Peace Corps Rates U.Va. No. 1

January 14, 2008
January 14, 2008 — The University of Virginia is again No. 1 — and this time not in any athletic ranking or magazine listing of top universities. U.Va. tops the list of medium-sized colleges and universities that produced the most Peace Corps volunteers in 2007.

After slipping to second place in the ranking last year, U.Va. regained the top spot among medium-sized institutions with an undergraduate enrollment of between 5,001 and 15,000 students. Last year, 72 U.Va. graduates made the 27-month commitment to serve in the corps, slightly more than George Washington University's total of 66, the Peace Corps announced Monday.

The significance of the University's achievement goes beyond mere numbers.

"The University's contributions to the Peace Corps numbers continue to reflect the significant and laudable interests of our students in both the world at large and careers that target service," said Leigh B. Grossman, U.Va.'s vice provost for international affairs. "This achievement is an important reflection of the quality and commitment of our students, of whom we are justly very proud."

Said Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter, "The Peace Corps provides a unique opportunity for graduates to use their education and skills, and apply them in the real world. I am proud that there are 1,192 institutions of higher learning currently represented by Peace Corps Volunteers serving in 74 countries overseas. These institutions can be proud of the contributions that their graduates are making in the lives of others around the globe."

Virginia has been the top-rated medium-sized school for five of the past six years. Since the Peace Corps' inception in 1961, U.Va. has produced 938 volunteers, and is poised to go over the 1,000-volunteer mark this year.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where volunteers have served.

Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

In the large schools category, the University of Washington continues to rank first with 113 undergraduate alumni serving as volunteers. Among the small schools, the University of Chicago comes out on top with 34 undergraduate alumni volunteers.

The University of Washington also leads the pack in the third annual graduate school rankings with 17 graduate school alumni serving.

Overall, the University of California-Berkeley has produced the most Peace Corps volunteers since 1961 with an all-time total of 3,326.

Although it is not a requirement for service, the majority of volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since its founding 46 years ago have been college graduates. Currently, 95 percent of volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree, with 11 percent of those also possessing a graduate-level degree.

The Peace Corps' list of the medium-sized colleges and universities that produced the most Peace Corps volunteers in 2007:  
University of Virginia 72
George Washington University 66
Western Washington University 53
Cornell University 52
College of William & Mary 51
University of California-Santa Cruz 50
American University 45
Boston College 42
Georgetown University 42
Miami University 42