WASHINGTON, D.C., September 3, 2010 – Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams addressed students and met with returned and prospective Peace Corps volunteers this week at Cornell University and Hobart and William Smith Colleges – two schools ranked in Peace Corps’ 2010 “Top Colleges and Universities.”
Director Williams delivered the keynote address at Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ 2010 convocation ceremony in Geneva, N.Y., on September 1 and was the featured speaker at Cornell University’s Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA) colloquium in Ithaca, N.Y., on September 2.
“The power of a great idea can be a goal and it can keep you motivated when things seem hard. An idea – no matter how bold – is just a challenge you can work towards,” said Williams at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “I learned that when we work together for a common goal we can achieve magnificent things, and today the Peace Corps continues to provide the bridge to accomplish great things around the world – person to person, community by community.”
Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan, who served as Peace Corps Director from 1995 to 1999, presented Director Williams with the President’s Medal, awarded to individuals for outstanding service to the community, the country, and their profession.
“During my tenure as Director of the Peace Corps, I was struck by the power of the idea for the agency: send Americans in peace and friendship to needy countries around the world,” Gearan said in a press release.”I believe our students were keenly interested and motivated by Aaron Williams’ lifelong commitment to international development and assistance programs.”
In his remarks to CIPA students and faculty, Director Williams discussed his experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic (1967-1970) and challenged the students to find personal ways to serve.
After the CIPA event, Director Williams attended a dinner with Peace Corps volunteers’ family members and returned and prospective Peace Corps volunteers.
Both Cornell University and Hobart and William Smith Colleges have strong connections to Peace Corps. Forty-six Cornell University alumni served as Peace Corps volunteers in 2009, ranking Cornell third in Peace Corps 2010 “Top Colleges and Universities” rankings among colleges and universities with 5,000 to 15,000 undergraduate students. Cornell University also participates in Peace Corps’ Master’s International and Fellows/USA graduate school programs. Fifteen Hobart and William Smith Colleges alumni served as Peace Corps volunteers in 2009, ranking the school 17th among colleges with fewer than 5,000 undergraduates.
The city of Ithaca also has impressive Peace Corps connections, with nearly 13 of every 100,000 Ithaca metropolitan area residents currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteers. This ranks the Ithaca metropolitan area number one in Peace Corps’ per capita volunteer rankings.
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