Many of the big college-related stories of a year ago continued to seethe and roil during 2012, with the additions of yet more gun violence, a heroic med school evacuation, soaring student debt and the final chapter in Penn State's sex abuse scandal.
As the year wound to a close, the top story on any list was the horrific shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six staff members, including young teachers, at Sandy Hook Elementary before shooting himself. Last July, the scene was a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado where James Holmes, a grad student, was arrested for killing 12 people and injuring scores more at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie.
As the last days of 2012 ticked down, President Barack Obama and U.S. legislators were weighing ways to curb the violence - and the NRA had proposed placing armed guards at schools across the country. (Critics pointed out that Virginia Tech had an armed police department, Columbine High School, site of a mass shooting in Colorado in 1999, had an armed guard and Fort Hood is a military base. At least one Facebook poster responded to the NRA proposal by suggesting they place a teacher in each gun store instead.)
Now more than 300 college presidents have signed letters urging Obama to act decisively and offering their help in addressing gun violence and mental health issues.