The Peace Corps Begins

By May 1963, 29 Dartmouth students were serving in 17 countries around the world as a part of the program.

The following excerpt is from Dartmouth in the Peace Corps, by Clifford Jordan ’45, featured in the May 1963 issue of Dartmouth Alumni Magazine

Any valid judgement of the Peace Corps must await time and the verdict of historians, but after two brief years of existence over 5,000 PCVs — Peace Corps Volunteers (3,170 men and 1,839 women) —are creating their own history as teachers, technicians community developers, and goodwill ambassadors in 45 nations.

These young people live and work, usually for two years, in locations which were for them only places on the map, or in some cases, countries too new for the map. In this volunteer group are twenty-nine Dartmouth men, half them from the Class of 1960 and younger, serving in seventeen different countries.

The Big Green PCV contingent is literally spread “around the girdled earth” with the largest group of four men — John G. Coe ’62, Wiliam P. Hart ’36, Robert L. Savage ’62 and Paul E. Tsongas ’62 — serving in Ethiopia.

To prospective PCVs, Pete Farquhar ’60 offers this observation: “Have no delusion; that the individual volunteer will actually accomplish will be very small indeed. The task is so great that the work of one person will hardly be noticed. One must have the patience of Job and a good sense of humor, for the job is exasperatingly slow and the troubles are numerous. Fortunately even the most trying of days has its rewards.”

And from Thailand comes this observation by Sumner Sharpe ’58 who is teaching at the School of Architecture at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok: “The members of the Peace Corps here in Thailand and elsewhere are in many ways a special type of American overseas — working at different skill levels, living on smaller budgets, and living closer to the people of the host countries and to their way of life than most other Americans overseas…. These Americans have not been sent here nor have they been told to come here; they are not Americans who think that a country far from the United States of America with a strange name is a hardship post; they do not accept special pay as bait to attract them to these ‘god-forsaken’ places; this is not just another job in another capital of another country in which one must serve to get a promotion. This is simply living and learning as one would anywhere in the world at any time of his life. To use a phrase which is slightly hackneyed, ‘this is not a sacrifice.’”

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