Forbes has declared the University of Minnesota one of the Most Improved Colleges in the country, which should spark some civic pride and some squinty-eyed suspicion as well. What was wrong in the first place? Were graduates throwing their caps in the air shouting ME LEARNT GUD, then shrieking in panic when some magic force made the caps fall back to Earth?

Herewith, some possible reasons, gleaned from news stories, that might explain why the U's back to World-Class Status.

• Large, shambling blobs of flesh emitting a greasy, squeaking sound no longer escaping from the Medical Experiments building on a regular basis.

• Restored Northrop Auditorium acoustics no longer described as making a great symphony orchestra sound like "frog flatulence in a sack stuffed with straw."

• School of Applied Procrastination finally graduated the class of '72.

• Demolition of Metrodome means some introductory classes now held in smaller, more intimate venues, like the Grandstand at the State Fair.

• Gopher football fails in a much more attractive facility.

• Tuition bills now include scratch-off lottery tickets.

• Ag school now offers gluten-free degree.

• St. Paul campus students no longer required to wear a large square bell around their neck when they come to the Minneapolis campus.

• Renovation of Psychology Department building means professors no longer pretend mold stains on walls are Rorschach blots.

• Law school now recognizes watching "Judge Judy" as progress toward a degree.

• Budgets restored to theater school, enabling it to put on plays that include the last act.

Remember, these are the best years of your life! Which is why you'll be paying for them until you're dead.