UCSC ranks sixth in number of graduates serving in Peace Corps

With 52 volunteers, UCSC has been ranked sixth among mid-sized institutions for the number of its former students serving in the Peace Corps.

More and more college graduates are joining the Peace Corps, with top-ranking institutions having, on average, 15 percent more of their alumni become volunteers than last year. UCSC did twice that well, with a 30 percent increase over last year's total of 40 volunteers.

"UCSC is one of the few schools founded after the Peace Corps was already established," noted Dennis McMahon of the San Francisco office of the Peace Corps, "but it has certainly made up for lost time."

McMahon said that in his experience, UCSC students are very socially conscious and concerned about the world and how the United States represents itself to the world. "I think that concern breeds a strong impulse to want to do something about it, and the Peace Corps is one of the avenues for that."

For the tenth year in a row, the University of Wisconsin-Madison had the highest number of alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers with 142 volunteers, up from 123 last year. Leading the way in the medium-size colleges and universities category, the University of Virginia held its top ranking for a second year, increasing its number of alumni volunteers serving from 68 to 75. In the small colleges and universities category, the University of Chicago moved from third to first place with 34 alumni serving, up from 24 last year. Schools are ranked according to the size of the student body. Small schools are those with less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-size schools are those between 5,001 and 15,000 undergraduates, and large schools are those with more than 15,000 undergraduates.

Other UC campuses also were listed, in the large-college category. UC Berkeley ranked sixth, UC Santa Barbara was in a three-way tie for eighth, and UCLA was fifteenth.

There are currently 7,533 Peace Corps volunteers serving in the field, the highest level since 1974. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.