Donnelly Named Most Diverse College in Midwest

Donnelly Named Most Diverse College in Midwest

Donnelly Named Most Diverse College in Midwest

U.S. News and World Report has announced that Donnelly College tops the list of the most ethnically diverse colleges in the Midwest. Full list can be found here.

Donnelly’s ranking is a reflection of its status as the region’s only federally-designated Minority-Serving Institution and Hispanic-Serving Institution.

“We are proud to receive this national recognition highlighting one of our strongest assets – our diverse student body,” said Donnelly President Monsignor Stuart Swetland. “Students come to Donnelly for many reasons – our affordability, our urban location, our nurturing campus environment, and especially our academic programs. However, decade after decade, students tell us that student diversity is often a top factor that helps them choose to attend and find success here.

“It is rare to find a college that has a majority of minority students, especially in this region. We know our students find comfort, security and confidence in that. As a Catholic College, we believe in the innate dignity and worth of each person, and that is something we strive to make tangible to our students each day in their campus experience.”

Donnelly students often note that difference. “I love the diversity at Donnelly,” one student said. “I feel 100% safe and accepted. I believe, above all, we feel equal here. In the classroom, I don’t feel any less because [of who I am].”

Last year, Donnelly’s student body was 84% students of color representing 33 countries (41% Hispanic, 29% African-American, 16% Caucasian, 6% Two or more races, 5% Other, 3% Asian). The 2017 graduating class was 92% students of color and included 79% first generation students.

The diversity found at Donnelly represents our neighborhood, and also reflects Donnelly’s commitment to the urban core since its founding in 1949. Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Mark Holland often notes that Wyandotte County is one of the most diverse counties in the nation, as there is no ethnic majority among constituents.

“The richness of our campus experience has always been due in large part to the diversity of our student body,” Swetland added. “The world is increasingly interconnected and our nation is seeing racial tensions that we have not witnessed in generations.  More than ever, this requires higher education to foster a global perspective and an understanding of individuals different than one’s self. Our board, faculty and staff are proud of our students and how their diversity enriches our learning environment.”

As a small, private Catholic college, Donnelly has not always registered in national or regional rankings. However, for the last five years, Donnelly has also made another important ranking – the U.S. Department of Education’s Top 100 lists for most affordable private, not-for-profit four-year colleges, according to the College Affordability and Transparency Center.

“Our commitment to providing an affordable private, Catholic college opportunity is not unrelated to our exceptional student diversity,” Swetland said. “This country is facing a growing higher education accessibility gap, and far too often that gap is a product of economic challenges, not ability.”

According to Cerner Health Services Pesident, and Donnelly’s Chair of the Board of Directors, Dick Flanigan, “Donnelly is creating the workforce of the future – a diverse workforce that is critically needed in our region’s businesses. Donnelly’s mission to increase college opportunity is more needed than ever, and continues to impact our larger community.”

To learn more about Donnelly, please visit

Note: Although U.S. News and World Report recognizes Donnelly as the most diverse college in the Midwest, Donnelly is not included in U.S. News and World Report’s overall higher education rankings because Donnelly maintains an open admissions policy to ensure that all students can access higher education. Use of ACT or SAT scores in admissions decisions is a key criteria for inclusion in U.S. New and World Report’s overall rankings, as well as other national and regional ranking. Because Donnelly does not require the ACT or SAT for admission, Donnelly College is not included in the overall ranking of colleges and universities in the Midwest.