UM Ranks No. 7 for Producing Peace Corps Volunteers

February 28, 2017

MISSOULA – The University of Montana has been named the No. 7 medium-sized university for producing Peace Corps volunteers. Currently, 30 UM alumni serve with the Peace Corps worldwide.

This year marks the 13th time the University has placed in the top 25 on the medium-sized, volunteer-producing colleges and universities list. UM moved up three spots from its 2016 tie with the College of William and Mary for the No. 10 spot.

“Peace Corps service is an unparalleled leadership opportunity that enables college and university alumni to use the creative-thinking skills they developed in school to make an impact in communities around the world,” Acting Peace Corps Director Sheila Crowley said. “Many college graduates view Peace Corps as a launching pad for their careers because volunteers return home with the cultural competency and entrepreneurial spirit sought after in most fields.”

Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 869 Grizzlies have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers. UM is one of two Montana schools on the top colleges list, with Montana State University finishing at No. 21 in the medium-sized schools category.

UM was 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 Prep Certificate, which gives students an advantage in the competitive Peace Corps application process. The Peace Corps Prep Certificate is part of a partnership with UM’s international development studies minor in UM’s College of Humanities and Sciences. UM also offers a Coverdell Fellows Master’s Degree program for returned Peace Corps volunteers through the Global Youth Development Program.

In 2016 Montana made a big splash on Peace Corps’ annual Top States list, ranking No. 3 among states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per capita. The city of Missoula was ranked No. 1 among all metropolitan areas per capita.

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

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. View the complete 2017 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category online at http://files.peacecorps.gov/university-rankings/2017/topschools2017.pdf. Find an interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university are serving online at https://www.peacecorps.gov/news/topcolleges/#college/1846.

For more information about serving in the Peace Corps, call UM Peace Corps campus representative Terri Nichols 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 the Office of Career Services in Lommasson Center Room 154.

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Note to the media: In celebration of Peace Corps Week UM will host a Returned Volunteer Story Slam from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, in the University Center Room 330. Seven returned volunteers will tell stories around the week’s theme of “Highlighting Hospitality.” The media is invited to attend the event. 

Contact: Dennis Bangs, president, Western Montana Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, 406-549-1631, wmrpcv@yahoo.com; Athena Fleming, public affairs specialist, Peace Corps West Region, 310-356-1107, afleming@peacecorps.gov.