Finally, I must confess that I did more than my fair share to contribute to West Virginia University's party school image.
The year was 1981, and Lisa Birnbach, author of the then-wildly popular "The Preppy Handbook," was on a national college lecture tour. The tour also doubled as research for her next bestseller, "Lisa Birnbach's College Book."
During her visit to Morgantown, she stopped by the Daily Athenaeum offices for a bull session with some of the staffers. At the time, we assumed it was just to get an orientation for the campus, but our comments ended up accounting for about 70 percent of her write-up on WVU.
At one point, she asked what weekends were like at WVU, and I boasted that weekends in Morgantown begin on Thursdays and run through Monday night -- of course, a gross exaggeration, since most of us actually did study and go to class on Fridays and Mondays. Nonetheless, it ended up in the book, and Birnbach went on to dub WVU as "the quintessential party school."
Birnbach's book became the template for other college guides that followed, including the new, just-published edition of the Princeton Review's "The Best 377 Colleges," which ranked WVU as the No. 1 party school in the nation.
For all the wailing about the party school ranking, WVU's inclusion in the Princeton Review guide should be considered an honor, since there are some 1,600 colleges and universities nationwide that did not make the cut.
(On its website, the Princeton Review editors note, "We selected these colleges and universities primarily based on our high opinion of their academics.")
WVU is the only state institution deemed worthy of inclusion among the top 377 schools in the U.S., although the Princeton Review does have a somewhat less selective list of the 629 best colleges by region, and Bethany, Concord, Shepherd, the University of Charleston and West Virginia Wesleyan joined WVU on the list of best southeastern colleges. (No Marshall, however ...)
While the party school ranking made headlines, I have yet to see any coverage of another top 20 ranking WVU received from the Princeton Review: 15th best college library, ahead of institutions including UVA, Dartmouth, and Michigan ...
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.