Peace Corps Office (University of Michigan) Records

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Peace Corps Office (University of Michigan) records

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger University of Michigan Peace Corps Office record group held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

Researchers may also be interested in the Peace Corps (University of Michigan) Web Archives.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Abstract: Office responsible for administering Peace Corps programming at the University of Michigan. Collection consists of video and web content surrounding the 50th anniversary celebration in 2010 of the proposal of the Peace Corps at the Michigan Union by Sen. John F. Kennedy.

The University of Michigan Peace Corps office helps students pursue service opportunities with the Peace Corps and disseminates information about the organization to the campus community. The history of Peace Corps activities at the University of Michigan dates back to the conception and creation of the Peace Corps itself. In September 1960, Senator and then presidential candidate John F. Kennedy asked Dr. Samuel Hayes, UM Professor of Economics, to draft a report on a potential peace corps. During a campaigning trip in Ann Arbor on October 14, 1960, Senator and presidential candidate John F. Kennedy challenged the students present to spend time giving international service, the idea that forms the basis of the Peace Corps.

The response from Michigan students was more than just favorable. Interested students formed a group called Americans Committed to World Responsibility (ACWR), in support of the idea of a peace corps. Around 250 students signed petitions agreeing to volunteer, and the ACWR traveled to Ohio, where they met Kennedy at the airport and delivered the petitions in person.

The positive response of Michigan students provided the needed momentum that turned the peace corps from an idea into a reality, and on March 1, 1961, the Peace Corps was officially created through an Executive Order. But Michigan's contributions weren't finished. Over 2000 Michigan alumni have served in the Peace Corps and contributed in other significant ways to the organization.

In 2010, the Peace Corps turned 50, and the University held a series of activities to celebrate this milestone and the University's role in the birth of the Corps. Among the events was a National Symposium focusing on the future of international service, ceremonies on the Michigan Union steps where Kennedy addressed the students in 1960, guest speakers, photo exhibits, and more.

Please note:

Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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