Peace Corps Announces Top Volunteer-Producing Universities and Colleges; Wisconsin, Colorado, Washington Top Current List
January 3, 1999Washington, D.C., January 3, 1999—Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan today released the names of the colleges and universities with the largest number of Peace Corps volunteers currently serving overseas.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison, with 116 graduates currently serving, tops the list, followed by the University of Colorado at Boulder with 91 volunteers, and the University of Washington with 75. University of Illinois comes in at number four with 73 volunteers. The University of Michigan, site of President John F. Kennedy's speech in 1960 proposing the Peace Corps, rounds out the top five, with 71 of its graduates now serving in the Peace Corps. "Together, these colleges and the Peace Corps share a strong relationship," Gearan said. "We hope to continue this spirit in the months ahead as we work to recruit a new generation of Peace Corps volunteers, who will be serving overseas when the next millennium arrives." The Peace Corps will be recruiting more volunteers this year than in the past 25 years, due to an 8 percent budget increase that brought the agency's annual budget to $240 million. More than 400 additional volunteers will be recruited in 1999, most in education and health, which will bring the total number of volunteers to more than 7,400 by the end of the fiscal year, the highest total since the end of 1974. The Peace Corps also released the list of its top 25 small colleges and universities, those with less than 5,000 undergraduates. American University in Washington, D.C. holds the number one spot with 36 alumni currently serving, followed by the University of Chicago with 23, Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., with 21 volunteers. In the 37 years that the Peace Corps has been sending volunteers overseas, almost all have been college graduates. Today, 97 percent of Peace Corps volunteers hold at least a bachelor's degree, while 15 percent have a graduate degree. Currently, nearly 6,700 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 80 countries, working to help fight hunger, bring clean water to communities, teach children, help start new small businesses, and stop the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.