Notable alumni: Robert Kennedy, Katie Couric, Robert Mueller, Woodrow Wilson, Edgar Allen Poe, Tiki Barber, Tina Fey, Georgia O'Keeffe
Why it's great: It's rare that the founder of a university was an actual Founding Father, but such is the case with UVA, which was started by Thomas Jefferson, presided over by Jameses Madison and Monroe, and counted young Woodrow Wilson as one of its students (we like to think of him pranking the dean on the regular). That's a lot of pedigree, and the university has spent the majority of the intervening 200 years keeping up with it, from its lovely post-colonial campus to a list of alumni that reads like a who's who of intellectuals, politicians, and media elites (and Richard Spencer, who is very good at getting punched and ruining great alumni lists). And lest you think that its world-class curriculum -- biology, psychology, international affairs, business, you name it -- and rich history means it's a bunch of nerdlingers resting on their academic laurels, it's also a consistent March Madness contender and a stalwart in tennis, baseball and, rowing. Because of course UVA is good at rowing.