It's been a pretty good year for things Kalamazoo.  The city itself and people, places and things that make up the city have been found to be on various "best' lists for the region, the state, the country and even the world.  Water Street Coffee on Oakland Drive was ranked the 7th best coffee place in the world!  Despite the year coming to an end, the accolades from various sources continue to come in.

collegegazette.com recently ranked the 10 Best Hidden Gems and Western Michigan University is #1.  Not only was the Aviation Department singled out but also the Jazz Performance Programs which our friend and world-class drummer Keith Hall is a part of.  Here's what they had to say:

An impressive institution, Western Michigan makes the top of our list for best hidden gem public universities.  Several of the programs at Western Michigan are frequently listed among the very best in the country. Perhaps the most noted program at Western Michigan is its aviation curriculum, widely considered a top-5 program nationwide. With over 30 aircraft vehicles available for their students, Western Michigan provides hands-on, experiential training to future pilots and technicians.

Interestingly, Western Michigan has one of the most prestigious jazz performance programs in the country. In 2018, two students placed in the top 10 nationally in a Downbeat Music Awards competition, the most comprehensive competition in the country for collegiate jazz musicians.  Fine Arts are integral to the Western Michigan experience; an impressive 1,400 performances each year in music, theatre, and dance are staged at this university.

Community-building is at the heart of the Western Michigan experience. To this end, Western Michigan is home to the International Congress on Medieval Studies, a unique annual event attracting over 3,000 registrants. Additionally, Western Michigan also hosts the annual International Festival, a popular event attracting thousands of participants where attendees immerse themselves in international food, fashion, and culture.