Peace Corps Announces Top Volunteering Universities; Berkeley, Wisconsin, Washington Top All-Time List

August 25, 1997

Washington, D.C., August 25, 1997—Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan today released the names of the colleges and universities that have produced the greatest number of Peace Corps volunteers in the agency's 36-year history. The University of California at Berkeley, with 2,960 students having joined the Peace Corps, tops the list, followed by the University of Wisconsin with 2,237 volunteers, and the University of Washington with 1,990. Harvard University, one of only three private universities in the top 20, comes in at number four with 1,966 volunteers. The University of Michigan, site of President John F. Kennedy's first speech announcing the Peace Corps and calling for volunteers, rounds out the top 5, having had 1,821 of its graduates join the Peace Corps. "Throughout its history, the Peace Corps can trace much of its success to the energy and idealism of American college students," Gearan wrote in a letter of congratulations to the nation's top 50 Peace Corps schools. "These colleges and universities are to be commended for producing students committed to making a difference, with a thirst for adventure and a desire to experience a new culture in an ever-changing world." Michigan State University, University of Colorado, University of Illinois, University of California - Los Angeles and Stanford University round out the top ten. In the 36 years that the Peace Corps has been sending volunteers overseas, almost all have been college graduates. Today, 97 percent of Peace Corps volunteers hold a bachelor's degree. In March, The Black Collegian ranked the Peace Corps third in the nation in recruiting college graduates for 1997, with 3,677 job opportunities available. The agency has consistently ranked among the top three recruiters of college graduates for the past five years. Today, nearly 6,500 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 87 countries, working to help fight hunger, bring clean water to communities, teach children, start new small businesses, and stop the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.

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