The Washington Post

Howard U. makes Peace Corps top college list

Howard University was the alma mater for 18 Peace Corps volunteers in 2013. (Doug Kapustin/For The Washington Post)

Howard University, a school that prides itself on a history of social engagement, on Tuesday landed on a national list of colleges that send the most volunteers to the Peace Corps.

The university in Northwest Washington ranked 16th among medium-size schools in the number of undergraduate alumni volunteers serving in the corps.

With 18 alumni volunteers in 2013, Howard tied with five others: the University of Notre Dame, Loyola University Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago and Duke University.

Howard has been acknowledged as a significant producer of Peace Corps volunteers among historically black colleges and universities, but the Peace Corps said that Howard’s appearance on Tuesday’s list marked the first time that an HBCU had placed in the main national rankings.

The Peace Corps, established in 1961, is a federally funded international service agency that sends Americans abroad to work on pressing issues in fields such as education, health, community economic development and agriculture.

Others on the annual list of top medium-size Peace Corps schools from Virginia and the District were the University of Virginia (ranked second, 44 volunteers), American University (third, 43), George Washington University (fourth, 41), Georgetown University (seventh, 27) and the College of William and Mary (22nd, 17).

Among the top large Peace Corps universities, Virginia Tech ranked 22nd with 39 alumni volunteers and the University of Maryland at College Park 23rd with 38.

Among top small Peace Corps colleges, the University of Mary Washington ranked 10th with 13 volunteers, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland ranked 21st with 11.

The top colleges nationally were the University of Wisconsin at Madison (first among large universities, with 90 alumni volunteers), Western Washington University (first among medium-size schools with 65) and Gonzaga University (first among small colleges with 22).

“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,” Carrie Hessler-Radelet, acting director of the Peace Corps, said in a statement.

“The unique Peace Corps experience helps recent graduates cultivate highly sought-after skills that will launch their careers in today’s global economy,” the statement said.

Nick Anderson covers higher education for The Washington Post. He has been a writer and editor at The Post since 2005.

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