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More Alumni in Peace Corps

Justin Tardiff | Thursday, January 31, 2008

Notre Dame is climbing up the list of medium-sized schools sending students into the Peace Corps.

After spending last year as No. 21, Notre Dame jumped to No. 17 in 2007 with 23 alumni currently in the Peace Corps.

Medium-sized schools on the list are defined as those with undergraduate enrollments between 5,000 and 15,000. Notre Dame, with an enrollment of about 8,000, is tied for its spot on the list with Appalachian State University and The University of Montana.

Notre Dame has been among the nation’s top 25 for the past five years. The University of Virginia topped the list of medium-sized colleges and universities with 72 alumni in the Peace Corps. There are currently more than 8,000 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 74 countries around the world.

“We really focus on Notre Dame because the students are extremely professional yet compassionate,” said Peace Corps Public Affairs Specialist Christine Torres.  “They seem to have that unique balance of meeting high academic standards and committing part of their lives to service.”

“Of course, this is no surprise given the University’s deep focus on humanitarian efforts, both in the U.S. and abroad.  I think the founding ideals of Notre Dame and the Peace Corps are very much in sync.  Peace Corps enjoys enormous support on campus from faculty and staff, which we truly appreciate.”

Many Notre Dame graduates are searching for a way to give back to the community through service to others and do so through the Peace Corps.

Erik Janowsky, a 1987 alumnus, had an affinity for Latin America and studied Spanish throughout his years at Notre Dame, he said. He went to Ecuador as a Peace Corps member and service soon became a vocation for him.

He embarked on a career in community development and eventually co-founded a non-profit organization with another Notre Dame alumnus establishing a primary health care project in Ecuador, he said.

The Center of Social Concerns is responsible for informing and providing Notre Dame graduates with the opportunity to join the Peace Corps.

Students, faculty and community members interested in the Peace Corps can attend the upcoming campus information presentation, or contact the Notre Dame regional recruiter Liz Ategou. The presentation is on Thursday, at 6 p.m. in Room 116 of DeBartolo Hall.