Peace Corps Again Ranks UMW First in Nation Among Top Producing Small Colleges

Jennifer Davis'08 served in West Africa

For the second year in a row, the Peace Corps has ranked the University of Mary Washington No. 1 in the nation among small universities for alumni now serving as Peace Corps volunteers.

Currently, UMW has 30 alumni serving around the world, the Peace Corps announced on January 20.

“I am delighted that our civically minded students and alumni continue to be nationally recognized for their global service,” said UMW President Richard Hurley.

Mary Washington has been named to the Peace Corps list of 25 top producing small schools for the ninth consecutive year. In 2011, the university placed No. 1 among small schools or institutions with less than 5,000 undergraduates, with 32 alumni serving in the Peace Corps. In 2010, UMW ranked No. 2 in the same category, with 23 alumni volunteering for the Peace Corps.

In all, 245 Mary Washington alumni have served the 27-month commitment around the world since the Peace Corps’ inception in 1961.

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing schools annually according to the size of the student body. The rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2011 data as of September 30, 2011, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.

“The Peace Corps is actively and successfully engaged in 76 countries, and our successes, both this year and during the last five decades, are directly attributable to the outstanding support we have received from the University of Mary Washington,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams in a letter to President Hurley. “These volunteers are applying the skills and knowledge they acquired during their time at the University of Mary Washington to help improve the lives of people across the globe. They are making important contributions to grass-roots projects in agriculture, education, the environment, health and HIV/AIDS education and prevention, small business development, and youth development.”

Ryan Marr ‘11 is following that Peace Corps tradition. He received notice today that he will leave for Benin, Africa.

An English major and French minor, Marr was active in global service at UMW. In 2009, he traveled to Honduras with the Students Helping Honduras.

“The Peace Corps always has been in the back of my brain since I was a freshman,” he said. “It’s probably one of the most exciting things I’ve ever had to think about.”

Since its founding, more than 200,000 volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the 139 countries where volunteers have served. Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age.

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