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W&M again named a top producer of Peace Corps volunteers

  • Peace Corps volunteer:
    Peace Corps volunteer:  Matthew Rigsby ’15 serves as community health promoter in Nicaragua.  Courtesy photo
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William & Mary is the top producer of Peace Corps volunteers among all of the nation’s medium-size public universities, according to a ranking released today.

With 35 alumni currently serving in the Peace Corps, W&M landed the number three spot on the 2018 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list of medium schools with between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates. George Washington University and American University, both private institutions, were ranked first and second on that list.

This is the 10th consecutive year that W&M has been included on the Peace Corps’ annual top colleges list. Last year, W&M ranked fourth among medium colleges and universities. Since the Peace Corps’ inception, W&M has had 661 alumni serve as volunteers. An interactive map showing where W&M alumni are currently volunteering may be found online.

“William & Mary has a real community ethos that prioritizes service,” Matthew Rigsby ’15, who serves as community health promotor in Nicaragua, said in a press release from the Peace Corps. “There are numerous clubs, organizations, and events that are geared towards making the world a better place. I think that kind of mentality is infectious. Many of my closest friends chose to serve their communities in one way or another that it became second-nature to me. In a way, at the College, we all inspire each other to do bigger and better things to achieve a greater change.”

According to the release, alumni from more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide have served in the Peace Corps since the agency’s founding in 1961. This year, Virginia ranks fourth among states with 352 Virginians currently in service, and more than 7,900 volunteers who have served all-time.

“William & Mary taught me many vital skills,” said Rigsby. “On a professional note, I honed my Spanish, learned how to problem-solve and developed critical thinking skills. On a personal note, I became more resilient, learned to communicate effectively and formed valuable interpersonal skills.”

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. The large category include institutions with more than 15,000 undergraduates, and the small category includes schools with fewer than 5,000. The ranking also includes a list of top-producing graduate schools.

This year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison topped the large list with 85 alumni serving as volunteers. With 17, St. Mary’s College of Maryland was No. 1 on the small list, and Tulane University was first among graduate schools with 27 volunteers. The complete 2018 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category may be found online.