OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Evergreen State College ranks No. 11 on Peace Corps' 2011 rankings of colleges and universities in the small category (less than 5,000 undergraduates), giving Evergreen the biggest jump in rank in the Northwest (No. 22 in 2010).
There are currently 19 undergraduate alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers.
"For the last 50 years, colleges and universities across our country have been an integral part of the Peace Corps family, from developing young leaders, to hosting trainings and teaching the importance of lifelong learning," said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. "In 1961, President Kennedy created the Peace Corps in response to the passion of university students, and today we continue to be inspired by the enthusiasm, dedication, and creativity of the thousands of Americans now serving overseas. Colleges instill a commitment to public service among their students and share our belief that, together, we can work to make the world a better place."
Since 1961, 196 Evergreen alumni have served as Peace Corps volunteers. Today, Peace Corps volunteers work in 77 countries in the areas of education, youth and community development, health and HIV/AIDS, business information and communication technology, agriculture and environment.
Other Washington universities that placed on the 2011 Top Colleges rankings are University of Washington in Seattle (No. 3 in large category), Western Washington University in Bellingham (No. 3 in medium category), Gonzaga University in Spokane (No. 3 in small category), University of Puget Sound in Tacoma (No. 8 in small category), and Seattle University in Seattle (No. 23 in small category).
Nationally, the University of Colorado at Boulder outpaced other universities in providing Peace Corps volunteers, with 117 undergraduate alumni currently serving overseas. Prior to 2011, the University of Washington held the top spot for four consecutive years. Historically, the University of California, Berkeley maintains the number one all-time rank, with 3,457 Peace Corps volunteer alumni.
In the medium school category, The George Washington University ranks number one for the third year in a row with 72 undergraduate alumni serving overseas.
Also for the first time, the University of Mary Washington took the top seat in the small school category with 32 undergraduate alumni currently serving volunteers. The University of Mary Washington has ranked in the small school category since 2005.
In the graduate school category, the University of Washington holds the top rank with 21 currently serving volunteers holding master's degrees from the school. It was tied for first place with the University of Texas at Austin last year.
Following are the top five college and universities in each undergraduate category.
NOTE: numbers in parenthesis represent the number of alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers.
More than 15,000 undergraduates
University of Colorado at Boulder (117) University of Florida (97) University of Michigan (94) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (94) University of Washington (94)
Between 5,001 and 15,000 undergraduates
The George Washington University (72) University of Virginia (71) Western Washington University (60) American University (55) Cornell University (55)
Less than 5,000 undergraduates
University of Mary Washington (32) St. Olaf College (24) Lewis & Clark College (23) Gonzaga University (23) University of Portland (23)
Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2010 data as of September 30, 2010, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.
About the Peace Corps
President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Throughout 2011, Peace Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in 77 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.