic views overlooking the rolling hills and valleys that were carved out by Fall Creek following the retreat of glaciers over 10,000 years ago. The Deans Garden’s colorful Japanese maples are magnificent along with the many-colored views around the Eddy Dam Foot Bridge. The Jennie McGraw Tower, the most iconic building at Cornell overlooks the Arts Quad, where visitors and students enjoy red brick and gray stone buildings of various architectural styles with an open green space, and in the fall time, and red, orange, and yellow trees.
6. Northwestern University
Northwestern University is “committed to excellent teaching, innovative research and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse academic community.” This large private research university offers myriads of options for 21,000 students. The School has three campuses, a 240-acre campus in Evanston, a 25-acre campus in Chicago and a third campus in Doha, Qatar. Northwestern has 12 schools and colleges, 3,334 full-time faculty members, and 19 intercollegiate athletic teams. With $620 million annually dedicated to research, it comes as no surprise that the School is home to more than 90 school-based centers and nearly 50 university research centers. Northwestern conducts research in areas including neuroscience, nanotechnology, biotechnology and drug discovery. With over 5,000 international students, faculty, researchers, visiting scholars, and staff from 110 countries and great study abroad options, the international and global focus is huge. It is easy to see why Northwestern is a top university in America.
“You’ve got to see it to believe it.” Taken from the school’s webpage, this text accurately describes their campuses. The Evanston and Chicago campuses are 12 miles apart and bordered by Lake Michigan. The setting in the fall time is spectacular. With 200-year old oaks and maples the campus colors come alive in the autumn. Being a Tree Campus USA member shows a dedication to preserving, protecting, and promoting tree life and health. Added to tremendous trees is of course the cool and refreshing breeze from Lake Michigan and the natural beauty of Deering Meadow. Students and visitors at Northwestern enjoy the suburban setting with a pumpkin spice latte in the natural beauty of the outdoors. What’s more, the wonderful architecture adds to the ambiance of the autumn. University Hall, built in 1869 is a mix of Gothic and modern style that adds to the aesthetics of the autumn at Northwestern.
5. University of Colorado – Boulder
With awe-inspiring views, world-renowned faculty and an excellence in research and scholarship across 150 fields the University of Colorado-Boulder competes with the best schools in the nation. With 31,000 students and an impressive 86 percent retention rate, $2.4 billion in their research portfolio, and over $2 billion worth of economic impact, the stats show UC-Boulder is a force to be reckoned with. UC-Boulder takes pride in their value to allow students to customize their education and gain hands-on experience. They do this by offering 3,400 courses available in over 150 disciplines comprising 85 majors in nine schools. Their model works as they boast 12 Nobel Laureates, nine MacArthur Fellows, and 18 astronauts who have been affiliated with CU-Boulder. Not only do students learn, they serve with over 14,500 engaged in helping the community. All in all, the University is vibrant from its campus to its academics, to athletics and beyond.
Besides cutting edge innovation, the campus at University of Colorado is special. Just imagine the majestic Rocky Mountains, crowned in snow-capped beauty the background. Then put a hip, urban campus on 600 acres with more than 5,000 trees of 61 varieties in the foreground – that is what visitors and students enjoy at UC-Boulder. The fall colors are vibrant and the cool air fresh with oaks, maples, and more accented by the fascinating buildings. There are traditional Collegiate Gothic, like Old Main (completed in 1876) that are very beautiful, but also the interesting and rugged looking Tuscan Vernacular Revival style of Charles Klauder, which represents a distinct era in UC’s history. This style features local sandstone, limestone embellishments, and sloped red-tiled roofs. In addition to being a Tree Campus USA and dedicated to sustainability and green buildings, UC-Boulder has access to Andrews Arboretum. It is owned by the city by readily available and used by the University.
4. Mount Holyoke College
Mary Mason Lyon’s genius and forward-thinking created Mount Holyoke College. Founded in 1837 as a Female Seminary, it is now “a highly selective, nondenominational, residential, research liberal arts college for women. Mount Holyoke is renowned for educating women leaders, from medical pioneers to Pulitzer Prize–winning playwrights.” The School offers 51 majors with 67 percent choosing humanities and social sciences. Currently enrolling about 2,200 students who come from 45 states and 74 countries, 55 percent of MHC incoming first-year students were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. Class sizes are small, which aid in the outstanding education MHC is known for. Eighty-four percent of the class of 2014 were working or in school six months after graduation. The MHC mission captures their essence best: an “intellectually adventurous education in the liberal arts” for the purpose of creating “lives of thoughtful, effective, and purposeful engagement in the world.”
Mount Holyoke College’s campus is ranked by many sites as one of the most beautiful in America. Their 2,000-acre campus, originally 800 acres, was designed by famous landscape architects Olmsted and Sons. It now features waterfalls, a pair of lakes, woodland trails perfect for riding and a botanic garden and arboretum. The campus is also home to the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum which is part of the Five College Museums/Historic Deerfield. As for the fall time, it doesn’t get much better than all that with a healthy array of added autumn colors. Many say the best way to enjoy the fall time at MHC is to meander through the trails of the campus and soak in nature in the botanical gardens and lakes. Don’t miss the oldest tree on campus, the Copper Beech planted in 1904 to commemorate the birth of a botany professor’s daughter. The tree turns a cognac color in the fall. With all of the natural beauty, MHC takes aesthetics a step further with amazing architecture from the moment one enters the classic black iron gates.
