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Press Release

Barbara Laskin

Macalester College Earns Place on the Peace Corps’ Annual Top Colleges Rankings

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February 19, 2010 – St. Paul, Minn.– Since the Peace Corps began in 1961, Macalester alumni have been there – 326 have served.  And for the fifth year in a row, Macalester has placed on the Peace Corps’ list of top colleges nationwide producing Peace Corps volunteers.  With 19 alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers, Macalester is No. 7 in this year’s rankings among small-sized colleges and universities, moving up from No. 9 in last year’s ranking.

“It’s not surprising that Macalester continues to have a large number of alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers,” said Denise Ward, Macalester’s associate dean for student services and director of career development. “Service to others, internationalism and multiculturalism are core components of a Macalester education.”

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing schools annually according to the size of the student body.  Small schools have less than 5,000 undergraduates, medium-sized schools have between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates, and large schools have more than 15,000 undergraduates.

Currently, there are 7,671 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 76 host countries around the world.  A college degree is not mandatory for service; however, approximately 89 percent of volunteers have at least an undergraduate degree.  Relevant skills and experience is required in Peace Corps program areas such as education, English teaching (ESL); youth and community development; public health and HIV/AIDS work; environment, agriculture and forestry; and business development and IT.  In 2009, Peace Corps received over 15,000 applications, an 18 percent increase over 2008.  This is the largest number of applications since the agency began electronically recording applications in 1998.

The Peace Corps provides both tangible benefits and a life-defining leadership experience.  Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens and receive support from the Peace Corps in the form of career services, graduate school opportunities, advantages in federal employment, readjustment allowances, and loan deferment and cancellation opportunities. 

There are approximately 226 Minnesota residents serving in the Peace Corps, with Minneapolis-St. Paul also ranking as one of the highest Peace Corps volunteer-producing metro areas in the country.  Overall, 6,073 Minnesota residents have served in Peace Corps since 1961, when it began under President John F. Kennedy.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,958 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement.