Feb. 2, 2004

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Contact: Betty Baron, KU Peace Corps coordinator, (785) 864-7679.

KU breaks into top 25 for producing Peace Corps volunteers

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas ranks 25th in the nation among large colleges and universities for the number of Peace Corps volunteers produced in 2003, the Peace Corps office in Washington, D.C., recently announced.

This is KU's first appearance in the top 25. KU has 41 volunteers serving in the Peace Corps, a marked increase over 2002's 29. Betty Baron, KU's Peace Corps coordinator and a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia from 1966 to 1968, attributes the rise in volunteers to the unique opportunities that the Peace Corps offers students.

"There are many benefits, both tangible and intangible," Baron says.

She credits increased publicity around campus for some of the program's growth. Baron and former coordinator Aline Hoey have worked with campus groups to present information about the Peace Corps at job fairs, in classes and in front of student organizations, and they have organized panel discussions and open houses. Returning Peace Corps volunteers also have provided invaluable support for the program, Baron says.

"Since its inception in 1961, more than 90 percent of all returned volunteers have said that they would do it again," Baron says. "I am very pleased and proud to be associated with the many capable and caring KU students, alumni and community members who have shown interest in the Peace Corps."

The University of Wisconsin-Madison tops the large college and university list with 142 volunteers. Worldwide, 7,533 volunteers work for the Peace Corps, the highest number of participants since 1974. Although a degree is not a requirement for service, 83 percent of Peace Corps volunteers are college graduates. Peace Corps volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and serve for two years. For more information on KU's Peace Corps program, visit www.ku.edu/~uces/peacecorps/.

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