Societal critics regularly opine that we live in a society where everybody gets a trophy.
We look back on the good old days when people and institutions had to accept coming up empty handed when it came to any sort of competition.
The University of Connecticut women are the top-ranked womenâ€™s basketball team in the country because they have the best record, best players and most national titles.
When it comes to college rankings of any kind, either for sports teams or for universities in general, academia either pooh poohs the system when not ranked â€” or celebrates it when they are.
But sometimes, there is a ranking that, legitimately, is a nice reward for a schoolâ€™s decades of work toward improvement.
Hence, Eastern Connecticut State Universityâ€™s ranking last month as being among the top 10 colleges and universities in Connecticut.
The designation was awarded courtesy of College Consensus, a new college review aggregator that regularly rates schools based on several criteria ranging from academics to other reviews to student assessments.
The ninth-place ranking of all schools in Connecticut is OK, but what really should bear mention was the ranking ECSU had among state schools in Connecticut.
It was ranked the second-best state school in the Nutmeg State, behind only UConn, the nationally ranked Connecticut flagship school.
Only UConn and ECSU were among the Top 10. Ivy League school Yale University was, not surprisingly, the top college in Connecticut.
You know what? Thatâ€™s pretty darn good.
It means ECSU, once considered the smallest and least-regarded school in the Connecticut State University System decades ago, is now the top school in the four-university system.
Given the past two decades of work at the Willimantic campus, this is not surprising.
From new dorms, athletic facilities, academic buildings and infrastructure, the ECSU of, say, the mid-1980s, is far cry from what youâ€™d see today.
In fact, a student from today would hardly recognize ECSU if they took a trip in a time machine.
So, while some may decry the legitimacy of this ranking, the truth is Eastern is the best state school in Connecticut â€” outside of UConn.
And thatâ€™s not a bad trophy to put in your trophy case.