UM Jumps Six Spots, Ranks No. 6 for Producing Peace Corps Volunteers

February 26, 2015

MISSOULA – The University of Montana has been named the No. 6 medium-sized university for producing Peace Corps volunteers, making a big jump up from its 2014 ranking at No. 12. Currently, 27 UM alumni serve with the Peace Corps worldwide.

“Every year the Peace Corps unveils the upper echelon of colleges and universities that have distinguished themselves at the top of its volunteer-producing schools,” said Peace Corps West Coast Regional Manager Erin Carlson. “We take enormous pride in recognizing the University of Montana as one of the 23 universities from the West Coast producing dedicated individuals who personify the Peace Corps mission of promoting world peace and friendship. It’s wonderful to see the school move up six spots in the rankings.”

2015 also marks the 11th year the University has placed in the top 25 on the medium-sized volunteer-producing colleges and universities list.

Alumni from more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide have served in the Peace Corps since the agency’s founding in 1961, including 832 alumni from UM.

UM is the first public university in the country to partner with the Peace Corps to offer the Peace Corps Preparatory Program. Any UM student can earn a Peace Corps Preparatory Certificate through participation in the International Development Studies minor in UM’s College of Humanities and Sciences. UM also offers two Master’s International Programs, a Master of Science in international conservation and development and a Master of Art in global youth development, which allows students to earn their graduate degrees while serving in the Peace Corps. 

Ashley Rice, a global youth development master’s international student at UM, currently is serving and finishing up her degree. She says UM helped her develop skills that have not only benefited her Peace Corps service, but will help her years down the road.

“The Peace Corps has been the most rewarding and challenging experience of my life,” Rice said. “The skills that I have learned both personally and professionally are immeasurable. The communities that I’ve lived and worked in have left a lasting impression on me.” 

This year’s rankings follow historic reforms to the Peace Corps’ application and selection process, led by Hessler-Radelet, that resulted in a 22-year application high for the agency in 2014.

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 lasting differences in the lives of others. 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.

For more information call UM Peace Corps campus representative Amber Gladney at 406-243-2839 or email peacecorps@umontana.edu. Those interested in volunteering with the Peace Corps are encouraged to stop by UM’s Peace Corps office, which is located in UM’s Office of Career Services in Lommasson Center Room 154.

Contact: Amber Gladney, UM Peace Corps campus representative, 406-243-2839, peacecorps@umontana.edu.