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UM In Top 20 For Producing Peace Corps Volunteers

University of Montana students and alumni are known for their adventurous spirits and their willingness to help others.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that once again, UM was recently ranked among the top 20 medium-sized colleges and universities for producing Peace Corps volunteers.

As of September 2007, the UM had 23 alumni working around the globe in the Peace Corps. That puts UM at 17th, in the company of schools like Boston College and Georgetown University (each with 42 alumni volunteers), and Brown and Yale universities (with 21 volunteers each).

Earlier this year, Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter visited UM and honored the University for consistently turning out students who chose to help others before helping themselves.

Jim Burchfield, associate dean of UM’s College of Forestry, is a former Peace Corps volunteer who offers guidance to students who are interested in serving.

"I think the students here have a real sense of adventure," he says. "They want to experience things that are new. We have a unique set of students in that they are not afraid."

Peace Corps recruiter, former volunteer and UM graduate student Kassi Miller says Missoula’s recreation-based lifestyle attracts adventurous individuals who are well-suited for the challenges and rewards of the Peace Corps. But they are also bound by a greater calling.

"One of the big things about our students is that after they graduate, they want to do something meaningful," Miller says. "They want to give back more than they want to make 40 grand."

Peace Corps volunteers from UM recognize their role in the world, Burchfield says. "They are citizens beyond their own communities."