Cornell led Ivies in '06 Peace Corps recruits and was third among like schools nationally

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John Edgar, right, Cornell's Peace Corps coordinator, and a guide ride Bactrian camels in western Mongolia, where Edgar served as an economic development volunteer from 2004 to 2006.

Cornell provided more Peace Corps volunteers than any other Ivy League institution in 2006, according to statistics released by the federal agency last week.

Among medium-sized colleges and universities nationwide, Cornell ranked third, with 52 alumni entering the Peace Corps in 2006.

The highest ranked medium-sized school was George Washington University with 68 volunteers; second was the University of Virginia with 65 volunteers.

Since the agency's creation in 1961, 836 Cornell alumni have volunteered, according to John Edgar, Cornell's Peace Corps coordinator and a graduate student in international agriculture and rural development. He notes that Cornell now offers a Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) degree in any one of 15 disciplines in agriculture and the life sciences, comprising two academic semesters followed by a two-year overseas Peace Corps assignment. Administered by International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the M.P.S. program offers the opportunity to carry out an applied project rather than the traditional research thesis for a master's degree.

The Peace Corps is an independent government agency that places volunteers in more than 70 countries to work with governments, schools, entrepreneurs, education, health, business, information technology, agriculture and the environment. All told, more than 187,000 volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where volunteers have served.

Although a college degree is not a required to serve in the Peace Corps, 93 percent of volunteers have an undergraduate degree and 12 percent have a graduate degree. Volunteers serve for 27 months.

Upcoming Peace Corps-related events:

For more information about the Peace Corps, e-mail or visit the office in B32 Warren Hall, Monday: 10 a.m. to noon; Tuesday 2:30-4:30 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to noon; or Friday, 1-3 p.m.

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