February 23, 2004

Emory 12th in Peace Corps ranking

By Deb Hammacher

Emory ranked 12th in the nation among midsized schools in producing the most Peace Corps volunteers in 2003, according to the organization's annual listing of the top volunteer-producing schools. With 6,300 undergraduates, Emory is smaller than all but one school ranked in the Top 10 of the midsized category, and is about half the size of the top two midsized universities.

Currently some 33 Emory graduates are serving in the field for the Peace Corps, enough to rank 37th nationally among colleges and universities of all sizes. Small schools are those with less than 5,000 undergraduates; medium-size schools are those with 5,001-15,000 undergraduates; and large schools are those with more than 15,000 undergraduates.

"The important role that these alumni continue to play in promoting hope, opportunity and freedom cannot be underestimated," said Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. "We at the Peace Corps are pleased and excited that an increasing number of college alumni are not only considering Peace Corps, but are answering the call to service that is so necessary and imperative in our global community."

To date, Emory has had more than 350 graduates serve in the Peace Corps. The majority of volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps' 43-year history are college graduates. Currently, 83 percent of volunteers have undergraduate degrees, and 14 percent have graduate degrees or have studied at the graduate level.

This year's 7,533 volunteers and trainees--the highest number since 1974--are serving in 71 different countries. Since 1961, more than 170,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health and HIV/AIDS awareness and education, information technology, business development, the environment and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age, and volunteers serve a minimum two-year commitment.