"I'm so proud of them all. They are all so freaking awesome. And the fact of the matter is, these students are as awesome as any student at an elite slac or at a fancy R1. They just don't have the histories that would have gotten them there. And no, I don't believe that choosing a CC for the first two years and then transferring to a fancy place would have insured some sort of brighter future for them. So when people talk about how institutions like mine are "doomed," well, I say to those people, you don't know what an institution like mine can do for students who would do just as well at fancier establishments, but who didn't have the guidance, support, or money to get there. My students rock, y'all. Maybe not all of them, but having taught at an R1 as a grad student, I can say with all confidence that not all of them rocked either."
Do students at R1 universities really have a reputation as rocking? Even if they do, I doubt the overall quality of education you get sitting in lecture halls can really compare with that in any smaller environment.