Peace Corps ranked 2017's colleges with the most altruistic grads—is your school on the list?

Volunteers credit their alma maters for putting them on the service path

On Tuesday, the Peace Corps announced its 2017 ranking of the colleges and universities that send the most students to volunteer in Peace Corps after graduating. 

The Peace Corps breaks its ranking down into groups based on institution size: large colleges and universities (more than 15,000 undergraduates), medium colleges and universities (5,000 to 15,000 undergraduates), and small colleges and universities (less than 5,000 undergraduates). The organization also ranked schools that send the most graduate student volunteers and the schools that have sent the most volunteers since Peace Corps was founded in 1961.

Below are the top five schools for each category and their total number of volunteers in 2017.

Large colleges and universities:

1. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 87 volunteers;

2. University of Washington, 73 volunteers;

3. University of Minnesota, 70 volunteers;

4. University of Michigan, 60 volunteers; and

5. University of Florida, 58 volunteers.

Medium colleges and universities:

1. American University, 54 volunteers;

2. Western Washington University, 48 volunteers;

3. George Washington University, 45 volunteers;

4. College of William and Mary, 36 volunteers; and

5. Humboldt State University, 33 volunteers.

Small colleges and universities:

1. Denison University, 16 volunteers;

2. University of Mary Washington, 13 volunteers (tie);

2. University of Puget Sound, 13 volunteers (tie);

4. St. Mary's College of Maryland, 12 volunteers (tie);

4. Whitworth University, 12 volunteers (tie); and

4. Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 12 volunteers (tie).

Graduate schools:

1. American University, 20 volunteers;

2. Tulane University, 20 volunteers;

3. University of South Florida, 18 volunteers;

4. University of Michigan, 15 volunteers; and

4. Boston University, 14 volunteers (tie).

Total volunteers since 1961:

1. University of California, Berkeley, 3,640 volunteers;

2. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 3,239 volunteers;

3. University of Washington, 2,981 volunteers;

4. University of Michigan, 2,684 volunteers; and

5. University of Colorado Boulder, 2,468 volunteers.

Many of the volunteers credit their alma maters as part of the reason they decided to serve.

"The University of Washington experience fosters a commitment to service through its class curriculum and general campus atmosphere," says Nicole Peltzer, a 2014 graduate of UW.

Sheila Crowley, the acting director of Peace Corps, explains the draw for college grads: "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."

Crowley also adds that many of these 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" (Peace Corps website, accessed 3/2; UW Today, 2/28).

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