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Middlebury College has been recognized as one of the top producers of volunteers serving in the Peace Corps since the founding of the agency in 1961. A total of 416 alumni have served during that time placing it at No. 5 among small colleges and universities.

“Middlebury has a proud history of alumni serving in the Peace Corps,” said President Laurie L. Patton. “It reflects our commitment to working alongside community members on locally prioritized projects in the areas of education, health, environment, agriculture, community economic development, and youth development.”

The rankings, announced by the Peace Corps, includes three undergraduate divisions with Middelbury in the No. 5 spot among small schools with less than 5,000 undergraduates. The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey ranked No. 1 among small schools in the graduate schools category with 101 alumni having served.  

The number of Peace Corps volunteers at Middlebury has fluctuated over the years with peak enrollments coming in the 1960s. Between 1994 and 2005, over 150 volunteers were active. Between 2016 and 2022, approximately 20 Middlebury alumni applied to the Peace Corps.

Middlebury College instills within its graduates a global awareness and cultivates a sense of responsibility to serve as positive agents of change throughout the world.
— Nicholas Sebastian Cortez ’22

Nicholas Sebastian Cortez ’22 said his undergraduate experience inspired him to join the Peace Corps and prepared him for his service as an education volunteer in Colombia.    

“Middlebury College instills within its graduates a global awareness and cultivates a sense of responsibility to serve as positive agents of change throughout the world,” said Cortez. “These characteristics of alums are strengthened by aspects of everyday life on our diverse campus, such as the student body’s commitment to social activism.”

Overall, 240,000 Peace Corps volunteers from more than 3,000 colleges and universities have served in 144 countries. 

“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,” said Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn. “Curiosity and openness to others is cultivated in school, but must be nurtured throughout our lifetimes.”

Middlebury alumni have served in all six programmatic sectors offered by the Peace Corps: education, health, environment, agriculture, youth development, and community economic development. 

Cortez attributes Middlebury’s dedication to language learning and preparing students to “lead resolutions to global challenges while utilizing ethical, respectable, and inclusive methods of participation,” to its high number of Peace Corps volunteers. 

“Peace Corps service is an opportunity to put these skills into practice and be on the frontlines of collaborative change,” he said. “Middlebury and its graduates fight for progress, and this is the reason that time and time again our presence is felt so abundantly within the Peace Corps.”

Vermont consistently ranks among the top states for the highest per capita number of Peace Corps volunteers. In 2006, the Vermont House of Representatives honored Vermont volunteers who served in the Peace Corps for having the highest per capita participation of any state in the previous year.  

Following is the list of the top 10 small colleges and universities historically producing the most Peace Corps volunteers:

  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)