Peace Corps' Top 25 Small Volunteering Universities; Chicago, Dartmouth, Oberlin Top Historic List
December 1, 1997Washington, D.C., December 1, 1997—Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan today released the names of the top small colleges and universities—with undergraduate enrollment of less than 5,000 students—that have produced the greatest number of Peace Corps volunteers in the agency's 36-year history. The University of Chicago, with 519 alumni having joined the Peace Corps, tops the historic list of small schools, followed by Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. with 482 volunteers, and Oberlin College in Ohio with 407. Tufts University in Medford, Mass., ranks fourth with 359 volunteers, while Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. ranks fifth, having had 354 of its graduates join the Peace Corps. St. Olaf College, Middlebury College, University of Rochester, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Emory University round out the top 10 in that order. "Throughout its history, the Peace Corps can trace much of its success to the energy and idealism of American college students," Gearan wrote in individual letters of congratulations to Peace Corps' top small schools. "These colleges and universities can take great pride in having instilled in their students a spirit of service and a sense of adventure. By serving as Peace Corps Volunteers, these alumni have made a difference in the lives of people overseas and here at home." 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. The University of California at Berkeley has produced the most Peace Corps volunteers of all schools, with 2,960 alumni having joined. 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, more than 6,600 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 prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.