The University Record, September 3, 1997

U ranks 5th in Peace Corps placements

John F. Kennedy first mentioned the concept of the Peace Corps on the steps of the Michigan Union during a campaign swing through Ann Arbor. A plaque marks the location. Photo from Photo Services Archive

By Rebecca A. Doyle

The University of Michigan ranks fifth among all colleges and universities in the number of alumni who have joined the Peace Corps, according to Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan. In the 36 years since the Peace Corps was first announced by President John F. Kennedy, 1,821 Michigan alumni have joined.

"Throughout its history, the Peace Corps can trace much of its success to the energy and idealism of American college students," Gearan wrote in his letter of congratulation to President Lee C. Bollinger. "These colleges and universities are to be commended for producing students committed to making a difference, with a thirst for adventure, and with the desire to experience a new culture in an ever-changing world."

Kennedy announced the concept of the Peace Corps on the steps of the Michigan Union on Oct. 14, 1960, and called for volunteers. Within weeks, 1,000 Michigan students had signed a petition calling for the establishment of the Peace Corps program. Since the program officially began in 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.