Students & Parents | General Education

Ascending to New Heights

SKY (DELTA AIRLINES)   |  December 1, 2014

When former U.S. Senator Paul Trible became president of Christopher Newport University in 1996, he challenged his colleagues to build a great university for America. “We are not interested in incremental progress. We are in the business of dramatic transformation. Everything we do will be done at the highest levels of excellence, and with the help of a lot of wonderful people, CNU will become one of America’s pre-eminent public liberal arts universities.”

Few schools have come so far so quickly. Applications have exploded by 800 percent. This year CNU will receive more than 8,000 applications for a freshman class of 1,200. The quality of students is soaring. SAT scores in critical reading and math have increased by more the 200 points.

CNU offers great teaching and small classes. Hundreds of full-time faculty, drawn from the most respected graduate programs in the country, have been added, and there are no large sections or teaching assistants.

More than $1 billion in capital construction has been completed, and CNU has built a spectacularly beautiful campus with world-class facilities. “Our job is to instruct and inspire, and nothing does that more powerfully than great architecture,” Trible says. “We want our students to have great dreams for their lives and for this country.”

The reach and reputation of CNU is spreading. Kiplinger’s and The Princeton Review include the University among the best values in higher education. U.S. News & World Report now ranks CNU No. 7 among public regional universities in the South and as a school to watch for making “the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus and facilities.” Christopher Newport is also the only public institution in the nation to earn a perfect “A” from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the strength of its curriculum.

Christopher Newport is not a place for spectators. The academics are demanding, and students are expected to actively engage in class and outside of the classroom. There are more than 200 officially recognized clubs, organizations and activities from which to choose. That’s a remarkable number for a school of 5,000 students.

In all things, the University emphasizes the importance of leadership, honor and civic engagement. The study of leadership is available to all students, and nearly 25 percent of CNU’s students participate in the President’s Leadership Program. This program combines rigorous academic courses that lead to a minor in leadership studies, with community service, foreign study, outdoor adventure and speakers who have led lives of success and significance.

“We want our students to become good citizens and leaders who possess a passion for engagement, a commitment to excellence and a powerful sense of their responsibility for making the world a better place. We want our students to lead, serve, love and set the world on fire.” 


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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