Peace Corps 50th to be celebrated at U-M

October 4, 2010

The University of Michigan will kick off the national celebration of the Peace Corps' 50th anniversary with a series of events across campus, including two ceremonies, Oct. 14 (2 a.m. and 11 a.m.), on the steps of the Michigan Union--the place where U.S. Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy first articulated his vision of a corps of Americans who would span the globe working for peace. On that date in 1960, at 2 a.m., Kennedy addressed 5,000 U-M students, several of whom initiated the national drive that was instrumental in carrying Kennedy's dream forward.

A ceremony in celebration of that moment will occur on the steps of the Michigan Union at 2 a.m., exactly 50 years after Kennedy delivered his remarks. A second ceremony on the steps, featuring several honored guest speakers, will be held at 11 a.m. that same day. Additional events in the week-long celebration include a screening of the new film "The Passing of the Torch."

On Wednesday, October 13, Ford School dean Susan M. Collins is co-chairing the intellectual cornerstone of the celebration events, a national symposium on the future of international service. The symposium will feature national and international leaders in global service and several guest speakers and reunions. Guest speakers include alumnus Tom Hayden, social and political activist who served as editor of the Michigan Daily as a student; Alan Guskin, student leader in 1960 who, along with other U-M student leaders, led the nationwide push for the creation of the Peace Corps; former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford, D-Penn., an aide to President Kennedy who helped found the organization; U-M alumnus Jack Hood Vaughn, second director of the Peace Corps; Aaron Williams, current director of the organization; President Mary Sue Coleman; Julia Donovan Darlow, D-Ann Arbor, chair of the Board of Regents; and Steven Weinberg, current student and founder of Will Work for Food.

For more history and a detailed list of celebration events go to:

Symposium details are here: