UW-Madison No. 2 in producing Peace Corps volunteers

Jan. 15, 2008

For the second straight year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is second in the nation in producing alumni volunteers to the Peace Corps.

The 2007 ranking continues the university's strong relationship with the service institution, which included 20 straight years as the Corps' top producer from 1986-2005.

The rankings released this week by the Peace Corps show that in the large schools category, the University of Washington ranks first, with 113 undergraduate alumni serving as volunteers. UW-Madison holds second place with 99 undergraduate alumni volunteers, and the University of Colorado at Boulder follows closely behind with 94 volunteers.

Alumni of UW-Madison and the Peace Corps continue to have a strong historical bond. Since Peace Corps' inception, 2,812 alumni of UW-Madison have joined the ranks, making it the second leading producer of volunteers of all time, says Greg Pepping, Peace Corps representative for UW-Madison.

"This is an awesome campus for generating Peace Corps volunteers. The community at UW-Madison offers an environment that produces alumni who really care about people. Because Madison alumni care, they make great volunteers. We can be proud of that," Pepping says.

One of the many distinguishing features about UW-Madison is its Master's International Program, offered by six UW departments, that helps volunteers earn advance degrees for their time and experiences in the Peace Corps.

"Every day I'm impressed with the commitment UW-Madison students have to make a difference in the world. Every day I talk to students excited about serving overseas in Peace Corps," Pepping says.

Schools are ranked according to the size of the student body. Small schools are those with less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-sized schools have between 5,001 to 15,000 undergraduates, and large schools more than 15,000 undergraduates.

Although it is not a requirement for service, the majority of volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since its founding 46 years ago 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.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where volunteers have served.

Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.