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Updated 10:00 AM February 2, 2009
 

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U-M in top five for Peace Corps volunteers

With 82 alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps, the University remains among the top five on a top 25 list of large schools nationwide producing program volunteers.

U-M has made the Peace Corps' Top Schools list since the ranking system began in 2001, and also ranked fifth last year.

The history of the Peace Corps can be traced back to U-M when then-Sen. John F. Kennedy addressed students on the steps of the Michigan Union at 2 a.m. Oct. 14, 1960, as he stumped for president. In his campaign speech, he challenged the students to give two years of their lives to help people in countries of the developing world. Since the inception of the Peace Corps in 1961, 2,276 U-M alumni have served — the fourth most of any university.

The University of Washington holds the top rank for large schools on this year's list, with 104 graduates serving as volunteers. All together, the Peace Corps has seen a 16-percent increase in applications this year, the largest in five years.

"The Peace Corps relies heavily on the graduates of contributing schools from across the country," says Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter. "Their education and experiences add to the diversity of the Peace Corps and its success in the host countries."

The majority of volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since its inception 48 years ago have been college graduates; however, it is not a requirement for service. Ninety-four percent of volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree and 9 percent have a graduate degree.

U-M also offers a new Peace Corps Fellows/USA graduate program in the areas of natural resources and environment, landscape architecture and public policy. The program offers Peace Corps volunteers who have completed their service the opportunity to attend U-M to earn an advanced degree, with tuition assistance and the chance to use their knowledge and skills in community internships as part of the program's requirements.

Currently 7,876 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 76 countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age, but there is no upper age limit to serve. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, including comprehensive language, cultural, safety and security, and program training.

For more information call (734) 647-2182 or e-mail peace.corps@umich.edu. Non-U-M students can go to www.peacecorps.gov or call (800) 424-8580.

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