At lunch with some retired folks here in Williamsburg, Virginia I asked “Don’t you miss your friends back in D.C.?” No, they replied, “We went to William and Mary [the local liberal arts college] and 21 of our friends from school have retired here as well. We have more friends here in Williamsburg than we do back where we lived when we were working.”
College is the time when a lot of people form their closest friendships. Perhaps it makes sense to pick a college based on whether the town is a reasonable retirement destination.
Duke and UNC Chapel Hill are good (warm weather, cheap housing). Yale is bad (high-crime neighborhood, cold weather). Harvard and MIT are bad ($2 million fixer-upper houses, cruel winters). Any school in Florida is prime!