3. Yale University
To mention Yale is the mention history, tradition, excellence, and beauty. In 1701 the charter was granted for a school “wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences (and) through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Public employment both in Church and Civil State.” Since then, Yale has led the way in educating countless souls and contributing the very fabric of our great nation. Five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 13 living billionaires, 52 Nobel laureates, 240 Rhodes Scholars, and 118 Marshall Scholars have been affiliated with the University. As the third oldest institution of higher learning, this Ivy-league powerhouse offers myriads of options for 12,000 students. Yale has over 145 departments and programs in a wide range of disciplines, offers 75 distinct undergraduate degrees, concentrated into 53 majors. There are many centers, institutes, and student organizations as well. All in all, Yale’s reputation as one of the greatest universities in the world is well deserved.
Being located in New Haven, Connecticut makes Yale a perfect place for autumn visits. The campus is 837 acres, ornamented by a botanical garden, Gothic Revival buildings, immaculately kept green spaces, and lots of ancient trees. Take the Yale Nature Walk in the autumn to breathe it all in: red and orange Japanese Stewartis, sugar maples, mountain ash, pin oaks, and more. If walking trails isn’t desirable, hit the links on Yale’s 18-hole golf course or just leisurely stroll through the Marsh Botanical Garden, eight acres of garden, arboretum, and greenhouses with the National Historic Landmark Othniel C. March House to boot. Perhaps people watching or reading on the inspiring grounds surrounded by Gothic buildings is preferred. If so, the Old Campus is the place to go with a panoramic view of McClellan Hall, Linsly-Chittenden Hall, Dwight Hall, the Memorial Quadrangle and the 216-foot tall Harkness Tower. Visiting anytime is a treat, but visiting in the fall is unforgettable.
2. University of Washington
“Let there be light” is a fitting motto for the University of Washington. The UW is a multi-campus university in Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell, as well as a world-class academic medical center with an enrollment of 45,000 students. The University has 16 colleges and schools and offer 1,800 undergraduate courses each quarter. They confer more than 12,000 professional degrees annually and have produced some incredible results. Among graduates of UW are 136 Fulbright Scholars, 35 Rhodes Scholars, seven Marshall Scholars, four Gates Cambridge Scholars, and two Nobel laureates. The School is a member of the Association of American Universities (a group of 60 leading research schools) and prides itself of research in many fields. Besides cutting edge research in the sciences, the University is known for its books. The University of Washington library system is the 18th largest library in the United States, with holdings of more than 7.5 million volumes. Lastly, the campus of UW is one of the most beautiful in the country.
The main campus at the University of Washington is 703 acres. Being located in the lovely Northwest makes it ideal for beauty anytime of the year. In the spring, the Quad is famous for pink cherry blossoms, but in the fall, the 10,000 trees with tremendous mountain and water views make it arguably the best campus for autumn beauty. There are about 500 varieties of trees providing a diversity of color, including sugar maples, sweetgums and Japanese maples. Besides fall leaves, fall means football for many and at UW fans tailgate in boats on Lake Washington. Students and visitors alike can enjoy striking views of Mount Rainer from the Drumheller Fountain, the Cascades and Olympic Mountains as well as views of Portage and Union Bays. Building on outstanding natural beauty, the campus has some notable architecture. The oldest building on campus is the French-inspired Denny Hall built in 1895 in the French Renaissance Revival style. Perhaps most striking, though, is the Suzzallo Library built in the Collegiate Gothic style in 1926.
1. Wake Forest University
With a motto like “Pro Humanitate” (For Humanity) Wake Forest was destined to become a premier university. Founded in 1844 and located to their present site in 1956, the liberal arts school has a total enrollment of about 8,000. Famous graduates include Maya Angelou and Tim Duncan. Impressively, Wake Forest has produced 15 Rhodes Scholars four Marshall Scholars, 15 Truman Scholars and 62 Fulbright recipients. The University gets these kinds of results by offering 40 majors and 57 interdisciplinary minors across various fields of study. For Wake Forest as a community, to be “For Humanity” is a calling “to use our knowledge, talents and compassion to better the lives of others. It can mean donating time and resources to our communities or simply a lifelong commitment to pursuing our best self. No matter your personal interpretation, it’s an opportunity to leave the world better than we found it.”
With a brilliant red maple named “October Glory” it goes without saying that Wake Forest belongs at #1. North Carolina is a great state for the fall time, and Wake Forest is located in the best of many worlds: mountains to the west and the coast to the east. This unique climate is ideal for bringing out the colors of maples, magnolias, and the wonderful 129-acre “center for recreation”, Reynolda Gardens. This gorgeous meadow and wetland wonderland has it all for lovers of natural beauty with bird-watching to boot. Hearn and Manchester Plazas are iconic quads with large green spaces and lots of trees. These quads typify the 340-acre campus and among them are the most famous buildings. Perhaps the most picturesque is Wait Chapel. Built in 1956 as the first building on the Reynolda Campus, the Chapel holds 2250 people, has an organ with 4600 pipes, 48 bells weighing 12 tons, and a 213-foot steeple. Architecture, location, and trees galore place Wake Forest at the top of list.