Gaddi H. Vasquez Becomes Peace Corps Director

President’s Counsel Administers Oval Office Oath

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 15, 2002—Gaddi H. Vasquez was sworn in as the 16th Peace Corps director this afternoon in a private ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House. Vasquez was accompanied by his wife, Elaine, his son, Jason, and Peace Corps Chief of Staff Lloyd O. Pierson; the President’s Counsel Judge Albert Gonzalez administered the oath of office.

In remarks at a press conference following the ceremony, President Bush reiterated his support for volunteerism and repeated his call to the nation to devote two years or 4,000 hours over their lifetime to volunteer service, and to consider service in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps or the Citizen Corps.

photo of Bush speaking at podium and Vasquez standing to right

President Bush and new Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez.
The president also voiced support for the doubling of Peace Corps volunteers over the next five years.

Vasquez is the first Hispanic-American director of Peace Corps and comes to Peace Corps Washington headquarters from Orange, California, having served on the board of supervisors for the county and as the division vice president of the Southern California Edison Company.

Vasquez made remarks before a packed audience, which included former Peace Corps Directors Sargent Shriver and Elaine Chao, now U.S. secretary of labor, as well as Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez. Vasquez’ Congressman Chris Cox and Rep. Thomas Petri, who was a former Peace Corps volunteer in Somalia, also attended as did ambassadors from Bosnia, Botswana, Mexico, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Chad, Tunisia, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

Others present were over 20 current Peace Corps volunteers, in the U.S. for short-term medical leave, Deputy Director Josephine K. (Jody) Olsen, Peace Corps staff members, and Dane Smith, president of the National Peace Corps Association.

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