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Peace Corps and University of Michigan Announce New Opportunities for Students to Combine Volunteer Service with Graduate School

CHICAGO, March 26, 2014 – Today, the Peace Corps and the University of Michigan announced two new partnership agreements that will offer more students the opportunity to combine their graduate degree with Peace Corps service. At a ceremony on campus, Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet, University of Michigan Vice Provost for Global and Engaged Education James Paul Holloway, and School of Information Dean Jeffrey MacKie-Mason signed agreements that introduce a Master’s International program and a Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program at the School of Information. 

“The Peace Corps and the University of Michigan share a special history, and today I’m happy to be here to celebrate our ongoing and expanding partnership,” Hessler-Radelet said. “A degree from the University of Michigan alongside Peace Corps volunteer service gives students the 21st century skills and experience they need to succeed in today’s global economy.”   

The two new programs bring the total number of Peace Corps graduate programs at the University of Michigan to 11 across seven distinct fields of study. The Peace Corps currently partners with the University to offer graduate studies at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, the School of Natural Resources and Environment, the School of Education, the School of Social Work, the School of Nursing, and the School of Art and Design. The Peace Corps Master’s International program allows students to earn a graduate degree while serving overseas, and the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program provides returned Peace Corps volunteers with scholarships, academic credit and stipends toward an advanced degree after they complete their Peace Corps service.

“The School of Information is committed to giving students opportunities to help people use information, with technology, to build a better world,” MacKie-Mason said. “The Peace Corps offers students an unparalleled chance to put that knowledge into practice, creating innovative solutions to help others. We are delighted to recognize that experience with our new Coverdell Fellows Program, and to encourage students to obtain it with the Master's International program.”

With 25 returned Peace Corps volunteers currently enrolled as Coverdell Fellows, the University of Michigan’s program is one of Peace Corps’ largest nationwide. Since 2007, when the Coverdell Fellows Program began at the University’s Ford School of Public Policy and School of Natural Resources and Environment, more than 100 returned volunteers have graduated. In addition, 10 Michigan Master’s International students are currently serving abroad as Peace Corps volunteers, and several others are preparing to depart for service this year.  

The University of Michigan consistently ranks among the top colleges and universities in the country for Peace Corps recruits. In 2014, the University ranked No. 5 in the nation for current Peace Corps volunteers and No. 4 all-time, with 2,556 alums who have served since 1961. During her visit, Hessler-Radelet also spoke at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy as part of the school’s Policy Talks series.

The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to the University of Michigan when, in 1960 on the steps of the Michigan Union, then-Sen. John F. Kennedy challenged students to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. The school has continued to enjoy a close relationship with the Peace Corps and houses a campus recruitment office at the International Center, 603 E. Madison, Room 10. For more information, contact 734.647.2182 or peace.corps@umich.edu, and visit www.facebook.com/UMPeaceCorps.

About the Peace Corps: As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps volunteers work at the grassroots level with local governments, schools, communities, small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. When they return home, volunteers bring their knowledge and experiences – and a global outlook – back to the United States that enriches the lives of those around them. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding among Americans and people of other countries. Since then, more than 215,000 Americans of all ages have served in 139 countries worldwide. Visit www.peacecorps.gov to learn more.

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