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Updated 4:00 PM January 25, 2008
 

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University ranked top 5 in Peace Corps

U-M and Michigan State University in 2007 each produced 80 Peace Corps volunteers, tying for the top-five rank in the service-oriented organization.

Only four universities in the United States had more recent undergraduates join the Peace Corps.

In separate rankings of U.S. graduate schools producing Peace Corps volunteers, U-M ranked 2nd in the nation with 17 volunteers. The two universities also are among the top 5 for all-time volunteers: U-M ranks fourth with 2,235 volunteers since 1961.

"The Peace Corps provides a unique opportunity for graduates to use their education and skills, and apply them in the real world," says Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter.

U-M is a national leader for attracting international students and sending its students abroad, according to a recent Institute of International Education report. The IIE's Open Doors report found U-M ranked 15th in the nation for sending 1,701 students abroad during 2005-06.

When measuring the number of international students enrolled at American universities in 2006-07, U-M ranked sixth in the nation, attracting 5,429 international students to the state.

Overall, the University of California, Berkeley, has produced the most Peace Corps volunteers since 1961 with an all-time total of 3,326, followed by the University of Wisconsin, the University of Washington, U-M and MSU.

The history of the Peace Corps can be traced back to U-M when Sen. John F. Kennedy appeared at the Michigan Union at 2 a.m. Oct. 14, 1960. In his speech, he challenged the students to give two years of their lives to help people in countries of the developing world.

Within a month, Kennedy was elected president. Shortly thereafter a campaign in the student newspaper inspired more than 1,000 U-M students to sign petitions calling for the establishment of his vision. JFK quickly approved the Peace Corps.

Although it is not a requirement for service, the majority of Peace Corps volunteers 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.

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

To learn more about the Peace Corps go to www.peacecorps.gov.

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