Jump to Content or Main Navigation

Scenic images from the field

Peace Corps Announces the Colleges and Universities that Have Produced the Most Peace Corps Volunteers

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2005 Every year college graduates from across the country answer the call to service, leaving behind family and friends, to become Peace Corps volunteers. This year and annually, Director Gaddi H. Vasquez, and all Peace Corps staff, recognize those alumni who do their part to advance the mission of the Peace Corps.

For over a decade, the University of Wisconsin at Madison has been the overall top producer for large colleges. This year is no different, as UW-Madison keeps their No. 1 title with 129 volunteers serving in the field. Also, on their way to becoming perennial contenders are the University of Virginia, which again claims the top spot for medium schools with 84 alumni currently serving as volunteers, and the University of Chicago, which tops the small school list with 39 alumni currently serving as volunteers. Special recognition also goes to Grinnell College which with an enrollment of just over 1,500 has the best per capita volunteer rate with 23 alumni currently serving.

Among the all-time top producing schools, the University of California at Berkeley continues to be No. 1 the only school to have produced more than 3,000 volunteers since the Peace Corps' inception in 1961.

"The diversity of alumni serving as volunteers coming from all backgrounds and regions of the country has helped the Peace Corps represent the true face of America," said Director Vasquez. "We are pleased that so many graduates have taken the journey to make the world a better place for all of us to share."

Although the top schools in each category remained the same, the rest of the list had plenty of movement, especially among the medium and small colleges. The University of California at San Diego entered the large schools list at No. 25. Medium schools entering the list this year are the University of Idaho (No. 23), Duke University (No. 24), and the University of Vermont (No. 24). Small schools entering the list include Mount Holyoke College (No. 13), Lewis & Clark College (No. 16), Seattle University (No. 16), St. Olaf College (No. 16), Evergreen State College (No. 21), Barnard College (No. 22), and Bryn Mawr College (No. 24). Also, due to a change in the way enrollment is calculated to include undergraduate enrollment only, the University of Denver debuted in fourth place on the small school list.

Several schools took big leaps up the rankings this year, as they added alumni to the ranks of volunteers serving in the field. Boston University's 63 alumni moved the school up eight spots to No. 11 on the large schools list. Brown Universitys 38 alumni moved it up six spots to No. 11 on the medium schools list. And, the University of Mary Washington took the biggest leap, moving up 13 spots to No. 7 on the small schools list.

Schools are ranked according to the size of the student body. Small schools are those with less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-size schools are those between 5,001 to 15,000 undergraduates, and large schools are those with more than 15,000 undergraduates. To view the entire 2005 "Top Producing Colleges and Universities" list, please click here.

Although it is not a requirement for service, the majority of volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps over the past 43 years have been college graduates. Currently, 97 percent of volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree, with 13 percent of those also possessing a graduate level degree. However, over the years, the Peace Corps has also enjoyed the support and interest of high school graduates and community college graduates, and a number of community colleges also produce alumni who are serving as volunteers today.

Since 1961, more than 178,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technng in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

Peace Corps RSS Feeds

Get Peace Corps headlines delivered in real-time from the Peace Corps RSS feed.

Peace Corps Digital Library

Digital Library

Share your service experience through stories and photos.

Visit the Digital Library