Peace Corps Announces 2011 Annual College Rankings

University of Colorado at Boulder and University of Mary Washington Earn Top Spots for the First Time

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 1, 2011 The University of Colorado at Boulder, The George Washington University and the University of Mary Washington top Peace Corps 2011 rankings of colleges and universities.

For the first time in history, the University of Colorado at Boulder outpaced other universities in providing Peace Corps volunteers, with 117 undergraduate alumni currently serving overseas. Prior to 2011, the University of Washington held the top spot for four consecutive years. Historically, the University of California, Berkeley maintains the number one all-time rank, with 3,457 Peace Corps total volunteer alumni.Magnifying glass iconUniversity of Colorado at Boulder alumna Allison Whitehead.

For the last 50 years, colleges and universities across our country have been an integral part of the Peace Corps family, from developing young leaders, to hosting trainings and teaching the importance of lifelong learning, said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. In 1961, President Kennedy created the Peace Corps in response to the passion of university students, and today we continue to be inspired by the enthusiasm, dedication, and creativity of the thousands of Americans now serving overseas. Colleges instill a commitment to public service among their students and share our belief that, together, we can work to make the world a better place.

Following are the top five colleges and universities in each undergraduate category, as well as the top graduate schools and a historical ranking. The numbers in parenthesis represent the number of alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers.

More than 15,000 undergraduates
  • University of Colorado at Boulder (117)

  • University of Florida (97)

  • University of Michigan (94)

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (94)

  • University of Washington (94)
Between 5,001 and 15,000 undergraduates
  • The George Washington University (72)

  • University of Virginia (71)

  • Western Washington University (60)

  • American University (55)

  • Cornell University (55)
Less than 5,000 undergraduates
  • University of Mary Washington (32)

  • St. Olaf College (24)

  • Lewis & Clark College (23)

  • Gonzaga University (23)

  • University of Portland (23)
Number of graduate alumni volunteers
  • University of Washington (21)

  • University of Florida (20)

  • Michigan State University (16)

  • The George Washington University (15)

  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (15)

  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (15)
Number of Alumni Volunteers
  • University of California, Berkeley (3,457)

  • University of Wisconsin - Madison (2,942)

  • University of Washington (2,676)

  • University of Michigan (2,409)

  • University of Colorado at Boulder (2,269)
In the medium school category, The George Washington University ranks number one for the third consecutive year, with 72 undergraduate alumni serving overseas.

For the first time since the establishment of the rankings, the University of Mary Washington took the top seat in the small school category, with 32 undergraduate alumni currently serving as volunteers. The University of Mary Washington has ranked among the top five in the small school category since 2005.

In the graduate school category, the University of Washington holds the top spot, with 21 currently serving volunteers holding masters degrees from the school. It was tied for first place with the University of Texas at Austin last year.

You can view the entire top 25 rankings for each category, as well as all-time and graduate school rankings, here.

Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2010 data as of September 30, 2010, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.

About the Peace Corps: President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Throughout 2011, Peace Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in 77 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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