Oberlin No. 1 in Producing Peace Corps Volunteers

More than 500 alumni have served since the agency’s founding in 1961.

April 18, 2024

Communications Staff

Oberlin Peace Corps volunteers at a campsite.
Oberlin boasts ties to the Peace Corps as old as the agency itself. Between 1963 and 1967, Oberlin hosted a Peace Corps regional recruiting and training center. An Oberlin Peace Corps group is seen here at a campsite at nearby Chance Creek in 1963.
Photo credit: courtesy of Oberlin College Archives

Oberlin College and Conservatory ranks number one on the all-time list of Peace Corps volunteers among small colleges and universities, the agency reported this month. Some 509 Oberlin alumni have served their country as Peace Corps volunteers since its founding in 1961.

Through service, the Peace Corps equips alumni of schools like Oberlin with adaptive leadership, intercultural competence, and problem-solving skills that are highly valued by employers across federal, state, and local governments; non-profits; and the private sector.

“Today’s world requires problem-solvers and people who understand that it is only through shared impact that we will change the trajectory of global issues,” says Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn. “Curiosity and openness to others is cultivated in school, but must be nurtured throughout our lifetimes. I am so grateful to these outstanding institutions for challenging and inspiring their students to not only be exceptional students but also to go on to be informed and intentional global citizens.”

Claire Bodger graduated from Oberlin College in 2021 and is serving as an education volunteer in Mongolia. “Graduates leave Oberlin with a deep sense of social responsibility and a clear sense of our role in making the world a better place, which fits perfectly with the Peace Corps’ vision and values,” says Bodger. 

2024 Top Small Colleges and Universities Historically Producing the Most Peace Corps Volunteers (fewer than 5,000 undergraduates enrolled)

1. Oberlin College and Conservatory: 509

2. Carleton College: 504

3. St. Olaf College: 483

4. Oregon Health & Science University: 444

5. Middlebury College: 416

6. Grinnell College: 370

7. Colorado College: 365

8. Macalester College: 362

9. Smith College: 360

10. Lewis & Clark College: 348

The Peace Corps invites U.S. Americans from all backgrounds who embody the spirit of service and a commitment to cross-cultural understanding to apply for Peace Corps service. The next application deadline is May 1, 2024. Visit peacecorps.gov/bold to learn more about Peace Corps Volunteer service and how to connect with communities in over 60 countries to help build a better world.

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