Penn State in top 10 for Peace Corps volunteers

February 28, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State has once again been recognized among the nation's top producers of Peace Corps volunteers. With 50 undergraduate alumni serving overseas and working in fields such as agriculture, education, environment, health, community economic development and youth development, the University is No. 8 on the Peace Corps' 2017 rankings of colleges and universities in the large school category.

“Penn State has enjoyed a long relationship with the Peace Corps going back to its founding,” said Philip J. Burlingame, associate vice president for student affairs at Penn State. “Our students have extraordinary opportunities to develop service leadership skills through engaged scholarship in the classroom and through volunteer work in student organizations. We are proud of those graduates who have chosen to join the ranks of the Peace Corps and offer their best selves in the service of others internationally.”

Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 1,085 alumni from Penn State have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers.

Peace Corps volunteers currently are serving in 76 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central and South America, Eastern Europe, Pacific Islands, and the Middle East. Volunteers serve for 27 months with skills in agriculture, environment, business, health, development, education, and information technology. Complete 2017 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category are available here, as well as an interactive map that shows where alumni from each college and university currently are serving.

Students interested in postgraduate service and opportunities attended a panel discussion from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, in 129BC HUB, featuring representatives from the Peace Corps, Teach for America, and City Year (an AmeriCorps program). The panel was sponsored by the Council of LionHearts, an affiliate student organization comprised of student representatives from Penn State’s volunteer and community-service student organizations. For more information, email

Penn State and the Peace Corps also have finalized a new partnership that will help returning Peace Corps volunteers pursue their graduate education in the School of International Affairs, Smeal College of Business, or the College of Agricultural Sciences. Peace Corps volunteers will be eligible for significant financial aid in each of the three programs as part of the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, which has helped more than 5,000 returned volunteers further their education at schools across the nation.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy launched the Peace Corps in 1961 to spearhead progress in developing countries and promote friendship between the American people and other men, women and children throughout the world.

The Peace Corps offers volunteers a chance to serve developing communities worldwide while improving personal and professional skills. Information sessions for potential volunteers are held throughout the year. The minimum age for Peace Corps service is 18 and volunteers must be U.S. citizens. For more information, visit

  • Peace Corps Top College 2017 badge
    IMAGE: Peace Corps

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Last Updated March 08, 2021