Campus Pride 2015 Top 25 Best of the Best Colleges & Universities

Campus Pride releases Top 25 list of the “Best of the Best” LGBTQ-friendly campuses across the nation

Campus Pride announced today the 2015 Campus Pride Top 25 LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities. For seven years, the listing has highlighted the most LGBTQ-inclusive colleges and universities when it comes to policy, program and practice in higher education.

This is the first year Campus Pride has released a Top 25 list based on the higher LGBTQ benchmarks recently released on the updated version of the Campus Pride Index. The Top 25 listing is based on the final responses to the Campus Pride Index, a national benchmarking tool which self-assesses LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices. The tool is free of charge and can be found online at

“As time goes on, the needs of LGBTQ college and university students change,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and creator of the Campus Pride Index. “Therefore, we have updated our Campus Pride Index assessment to reflect that, with higher standards for campuses and a higher focus on trans and gender nonconforming students.”

Unlike some well-known LGBTQ rankings and other commercial ratings, the Campus Pride Index is based in research on policy, program and practice and is conducted for and by LGBTQ experts in the field of higher education. Each campus updates their index annually and uses the Campus Pride benchmarking tool to make improvements for LGBTQ life on campus.

According to Windmeyer, “there is a lot to be learned” from the Top 25 campuses on this listing. Many of these campuses are specifically addressing recruitment and academic retention efforts for LGBTQ students as well as concerns for transgender student safety, as reflected by their willingness to be the first campuses to take the updated assessment.

In order to be in the Top 25 listing, an institution had to score the highest percentages in the LGBTQ-friendly benchmarks. The listing this year includes colleges with student populations from 1600 to over 50,000, public and private schools alike. The Top 25 list is in alphabetical order, as follows:

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

21,500 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Cornell University was founded in 1865 and is a private Ivy League university.  The Cornell Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center was opened in 1994. The center “coordinates the efforts of the entire Cornell community to ensure the inclusion of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQQIA) individuals and works to eliminate discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.”

Elon University

Elon, NC

6,500 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


Elon University, originally Elon College founded in 1889, was established in 2001 and is a private liberal arts university located in Elon, North Carolina. The Gender and LGBTQIA Center (GLC) “exists so LGBTQIA and ally students & employees feel respected, safe, and valued on campus, so they may fully participate in the full array of academic, co-curricular, and leadership experiences offered at Elon University.” Elon University offers over 90 gender-neutral bathrooms and are listed on the GLC website.

Indiana University, Bloomington

Bloomington, IN

44,566 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


Indiana University, Bloomington is a public research university in Bloomington, Indiana. The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Support Services (GLBTSSS) Office offers resources and provides “a welcoming environment for individuals seeking to grow in their understanding of LGBT issues.” IU Bloomington also offers LGBTQ and ally groups and organizations such as Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity and the Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority.

Ithaca College

Ithaca, NY

6,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


Ithaca College, originally a music conservatory founded in 1892, is a private college. The Center for LGBT Education was founded in 2001 and “actively fosters the academic success and personal growth of LGBT students, and it offers college-wide services to enhance the campus community’s understanding and appreciation of LGBT people and themes.” Ithaca College also offers four LGBT student organizations on campus that include Created Equal, PRISM, Spectrum, and Athlete Ally. Students may also choose to live in LGBTQ friendly residential housing called House of Roy.

Macalester College

Saint Paul, MN

2,094 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


Macalester College, or Mac, is a private liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota and was founded in 1874. LGBTQ @ Mac is part of the Department of Multicultural Life “as part of our mission to integrate and affirm the peoples, discourses, thoughts, and experiences of marginalized people into the fabric of the Macalester community.” It includes many student-run groups and annual events such as the Allies Project Training, Trans @ Mac, and the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center.

Montclair State University

Montclair, NJ

20,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


Montclair State University was founded in 1908 as the New Jersey State Normal School at Montclair. The LGBTQ Center at Montclair State University was created to offer a safer, more LGBTQ-friendly campus environment through educating, advocating, and supporting LGBTQ identified students, faculty, and staff. The LGBTQ Center at Montclair State University puts on a Pride Awards Ceremony every spring semester to honor and recognize outstanding individuals for their contributions to the LGBTQ community on campus.

Princeton University

8,014 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score:


Princeton University was founded in 1746 and is presently located in Princeton, New Jersey. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center at Princeton was created in 2005. The center “works to create a safe and supportive academic environment through educational opportunities and advocating for the needs and concerns of LGBTQA students.” The center’s website includes a list of gender-inclusive bathrooms on campus.

Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey – New Brunswick

New Brunswick, NJ

48,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT communities at Rutgers “provides educational and social programs, leadership development, and policy consultation” with the mission “to provide an inclusive campus experience for all members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Non-binary, Queer, Questioning, Asexual and Ally community.” It provides a guide on a weekly basis including social justice programs, opportunities across campus and the surrounding communities, and has six LGBTQ organizations, including Queer & Asian and Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (oSTEM).

