CU-Boulder repeats as Peace Corps champion

Volunteers help retain top national ranking; CU Denver a Top 20 graduate school
By Staff

CU-Boulder Peace Corps
For the second straight year, the University of Colorado Boulder is ranked No. 1 in the nation for graduates serving as Peace Corps volunteers with 112 undergraduate alumni currently serving around the world, the Peace Corps announced today.

CU-Boulder also is ranked the No. 5 all-time school for volunteers with 2,317 alumni who have served in the Peace Corps since it was established in 1961.

CU Denver, meanwhile, made its debut in the Peace Corps’ Top 20 graduate schools nationally, landing at No. 18.

“For the second year in a row, CU-Boulder has produced more Peace Corps volunteers than any other university in the nation,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. “CU fosters civic engagement and participation, and students graduate from CU with the language and cross-cultural skills necessary to make them successful during their 27 months of Peace Corps service.”

The University of Washington ranked No. 2 for large schools this year with 110 undergraduate alumni serving. Also in the Top 5, in descending order, were the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Florida and the University of Michigan.

“Our No. 1 Peace Corps ranking for volunteer service is tangible evidence of something we have always known: Our students and graduates are service-oriented and down-to-earth, working tirelessly to benefit communities around the globe,” said Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “It emphasizes how CU-Boulder’s civically engaged students go on to become service-oriented citizens at home and abroad.”

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing schools annually according to the size of the student body. Large schools have more than 15,000 undergraduates, medium-sized schools have between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates, and small schools have fewer than 5,000 undergraduates.

The George Washington University ranked first among medium-sized schools with 78 undergraduate alumni currently serving and the University of Mary Washington ranked highest among small schools with 29 undergraduate alumni serving. The University of Florida ranked as the top producing school for graduate school alumni volunteers with 30.

Each year since 2004, CU-Boulder has ranked in the top three schools in the nation for Peace Corps volunteers -- three times as the No. 2 school and four times at No. 3.

“We have a track record of attracting adventurous students who also have a hunger to serve, particularly in underdeveloped nations,” said Peter Simons, director of CU-Boulder’s Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement.

In 2010, CU-Boulder became part of the Peace Corps Master’s International program, which allows volunteers to combine Peace Corps service with a master’s degree program and receive credit for their Peace Corps service abroad.

From CU Denver, there currently are 11 graduate students serving overseas with Peace Corps, up from the nine volunteers who were serving last year.

“Over the past few years we’ve seen a steady increase across the state from people showing more interest in Peace Corps service,” said Mike McKay, Southwest regional manager for Peace Corps. “This year, several Colorado colleges and universities ranked among the top schools. CU Denver’s rank is significant because there were over 500 graduate schools rated in this category.”

Peace Corps’ nine regional recruiting offices across the United States work to recruit and provide information and guidance to prospective Peace Corps volunteers. The Southwest Regional Recruiting Office serves Colorado and nine other states. Applicants are encouraged to plan ahead and apply for Peace Corps service one year in advance of their target departure date. Locate your local regional recruiting office by visiting the Peace Corps website here.

You can view the entire top 25 rankings for each school size category, as well as all-time and graduate school rankings here.

For more information about the Peace Corps at CU-Boulder, call the campus recruiting office at 303-492-8454 or visit