Smooth sailing

Check out Maryland schools: No. 8 of a nine-part series

Check out Maryland schools: No. 8 of a nine-part series

August 22, 2006|by SARAH JOHNSTON

As one of the only two public honors colleges in the nation, St. Mary's College of Maryland offers the quality of a private liberal arts education with the affordability of a public school. Designated an honors college by Maryland state legislature, St. Mary's is recognized for its attentive faculty, scholarly students and challenging curriculum. The Washington Post's Education Review dubbed it "one of the top twenty gems among American colleges," and St. Mary's scenic setting is as appealing as its monetary value.

Nestled next to St. Mary's River, the waterfront college is named in honor of St. Mary's City, Maryland's first English colony and first state capital. The pristine campus has retained the same breathtaking beauty that European settlers discovered upon their landing in 1634. One drawback to its rural setting is that St. Mary's is about five miles from the nearest town of any size.

With free access to kayaks, windsurfing boards and sailboats, some students spend as much of their free time on the water as on the land. But perhaps the college's most celebrated sporting event is the nude bike ride, an annual spring tradition suggesting that St. Mary's students have no inhibitions about laying down their textbooks and letting loose, balancing amusement and academia.


At a glance

Type: public

Environment: rural

Affiliation: none

2006-2007 tuition: $9,498 in-state, $19,340 out-of-state

2006-2007 estimated total yearly cost (includes tuition, fees, room and board): $19,938 in-state, $29,780 out-of-state

Popular majors: biology, economics, political science, psychology

Student population: 1,950 undergraduate students

Student body: 42 percent male, 58 percent female

Student/faculty ratio: 13:1

Clubs and organizations: more than 70

Greek life: no

Athletics: 14 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Division I varsity sailing team

Famous alumnus: renowned guitar craftsman Paul Reed Smith, who is both the founder and owner of PRS Guitars

- Sources of information:;;; informational brochures from St. Mary's College of Maryland

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