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

32,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


The Pride Center was created to supply resources and support to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and their allies.  In January 2012, San Diego State University became the second public college in North America to offer a major in LGBT Studies.  

Southern Oregon University

Ashland, OR

6,200 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


Southern Oregon University was founded in 1926 and is a public liberal arts college.  The Queer Resource Center provides “visible and accessible advocacy for the needs of queer students while expanding awareness and knowledge of queer issues on campus” in their community. Southern Oregon University also hosts a pride week every year and offers a Lavender Graduation to recognize LGBTQ students.

The Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

60,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars


The Ohio State University is a public research university. The Student Life Multicultural Center offers LGBTQ initiatives through leadership opportunities, programs, and events. LGBTQ-friendly groups include Students of Color, First Year, LGBTQ Students and Allies, and Spiritual.

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA

46,184 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars


The Pennsylvania State University was founded in 1855.“We work to eliminate homophobia and heterosexism at The Pennsylvania State University so that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students and their allies have equity in every respect and are included in all areas of the Penn State Community.” Penn State established the LGBTQA Resource Center on campus, which offers programming and support to the LGBTQA community.

Tufts University

Medford, MA

10,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


Tufts University is a private research university and has campuses in Medford/Somerville, Boston, and Grafton Massachusetts, as well as Taillores, France. Tufts has multiple centers that work together to help increase awareness of the diversity on campus. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center was founded in 1992 and “provides programming, advising, and educational resources and aims to improve the experience of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender people at Tufts, as well as to provide campus-wide education about sexuality, gender, and the effects of heterosexism, cissupremacy, queerphobia, and other forms of dehumanization.”

University of Colorado at Boulder

Boulder, CO

30,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars


The Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) was created in 1995 and has worked to supply resources, education, and advocacy to students at the University of Colorado Boulder. Programs include peer education and safe zone training.  They offer a weekly newsletter as well as Resource Center Internships, which offer three hours of academic credit upon completion. The LGBTQIA Scholarship Fund awards $2000 to students who make the University of Colorado Boulder “a more hospitable place for LGBTQIA people.”

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY

22,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


The University of Louisville was founded in 1798 and is a public university in Louisville, Kentucky. “The LGBT Center offers a variety of programs that support, enrich, and educate students, faculty, and staff members at the University of Louisville.” The university has “LGBTQ inclusive career services, LGBTQ clubs at the undergraduate and graduate level, trans-inclusive health center staff, trans-inclusive healthcare, and free and anonymous HIV/STI testing.”

University of Maine at Machias

Machias, ME

800 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars


The University of Maine at Machias was founded in 1909 as a normal school for educating teachers and offers studies in recreation, education, Psychology & Community Studies and physical sciences. “UMM offers a variety of services to students including Safe Zones, physical and mental health services, training on LGBT issues and concerns, gender neutral housing and restroom options, and the opportunity to change names” within their academic systems.

University of Maryland College Park

College Park, MD

37,248 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars


The University of Maryland, College Park is a public research university. The LGBT Equity Center at College Park offers resources such as counseling center information to studying abroad as an LGBTQ-identified student.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA

28,500 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


The University of Massachusetts – Amherst is ranked 29th as the best public universities in the nation. The Stonewall Center is a resource on campus for the LGBTQ community.  Only two other college campuses in the country offered a similar resource to this center back in 1985.

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN

45,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars


The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities was established in 1851. The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Programs Office was established in 1993 and works to support LGBTQ-identified students, staff, and faculty on campus.

University of Oregon

Eugene, OR

25,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars


The University of Oregon’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Education & Support Services Program allows students to lead and educate other students about LGBTQ topics.They offer gender inclusive housing and a minor in Queer Studies through the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS).

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

20,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


The University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1740.  Penn’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center is one of the oldest LGBTQ centers in the country, created over 30 years ago. The center offers events, study space, and education for the university.

University of Vermont

Burlington, VT

11,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars


The University of Vermont was founded in 1791. The LGBTQA Center has published two resource publications, which include the “411”, an on and off campus resource, and the “Affirming Card”, a card that may be displayed to show support for the LGBTQ community.

University of Washington

Seattle, WA

45,000 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 5 out of 5 stars


The University of Washington was founded in 1861 and is a public research university. The Q Center is a student-run resource center and serves “anyone with or without gender or sexuality: UW students, staff, faculty, alum, and community members.” The Q hosts student groups have regular events and run several blogs.

University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

Green Bay, WI

6,700 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars


The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay is a 4-year public school. The Pride Center’s mission is to “identify and respond to the concerns and needs of the LGBTQ students, faculty, staff and their allies.” The Pride Center offers SAFE Ally training for any individuals wanting to learn more about LGBTQ issues and topics.

Williams College

Williamstown, MA

2,126 full-time students

Campus Pride Index Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Williams College was founded in 1793. The Davis Center is Williams’ multicultural center. They also include a group for LGBTQ athletes, a group for students, faculty, and staff on campus who are gender non-conforming, among others.