WWU again ranked No. 1 by Peace Corps

Western Today staff

The Peace Corps today released the 2014 rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country. This year, Western Washington University was ranked No. 1 among medium-sized schools, with 65 alumni currently volunteering worldwide.

This was the second consecutive year that Western Washington University has held the top spot overall in its category. Over the past 10 years the university has been ranked seventh or better each year among medium schools nationwide.

“Western is very proud to receive this recognition for the second year in a row.  Many students come to Western looking to make a difference in the world.  Our aim is to empower them with learning experiences in and out of the classroom so that they can put their higher education to higher purposes wherever they are after graduation,” said Western President Bruce Shepard.

Since the first days of the Peace Corps, 914 alumni from Western Washington University have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.

“The mentality at Western embodies all that the Peace Corps is about,” said Western alumnus Lukas Paul Henke, a youth development volunteer in Ukraine.  “Be it through the Political Science Department, the Student Union, Athletics, and even the recreational and club sports, Western lives its motto: ‘Active Minds Changing Lives.’ From day one at WWU, I was taught how to learn not what to learn, how to educate myself through others, through participation, and to test the waters in many fields to see if I can find my true passions. It couldn't have prepared me more for the ‘be part of something that is bigger than yourself' aura that permeates the mentality at Peace Corps and specifically within Peace Corps Ukraine.”

Peace Corps volunteers live and work at the community level and promote a better understanding between Americans and the people they serve, while at the same time becoming global citizens.

“We take great pride in Western Washington University for their second year as the top ranked medium-sized school and their continuing commitment to produce volunteers devoted to becoming global citizens by sharing their talents and building friendships in communities around the world,” said Peace Corps West Coast Regional Manager Janet Allen. “We congratulate and thank Western for developing generous, globally minded individuals inspired to answer the call to serve the Peace Corps mission to promote world peace and friendship.”

Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world and make a lasting difference in the lives of others.

“The same passion that launched the Peace Corps more than 50 years ago fuels progress in developing countries today thanks to the leadership and creativity that college graduates bring to their Peace Corps service,” said Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “The unique Peace Corps experience helps recent graduates cultivate highly sought-after skills that will launch their careers in today’s global economy.”

When they return home, volunteers bring knowledge and experiences that give them a competitive edge for 21st century jobs and advanced educational opportunities. They give back to their own communities and enrich the lives of those around them, helping to strengthen international ties and increase our country’s global competitiveness.

The Peace Corps has six recruitment regions across the United States that work closely with prospective volunteers to ensure that all Americans who want to serve have the opportunity to do so. The West Coast Region serves Western Washington University, and Peace Corps recruiters are based throughout the area. Find the recruitment office near you by visiting the Peace Corps website here.

Those at WWU who are interested in learning more about the Peace Corps may attend a general information session from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, in Communications Facility Room 110.

The Peace Corps ranks the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. Below find the top five colleges and universities in each category and the number of alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers.

Large Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers:

More than 15,000 undergraduates

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison - 90
  • University of Washington - 85
  • University of Florida - 85
  • The Ohio State University - 83
  • University of Michigan - 81

Medium Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers:

Between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates

  • Western Washington University - 65
  • University of Virginia - 44
  • American University - 43
  • The George Washington University - 41
  • Cornell University - 29
  • The University of Vermont - 29

Small Colleges & Universities – Total Volunteers:

Fewer than 5,000 undergraduates

  • Gonzaga University - 22
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry - 17
  • Carleton College - 16
  • Macalester College - 16
  • Pacific Lutheran University - 16

Graduate Schools – Total Volunteers:

  • University of Denver - 23
  • University of Washington - 20
  • Tulane University - 20
  • University of Florida - 17
  • University of Pittsburgh - 13
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities - 13
  • University of South Florida - 13
  • The University of Texas at Austin - 13 

Historical, Since 1961 – Total Volunteers:

  • University of California, Berkeley - 3,576
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison - 3,112
  • University of Washington - 2,840
  • University of Michigan - 2,556
  • University of Colorado Boulder - 2,385 

*Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2013 data as of September 30, 2013, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.

Find the complete 2014 rankings of the top 25 schools in each undergraduate category here.

A list of the 2013 Top Colleges and Universities can be found here.

Western Washington University emphasizes excellence in undergraduate education and graduate programs. The third-largest university in the state, WWU offers degrees in more than 160 programs through its seven colleges. About 15,000 students attend Western, which U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked as the top public master’s-granting university in the Pacific Northwest.  Western serves the local community, state and region through partnerships, innovative research, mentoring and community service activities

About the Peace Corps: As the preeminent international service organization of the United States, the Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Peace Corps volunteers work at the grassroots level with local governments, schools, communities, small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. When they return home, volunteers bring their knowledge and experiences – and a global outlook – back to the United States that enriches the lives of those around them. President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding among Americans and people of other countries. Since then, more than 215,000 Americans of all ages have served in 139 countries worldwide. Visit www.peacecorps.gov to learn more.