February 5, 2013

UW is first again for Peace Corps volunteers, joined by WWU and Gonzaga

News and Information

The University of Washington is No. 1 again among large universities (more than 15,000 students) for alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps.

President Young and Peace Corps acting director

President Young receives congratulations from Carrie Hessler-Radelet, acting director of the Peace Corps.

This year, UW is joined at the top spot by Western Washington University, first among medium-sized schools (5,000 to 15,000 students), and Gonzaga University, the leader among small schools (fewer than 5,000 students).

The UW has ranked first five times, more than any other university.  WWU and Gonzaga were each top-ranked for the first time. It’s the first time the top schools in all three categories are in the same state. The results were presented at a news conference on the UW campus Tuesday (Feb. 5).

“We are proud to be a public university that is globally engaged and whose graduates show it,” said UW President Michael K. Young. “Our students have a passion for changing the world and a determination to get on the ground and make a difference.  We couldn’t be prouder of all of those who have chosen and been chosen to serve.”

Since the agency was founded in 1961, 2,738 UW alumni have served as Peace Corps volunteers.

“Every year, graduates of colleges and universities across the United States are making a difference in communities overseas through Peace Corps service,” said Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Peace Corps acting director. “As a result of the top-notch education they receive, these graduates are well-prepared for the challenge of international service. They become leaders in their host communities and carry the spirit of service and leadership back with them when they return home.”

Currently, more than 8,000 volunteers from across the U.S. are working with communities in 76 host countries on projects related to agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth development. Some 90 percent of volunteer positions require a bachelor’s degree. The agency particularly seeks people with backgrounds in agriculture, environment, teaching English as a second language, and other technical or language skills related to Peace Corps assignment areas. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

The UW currently has 107 undergraduate alumni serving in the agency.  WWU has 73, and Gonzaga has 24.