Congratulations to the University of Washington, Western Washington University and Gonzaga University for producing more Peace Corps volunteers than any other undergraduate colleges. The Peace Corps ranks colleges by size: large colleges (more than 15,000 undergraduates), medium colleges (5,000 to 15,000 undergraduates), small colleges (fewer than 5,000 undergraduates) and graduate schools; for the first time ever, all three of the top undergraduate institutions are located in the same state.  

The 2013 Top Colleges ranking tracks university alumni that are currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers. University of Washington alumni are serving in 46 countries on projects in agriculture, community and economic development, the environment, health care and youth development. Overall, 2,797 University of Washington alumni have volunteered with the Peace Corps, good for a third-place spot on the historical volunteers list. The University of California at Berkeley tops the all-time volunteer list, which includes volunteers since 1961, with 3,544 total volunteers. 

Although the University of Washington topped the list of large colleges with 107 volunteers, it shares this spot with the University of Florida. The Gators made a big jump in year-over-year numbers; last year the university was ranked fourth. This three-position jump was the largest increase by undergraduate institutions this year.

University of Florida alumni are working in similar fields but are spread out among 48 countries. To date, more than 1,200 University of Florida graduates have volunteered with the Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps tradition at the University of Florida extends to graduate students as well; the Gators ranked number one among grad school Peace Corps volunteers with 26 participants in 2013.

Peace Corps 2013 Top Colleges

Large colleges:

  1. University of Washington – 107 volunteers
  2. University of Florida – 107
  3. University of Wisconsin-Madison – 103
  4. University of Colorado Boulder – 93
  5. University of Michigan – 93
Medium colleges:
  1. Western Washington University – 73 volunteers
  2. American University – 55
  3. The George Washington University – 53
  4. Cornell University – 40
  5. The University of Vermont – 37
Small colleges:
  1. Gonzaga University – 24 volunteers
  2. St. Olaf College – 22
  3. University of Mary Washington – 21
  4. Oberlin College & Conservatory – 20
  5. Seattle University – 19
Graduate schools:
  1. University of Florida – 26 volunteers
  2. University of Denver – 20
  3. University of Washington – 20
  4. Tulane University – 16
  5. Colorado State University – 15
The Peace Corps was founded in 1960 after Sen. John F. Kennedy Jr. challenged students to devote themselves to peace by living and working in developing countries. Since its inception, more than 210,000 volunteers have served in 139 countries.  

Today, Peace Corps volunteers serve in 76 countries in several major work areas including education, health, community economic development, the environment, youth in development and agriculture. More volunteers serve in Africa, 43 percent, than any other region.  

Famous Peace Corps alumni include Bob Vila, who served in Panama from 1971 to 1973, Chris Matthews (Swaziland 1968-1970), and Netflix founder Reed Hastings (Swaziland 1983-1985). (Source: Parade)

Find out more about volunteering with the Peace Corps by watching the video below and visiting the organization’s website: How Do I Become a Volunteer?

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