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First-ever Peace Corps Volunteers Return to Rutgers

Image A two-day celebration of Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary, as well as Rutgers’ involvement with the organization. The university was selected as the first training site for America’s first Peace Corps volunteers, a group known as Colombia I because of their service in the Republic of Colombia. 

Events include remarks, a commemorative plaque dedication and career fair for federal employment opportunities.

Keynote remarks occur on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 7p.m.; the plaque dedication is set for Friday, Nov. 5 at 11 a.m.; and the career fair is planned for Friday, Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Remarks and job fair will be held at Rutgers Student Center, 126 College Avenue in New Brunswick. The plaque dedication will take place at Hegeman Hall, 600 George Street in New Brunswick.

On June 25, 1961, Peace Corp volunteers known as Colombia I, arrived at Rutgers for training and lived in Hegeman Hall. They learned Spanish, studied Colombian culture and history and pursued rigorous physical conditioning. Sixty-two men were sent to work alongside villagers in Colombia from 1961 to 1963, assisting rural communities in the planning and development of schools, roads, aqueducts and health clinics.

Rutgers maintains its association with the Peace Corps. The university was the first to offer a master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in international public service and development. The program requires graduate students to serve in the Peace Corps for at least one year.

According to Peace Corps Regional Manager, Vinny Wickes, Rutgers students and alumni make up one of the largest groups of volunteers.  Since 1961, 584 Rutgers alumni have served around the world as Peace Corps volunteers.

"Rutgers has been an avid supporter of Peace Corps over the years," says Wickes.

All returned Peace Corps volunteers are encouraged to attend the recognition. For more information about the events, contact Monique Schnee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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