The Thorny Grove of Academe

In the September/October Midwest Living readers are encouraged to pack their bags for autumn college getaways to Miami, Michigan State, and Indiana University. A sample attribute of one campus is worth nothing or worth noting, depending on one’s level of irascibility: “Ample wooded areas make Indiana University the fifth most forested campus in the United States.” That seems to be a rather mediocre distinction, causing one to wonder if arborists at IU will shuffle their way through leaves this fall to the susurrant rhythm of “We’re number five! We’re number five!”

Miami, of course, has two identity problems: Miami of Florida gets all the press (and football players) and Ole Miss’s Oxford is the college town with all the literary panache. But apparently Robert Frost was so enraptured with Miami of Ohio that he called it “the most beautiful campus that ever there was” so the alumni would be wise to play a Frost warning along the lines of “You come too” because “We’ve been here already.”

MSU, described as the cut-loose campus, could easily describe itself as the most footloose college in East Lansing without fear of contradiction.

What other hard-to-disprove honors can be bestowed upon Old Mains across the country?

Louisiana State University has the eight largest accumulation of Spanish moss and the fourth highest concentration of skinks that know how to get down and do the Bogalusa.

The University of Wyoming has the third-most terrifying standing dinosaur lookalike this side of Jurassic Park.

Cal Tech owns the sixth most useless accumulation of rusted spark plugs.

Alabama State University, located near Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, has the fourth largest collection of bent horseshoes.

Brigham Young University has the largest deposit of petrified salt marsh taffy.

North Dakota State University proudly displays the third largest collection of grand forks and bland spoons.

At the University of Nevada-Reno green-shaded curators display the second largest collection of discarded wedding rings.

Florida A&M is home to the nation’s foremost collection of defunct springs.

Visitors to Idaho State can see the sorriest set of sawed teeth and fossil beds anywhere.

On the grassy campus of the University of Notre Dame are the third most walkways and the second most mishy walkas.

The traveling miniaturist should stop by the University of Maine to peer at the tiniest collection of milli nockets to be found anywhere.

Wichita State University can boast of having the fourth most scenic drives to go along with the second most cattle drives.

And for those who have not received enough thrills from the Great Lakes State, they can stop at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan to marvel at the multitude of bad axes and glad stones.

We can only hope that the concept of lackluster superlatives does not catch on with recruiters at Edgewood College which is near the Arboretum in Madison. It would be a shame if their long-standing motto of “Heart Speaks to Heart” was exchanged for “We’re the woods edgiest.”






























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