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November 25, 2014

Peace Corp Prep launch

By: V. Renee Russell
Global Education Office
(804) 828-3636 

RICHMOND, Va. (Nov. 25, 2014)—Virginia Commonwealth University has become one of only 25 institutions across the nation to participate in the Peace Corps Prep Program. This program, administered through VCU Globe, the university’s global education living-learning program, will enable VCU to offer an enhanced academic and service-based program that prepares students for entry into the Peace Corps and other positions in international development.

The Peace Corps Prep program was officially launched at a reception on Nov. 19 in VCU’s West Grace Student Housing – North residence hall, home to VCU Globe. More than 100 VCU students, faculty, staff, administrators, Peace Corps representatives, returned Peace Corps volunteers and community members were in attendance.

“This prep program is really an extension of a long partnership that Peace Corps has had with VCU,” said Helen Lowman, Peace Corps associate director of volunteer recruitment and selection. “The VCU Globe program ties in well with the Peace Corps’ mission of ‘spreading world peace and friendship.’” 

With 225 VCU alumni having served, and more than 20 alumni currently serving in the field, VCU already has a proud history with the Peace Corps.

“I’m very proud that we are one of the newest members of the Peace Corps Prep program and that our reputation as an internationally premier research university will allow us the opportunity to do more for human beings around the world,” said VCU President Michael Rao. “I tell all of our freshmen that it’s really important for them to think about not only what they’re able to do here to improve their own situation, but how they will take what they’ve learned and improve life for other people.”

“’A university is not maintained merely to help its graduates have an economic advantage in the life struggle. There is certainly a greater purpose,’” Rao said quoting Senator John F. Kennedy in his address to students at the University of Michigan, which would eventually become the starting point for creating the Peace Cops.

“And it’s universities like VCU that exist to create leaders around the world,” Rao continued.

The national Peace Corps Prep was launched in 2007 to develop qualified applicants for service.  Each participating institution develops its own criteria for the program based on the Peace Corps’ general categories, which include foreign language study, community service and coursework in strategically important disciplinary areas.

 In VCU’s Peace Corps Prep program, students will complete the curriculum specially created for VCU Globe as well as a foreign language component. This course of study is recognized as one that prepares students with the skills and experiences that make them competitive applicants for the Peace Corps and other international development positions.

More than 80 students are currently enrolled in the Peace Corps Prep program which will begin in the Spring 2015 semester. Current VCU Globe students and new applicants are eligible to participate. For more information about the VCU’s Peace Corps Prep program, visit their official page


Peace Corp Prep Launch

(L to R) R. McKenna Brown, Ph.D., VCU Global Education Office executive director, Helen Lowman, Peace Corps associate director of volunteer recruitment and selection, Michael Rao, Ph.D, VCU president.


PCP launch

VCU Globe students with Jill Blondin, Ph.D., director (far right) and Helen Lowman (center).

 PCP Launch

Richmond-area returned Peace Corps volunteers attended the Peace Corps Prep program official launch.