January 31, 2006 — For the fourth year in a row, the University of Virginia ranks No. 1 among medium-size colleges and universities in the number of alumni who currently serve as Peace Corps volunteers.
With 80 alumni serving as volunteers, U.Va. is fifth highest among all colleges and universities, regardless of size.
Since the Peace Corps inception 45 years ago, 838 alumni of the University of Virginia have joined its ranks, making the university the No. 33 producer of volunteers throughout its history.
“I believe that one of the reasons we do so well in recruiting volunteers,” said Leigh Grossman, U.Va.’s Vice Provost for International Affairs, “is because during their four years here, our students are so involved in community service.” Grossman also sees the University’s commitment to international study as another factor in the Peace Corps’ popularity among students. “The Peace Corps represents a perfect marriage between community service and wanting to pursue international careers.”
For the first time this year, Peace Corps has also tabulated rankings for volunteers with advanced degrees, and U.Va. is ranked No. 23 on that list, with seven alumni with advanced degrees currently serving as volunteers.
In the Peace Corps rankings, schools are divided into three categories based on the size of their undergraduate student bodies. Small schools have fewer than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-size schools are those having between 5,001 to 15,000 undergraduates, and large schools are those with more than 15,000 undergraduates.
Since 1961, more than 182,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, 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 requires a 27-month commitment.
Top 10 Medium-Size Colleges and Universities and Number of Volunteers
1. University of Virginia 80
2. James Madison University 65
3. Georgetown University 54
4. Western Washington University 50
5. George Washington University 49
6. Cornell University 48
7. University of California – Santa Cruz 43
8. University of Pennsylvania 42
9. University of Montana 39
10. College of William and Mary 38