Best PJ universities 2006
Last year (technically earlier this year) we tried to ascertain which colleges are best for PJ students. My answer is always the same:   The university doesn't make the best PJ. The best PJ makes the most of their time at university.
For the last two years, this fact was proven when the College Photographers of the Year (Casey Templeton and Rick Gershon) were both lone wolves from their universities.
This year's winner, Matt Eich, is from last year's top (cumulative) university. He started winning awards at CPOY last year. He was only a sophomore this year, so expect two more years of rump-kicking. Alternatively, he's the target for those who didn't take the prize. ;-}
We now have two years of data to show us benefit-for-investment trends at different universities. Let's use the information we have and draw a few conclusions.
Like last year, when looking at the winners list, let's ignore who won gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention. Instead, we'll look at how many individuals from different universities got any awards. Of these winners, we'll eliminate the universities with only one winner (no matter how many awards were won) and eliminate the redundancies.
Again, what remains is a solid guess at the quality of the PJ education at different universities. If nothing else, it shows a consistent ability to teach students to shoot and select quality images for competition. Here's the breakdown by number of individual students who won any awards at this year's CPOY:
13   Ohio University
07   Western Kentucky University
07   Brooks Institute of Photography
05   University of Missouri
02   University of Nebraska
02   San Francisco State University
Ohio University won the most again. They're only down by one win, so it's an insignificant change. Both Western Kentucky University and Brooks Institute of Photography took out the University of Missouri to tie for 2nd place in total awards.
Then, the game changed. The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and University of Florida didn't make the top list this year. Instead, the University of Nebraska and San Francisco State University bounced into the lead pack and messed up a theory I was kicking around about pairs of shooters from one university. End result, it's not feast or famine after all.
As stated before, universities with strong programs draw strong students. These students are frequently as demanding on one another as they are on themselves. The top four universities on the list are jockeying for position, but they're consistently producing quality shooters with strong likelihoods of landing good jobs upon graduation.
Meanwhile, one driven PJ can still take all the marbles without cohorts. There were some surprising results this year (including a first-year Southeast Texan and some bloggers). Next year should be interesting.
A cool change this year is the introduction of a judges' vodcast. Now, students who can't make it to the judging can hear and see what the judges wanted. It would rock if BOP and POYi would start this as well for us poor pros.
Enough for now,
Please see the 2007 and 2008 updates.