The University of Virginia ranked No. 2 nationally among medium-sized schools in the Peace Corps’ annual rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities, the organization announced Tuesday. U.Va. has 44 alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers worldwide.
The University has consistently ranked on the Peace Corps’ Top Colleges list in the large school category, ranking 21st in 2013 and 18th in 2012. This year, U.Va. moved back from the large category to the medium category with less than 15,000 undergraduate students. In 2011, U.Va. also ranked second amongst medium-sized institutions.
“The same passion that launched the Peace Corps more than 50 years ago fuels progress in developing countries today, thanks to the leadership and creativity that college graduates bring to their Peace Corps service,” Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “The unique Peace Corps experience helps recent graduates cultivate highly sought-after skills that will launch their careers in today’s global economy.”
Since the Peace Corps was established in 1961, more than 1,100 U.Va. graduates have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers. The University also is one of the top-producing schools in Virginia, along with Virginia Tech (39 volunteers) and James Madison University (30 volunteers).
U.Va. alumnus Christopher Barfield, who earned a degree in foreign affairs from the College of Arts & Sciences in 2009, is currently serving as an education volunteer in Ethiopia. He’s providing English-language teaching methodology and project design and management trainings to future elementary school teachers.
“Thomas Jefferson’s legacy of public service and open-mindedness, coupled with U.Va.’s rigorous work ethic, prepared me to take on this huge challenge,” Barfield said. “Would I recommend Peace Corps? Yes! Where else can you get two years of international government job experience, not to mention the opportunity to take a transformational life journey? There are still frontiers left to explore – help be the change in the next generation of Americans.”
The Peace Corps has eight regional recruitment offices across the United States that work closely with prospective volunteers to ensure that all Americans who want to serve have the opportunity to do so. The Mid-Atlantic regional recruitment office serves U.Va., and Peace Corps recruiters are based throughout the region.
The Peace Corps ranks the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. Below are the top five colleges and universities in each category and the number of alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers.
Large Colleges & Universities (15,000 or more undergraduates):
1. University of Wisconsin-Madison 90
2. (tie) University of Washington, University of Florida 85
4. The Ohio State University 83
5. University of Michigan 81
Medium Colleges & Universities (5,000 to 14,999 undergraduates):
1. Western Washington University 65
2. University of Virginia 44
3. American University 43
4. The George Washington University 41
5. (tie) Cornell University, University of Vermont 29
Small Colleges & Universities (fewer than 5,000 undergraduates):
1. Gonzaga University 22
2. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 17
3. (tie) Carleton College, Macalester College, Pacific Lutheran University 16
Graduate Schools – Total Volunteers:
1. University of Denver 23
2. (tie) University of Washington and Tulane University 20
4. University of Florida 17
5. (tie) University of Pittsburgh, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of South Florida, The University of Texas at Austin 13
Historical, Since 1961 – Total Volunteers:
1. University of California-Berkeley 3,576
2. University of Wisconsin-Madison 3,112
3. University of Washington 2,840
4. University of Michigan 2,556
5. University of Colorado-Boulder 2,385
* Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2013 data as of Sept. 30, 2013, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.