UC Berkeley Peace Corps Scholarship Launched At I-House

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday May 08, 2007

The Joe Lurie Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Fellowship was launched at the UC Berkeley International House’s 19th Annual Celebration & Awards Gala Thursday. 

The fund aims at providing an I-House room and board award to an entering first year returned Peace Corps doctoral student at UC Berkeley. The UC Berkeley Graduate Division will match this annually with tuition, fees and a $5,000 stipend.  

“Our campus has more Peace Corps volunteers than any college campus in the United States, and yet we don’t offer them any scholarship assistance,” said I-House director Joe Lurie. “Financial aid is extremely important to a student who otherwise couldn’t afford to go to school. This fellowship will assist anyone who has served in the Peace Corps and wants to go to Cal to pursue a Ph.D.” 

Lurie, who will be retiring in June, said he was honored to have the board name the fellowship after him. 

Patricia Garamendi, former associate director of the Peace Corps, announced the scholarship Thursday. She was joined by her husband John Garamendi, Lieutenant Governor of California. 

Since 1961, 3,282 UC Berkeley alumni have gone on to serve in the Peace Corps, more than at any other university. The school ranks fifth among all universities in the number of alumni currently serving (80) and its graduates work in every Peace Corps sector including agriculture, business development and IT, environment, health and HIV/AIDS and youth development. 

“Many returned Peace Corps volunteers look for a program at UC which has funding for people like them,” said Ben Bellows, a RPCV who is pursuing doctoral studies at UC.  

“Having a scholarship just makes the program more appealing to Peace Corps volunteers who come back to the U.S. with a fresh perspective and a new set of skills. Cal with its excellent programs, great location and weather is a natural choice. But it’s expensive. Since I didn’t have funding I had to take a loan. If this fellowship had existed when I had applied for a master’s in 2002, I would have been more eager to come to Cal.”