AU named to list of 20 beautiful campuses

May 22, 2024

eckhart hall

Aurora University is winning accolades for the beauty of its campus.

The university was named among 20 beautiful college campuses in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, joining Duke University, Harvard University, Indiana University—Bloomington, the University of Washington, and others. The list highlights colleges known for stunning architecture, picturesque settings, and spectacular landscaping.

At nearly 40 acres, AU is the smallest college on the list. Its attributes of note include the distinctive red tile roofs on all major buildings, the formal entrance outside of the Hill Welcome Center lined with more than 50 Greenspire linden trees and more than 140 Dakota Pinnacle Asian birch trees, and a track record for being recognized for overall campus beauty by the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS).

Last year, AU received the 2023 Grand Award from the PGMS, the highest honor for small (under 200 acres) university and college grounds, for the third time.

The Grand Award recognizes the overall beauty of the landscape, the grounds crew, the challenges and solutions in maintaining the campus, and the sustainability and safety practices.

AU was cited in particular for its commitment to sustainability, including the rain garden outside of Eckhart Hall, which provides a flower-rich habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife, as well as the green roof at John C. Dunham Hall, which is a LEED Platinum building.

“Our goal as a grounds department is to provide a safe and beautiful environment, not only for students and staff but for the entire community of which we are a part,” said Noah Parker, grounds director at AU. “Excellence is the standard at AU, and we strive to make that obvious when students and visitors first walk on and through campus.”

Jordyn Spencer ’25, who is majoring in elementary education, decided to attend AU after taking a campus tour.

“AU has a great campus with a lot of beautiful landscaping,” she said. “It gave off a sense of home and was filled with welcoming people.”

AU’s grounds are managed by SSC Services for Education.

colorful flowers on the quad
spartan statue overlooking the quad in the fall
rain garden outside of eckhart hall
aurora university monument sign with white flower beds
pink flowers outside of memorial hall
greenery near hill welcome center