Peace Corps Director Urges Graduates to Consider Public Service

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 9, 2003 - Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez will address more than 7,000 graduates this commencement season from four universities and one community college. As the keynote speaker, Director Vasquez will highlight the opportunities and responsibilities that stem from education, and challenge the graduates to make a commitment to service.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the graduating class of 2003, I challenge you to embrace the ideal of service to others. Whether it be a local or community based organization or the Peace Corps, you can be the architect of hope for those with the greatest needs in our society and throughout the world. You can be the generation that sets a new standard of service to others. You can be the generation that makes service to others a way of life and not a condition of having extra time on your hands. You can be the generation that achieves peace, not merely for Americans, but peace for all men and women. You can be the generation that builds a new era of hope, opportunity, and peace,” stated Director Vasquez to the graduates of his alma mater, the University of Redlands.

Director Vasquez began his commencement speaking engagements on May 17 and is speaking at a commencement nearly every weekend through the middle of June. While addressing the graduates of the University of La Verne in Southern California, University President Stephen Morgan conferred a Doctor of Humane Letters Degree to Director Vasquez. The university estimated nearly 12,000 guests attended the ceremony.

Director Vasquez will wrap up the commencement season June 13 at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, New York. Founded in 1963, Kingsborough Community College is one of the largest community colleges in the region, serving approximately thirty thousand students per year. Kingsborough serves a widely diverse student population and ranks among the top community colleges in the country in associate degrees awarded to minority students.

Since 1961, more than 168,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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