When you think of the biggest college campus in the U.S., think small – really small. Tiny Berry College in northwest Georgia is our reigning champ with the most acres and one of the smallest student bodies.
How large and how small? Well, Berry College has 27,000 acres and about 2,000 students. That’s nearly 14 acres per student.
Runner-up SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse has 25,000 acres. In third place, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint, has nearly 21,000 acres.
LawnStarter ranked the 10 largest campuses of four-year colleges and universities in the U.S., based on acres listed on school websites and 2019 enrollment figures from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.
To qualify for the list, the pieces of land making up the main campus didn’t have to be touching but they did have to be close enough to form a cohesive campus.
Did your alma mater – or the campus where you kids are attending college – make our list? Check the table below and read more about the schools and their land holdings.
Big Man (or Woman) on Campus? These are just Big Campuses.
10 Top College Campuses by Acreage
|College or University||City||Acreage|
|1. Berry-College||Rome, GA||27,000+|
|2. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry||Syracuse, NY||25,000|
|3. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint||Ann Arbor,Dearborn, and Flint, MI||20,965|
|4. United States Air Force Academy||Colorado Springs, CO||18,455|
|5. United States Military Academy||West Point, NY||16,080|
|6. Purdue University – Main Campus||West Lafayette, IN||45,500|
|7. Paul Smiths College of Arts and Sciences||Paul Smiths, NY||14,200|
|8. Berklee College of Music||Boston, MA||14,000|
|9. The University of the South||Sewanee, TN||13,000|
|10. Duke University||Durham, NC||8,600|
1. Berry College
Location: Rome, GA
Size: 27,000+ acres
Fall 2018 enrollment: 2,014
Highlights: Natural features such as woodlands, meadows, and streams; 47 main buildings, including 15 classroom facilities and 10 residence halls; wildlife sanctuary; plantation house; working mill with waterwheel; film set for productions including “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Remember the Titans.”
Notable quote: “Of the buildings on campus, Ford Auditorium, an English gothic-inspired building with a clock tower and reflecting pool, is the most eye-catching.” — Thrillist
Berry College, tucked into the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, covers more than 27,000 acres — nearly twice the land area of Manhattan. Not surprisingly, Berry College boasts not only the largest contiguous college campus in the U.S., but the largest one in the world.
Needless to say, students at Berry College in northwest Georgia enjoy plenty of room to roam.
“It’s easy to be alone at Berry, although it’s hard to be lonely,” says Peter Lawler, a professor of government at the private school.
How did Berry College get so big?
Founded in 1902 by Martha Berry, the daughter of a prominent local business owner, the college’s footprint ballooned in the 1930s to 30,000 acres. The expansion was made possible through Berry’s relentless fundraising efforts, which included a landmark gift from Henry and Clara Ford to fund the construction of Berry’s iconic Ford Complex.
2. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Location: Syracuse, NY
Size: 25,000 acres
Fall 2018 enrollment: 2,209
Highlights: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry hosts a seven-day event called Earth Week; students log in more than 70,000 service hours annually; easy access to Syracuse University.
Notable quote: “A confluence of merit, minds and mission with a century of history, ESF stands alone in its balanced dedication.” — SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
3. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint
Location: Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint, MI
Size: 20,965 acres
Fall 2019 enrollment: Over 60,000
Highlights: Football rivalry with Ohio State; No. 1 in research volume among U.S. research universities; United Way campaign raises $1.2 million each year.
Notable quote: “An uncommon education for the common man.” — James Burrill Angell
4. United States Air Force Academy
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Size: 18,455 acres
Fall 2019 enrollment: 4,336
Highlights: The U.S. Air Force Academy boasts an iconic aluminum, glass, and steel chapel with 17 spires; winding roads through forests; 27-acre garden.
Notable quote: “Soaring 150 feet toward the Colorado sky, the Air Force Academy [Cadet] Chapel is an all-faiths house of worship designed to meet the spiritual needs of cadets. It contains a separate chapel for four major religious faiths — Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist — plus an all-faiths room used by Muslim cadets and available for members of the other faiths as well.” — Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
5. United States Military Academy
Location: West Point, NY
Size: 16,080 acres
Fall 2019 enrollment: About 4,589
Highlights: The U.S Military Academy is located on the Hudson River; statues of U.S. presidents throughout campus; world’s largest chapel pipe organ.
Notable quote: “The cadet chapel, built in 1910, is one of the most striking buildings on campus.” — Business Insider
6. Purdue University – Main Campus
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Size: 15,325 acres
Fall 2019 enrollment: 45,500
Highlights: 779 trees; almost 40,000 species of plants; 5 fountains; Purdue Boilermakers football team; engineering and computer science.
Notable quote: “More than 37,000 students from all 50 states and 130 countries, along with some 850 student organizations and Big Ten Boilermaker athletics, make for a lively environment.” — homeofpurdue.com
7. Paul Smiths College of Arts and Sciences
Location: Paul Smiths, NY
Size: 14,200 acres
2019 enrollment: 716
Highlights: US News’ No. 3 Most Innovative Award; located in the Adirondacks; accredited bachelors degrees; close to Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Montreal; home to the Adirondack Watershed Institute.
Notable quote: “We strive to preserve our way and our values to be a universal example that connections of people with people and of people with environments is at the heart of education.” — Paul Smiths College website
8. Berklee College of Music
Location: Boston, MA
Size: 14,000 acres
Fall 2019 enrollment: 6,999
Highlights: Located in Boston; 297 alumni won Grammys; campuses in NYC and Abu Dhabi; students come from over 95 countries.
Notable quote: “Berklee was founded on two revolutionary ideas: that musicianship could be taught through the music of the time; and that our students need practical, professional skills for successful, sustainable music careers.” — Berklee College of Music website
9. The University of the South
Location: Sewanee, TN
Size: 13,000 acres
Fall 2019 enrollment: 1,768
Highlights: Situated atop the Cumberland Plateau between Nashville and Chattanooga; the University of the South campus is known as The Domain; Eastern Star Cemetery; university-owned coffee shop located in a yellow Victorian house; on-campus inn.
Notable quote: “Sewanee has been featured in countless magazines as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.” — The Best Colleges
10. Duke University
Location: Durham, NC
Size: 8,600 acres
Fall 2019 enrollment: 16,768
Highlights: 54 acre Duke Gardens; 7,000+ acre Duke Forest.
Notable quote: “By pursuing these objectives with vision and integrity, Duke University seeks to engage the mind, elevate the spirit, and stimulate the best effort of all who are associated with the University.” — Duke Board of Trustees
Contributing: Former LawnStarter editor-in-chief John Egan, current editor-in-chief Jeff Herman and our writing team which researched more than 7,000 college and university websites to gather campus acreage figures.
Last update: August 25, 2022
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