DES MOINES, Iowa, September 9, 2020 — Mercy College of Health Sciences has been recognized for its honorable commitment to creating engaging, experiential educational experiences by Colleges of Distinction, a college guidance system celebrating its 20-year anniversary as a one-of-a-kind resource for college-bound students. Colleges of Distinction boasts its longstanding support for student-centered schools that traditional rankings often overlook. As an institution that’s primary goals are based on student success and satisfaction, Mercy College confirms its honor as one of the renowned Colleges of Distinction. 

Founder Wes Creel traces Colleges of Distinction’s beginnings back to when he was helping his eldest daughter search for schools. The institutions that dominated the rankings crowded out all others, and did not speak to the 1 student experience. He created Colleges of Distinction to highlight schools like Mercy College, where student-centered education prevails in applying theory to practice while fostering a dynamic learning community.

While higher education has changed over the last 20 years, Colleges of Distinction’s selection process remains the same. The guidance system conducts in-depth research and detailed interviews with the schools about each institution’s student experience and retention efforts. Schools are evaluated based on general education programs, career development, strategic planning, student satisfaction, and more. Only those institutions that adhere to the Four Distinctions – Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes – are granted the honor of becoming a College of Distinction.

“Each school is different, just as every student is different,”
stated Creel.
“There is no number-one college for everyone, so we never rank those in our cohort.”

Creel and his colleagues found that the most pervasive rankings systems rely on metrics like peer reputation, size of endowment, and alumni salaries. They knew instead that most critical to the student experience were the kinds of engaging experiences that are found at Mercy College: personalized learning, healthcare-focused curriculum, unparalleled clinical rotations, and accelerated education.

“It’s inspiring to see Mercy College commit to the learning styles and community involvement that will best allow their students to thrive,” 
Creel stated.

About Colleges of Distinction
Since 2000, Colleges of Distinction has been committed to honoring schools throughout the U.S. for 1 excellence in higher education. The member schools within the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their dedicated focus on the undergraduate experience. Its website provides dynamic college profiles, customized tools, and resources for students, parents, and high school counselors. For more information, and to learn how to become a College of Distinction, visit

About Mercy College of Health Sciences
Mercy College of Health Sciences is the only private Catholic college in central Iowa and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Located in downtown Des Moines, Mercy College prepares graduates for service and leadership in the healthcare community with a wide range of bachelor, associate, and certificate programs. Visit or call (515) 643-3180 to learn how you can start Charting Your Course.