Colorado State University Study Helped Create Peace Corps Organization Celebrating 50 Years in March

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Between December 1960 and May 1961, a team of Colorado State University researchers conducted a feasibility study that helped lead to the creation of the Peace Corps – an organization that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

In honor of Colorado State University’s historic involvement with the Peace Corps, the university will host a month-long series of events to celebrate the anniversary.

The late Maurice Albertson, a Colorado State Centennial Emeritus Professor who served as the first director of the Colorado State University Research Foundation, was director of the U.S. Congressional study on the Point 4 Youth Corps (an early name for the Peace Corps initiative). Albertson and two colleagues, Research Associate Pauline Birky- Kreutzer and Andrew Rice, co-authored the book, "New Frontiers for American Youth – Perspective on the Peace Corps," which set up the basic design for the Peace Corps.

More than 1,490 Colorado State University alumni have served in the Peace Corps since its creation in 1961. In 2010-2011, CSU was named 10th among universities with the most nominations for Peace Corps service and tops in the nation for the recruitment of volunteers with highly sought skills. Currently, 93 CSU alumni serve as volunteers.

CSU consistently places in the top 15 nationally in the ranking of colleges and universities with more than 15,000 undergraduates.

Events planned to celebrate 50th anniversary

In honor of the university’s heritage with the organization, a series of campus events are scheduled to honor the 50th anniversary celebration:

– “International Connections Celebrates Peace Corps,” every Tuesday through March 8 at 12:15 p.m. in the Lory Student Center. Returned Peace Corps volunteers will host a lunch and share their stories and experiences from around the world.

– Morgan Library will host an exhibition on Peace Corps through March 31.

– At 11 a.m. March 1, returned Peace Corp forestry, parks management, health and business volunteers will share their experiences, stories and souvenirs from around the world in a series of table discussions throughout campus. For a complete list of details, go to

– At 5 p.m. March 26, returned Peace Corps volunteers, nominees and supporters will host a “Peace Corps Meet and Mingle” at Avogadro’s Number, 605 S. Mason St., Fort Collins.

Sponsors of these events include International Education, Office of International Programs, Morgan Library, Office of External Relations, Continuing Education, Alumni Association, Avogadro’s Number and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from CSU and Fort Collins.

Scholarships created to honor legacy

In honor of Albertson’s legacy at Colorado State, the university has created the Maury Albertson Scholarship, which will be awarded annually to a CSU graduate student studying civil engineering.

To honor the service of CSU employees and students in the Peace Corps, CSU has also established the “Peace Corps Fund” to support small grants for CSU Peace Corps Masters International students serving in the field who need funds to accomplish their research and program goals. The fund will also support opportunities for CSU students still on campus to learn more about international development as they prepare themselves for service in the Peace Corps or with other international service organizations.

More about Colorado State University’s role

Albertson, one of the great minds behind the founding of the Peace Corps, arrived at Colorado A&M – now CSU – in August 1947 to help bolster the Department of Civil Engineering’s civil engineering and hydraulics programs. By 1958, Albertson had moved from being a professor in the college to overseeing all research projects on campus. He served as a consultant to the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, the Agency for International Development, UNESCO and other agencies on projects dealing with water and sanitation, water resource development, village development, small industry development and research and education.

CSU researchers Birky-Kreutzer and Rice also made significant contributions to the foundation of the Peace Corps.

Birky-Kreutzer joined Colorado State University as a research assistant in 1958 after working as an advisor in a community development program in Iran. Birky directed Peace Corps training programs in West Pakistan and Afghanistan, and in 2003 she wrote and published the book, Peace Corps Pioneer, an autobiographical account of her experiences in Asia.

In 1957, Rice helped to establish the Society for International Development, an organization that fosters development programs around the world. Rice also served as president of the United Nations Association in the National Capital Area and chairman of the International Development Conference, a cooperative of U.S. nongovernmental organizations.