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Tech lauded for Peace Corps efforts

March 31, 2010

HOUGHTON - Eric Goldman said the Peace Corps is very fortunate to have Michigan Technological University volunteers as a part of the Master's International Program, and volunteers from Tech are requested all the time.

The Peace Corps recognized Michigan Technological University as well as Portage Health for their continued commitment, marking the 15th anniversary of the Tech's Master's International Peace Corps Programs.

Michigan Tech has the largest Master's International Peace Corps Program, boasting the most programs with numerous volunteers. Goldman, Peace Corps' national program manager for the Master's International Programs in Washington D.C., and Carrie Cruz, the Peace Corps regional recruiter based in Chicago, traveled to Michigan Tech to share in the celebration.

Article Photos

Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Blair Orr, coordinator of the Peace Corps Master’s International Program at Michigan Technological University; Eric Goldman, Peace Corps’ national program manager for the Master’s International Programs in Washington D.C.; Graduate Dean Jackie Huntoon and Glenn Mroz, president at Michigan Tech, stand with a plaque presented to the university from Goldman.

"It is us who extend our thanks to you, our humility to you, for what you have created here," said Goldman, Peace Corps' national program manager for the Master's International Programs. "It's just astonishing."

During the presentation, Goldman presented a plaque to Blair Orr, who coordinates the program at Michigan Tech.

"Blair is an absolute blessing ... for what he's accomplished here," Goldman said.

A plaque was also presented to Portage Health, recognizing their assistance to the Master's International Program and reducing medical fees up to 30 percent for Master's International Peace Corps volunteers. Tech President Glenn Mroz, who was involved with the Peace Corps years before, recognized the university's overall support for the program.

"We took something that started with five students and now we have the largest Peace Corps Master's International Program in the United States," Mroz said. "The Peace Corps is a great experience, but not noted as a high paying job after college, but the experience is priceless and I think most of the students who go into it realize that and what they'll get out of it."

Mroz said the students going into the program know they are going to make a significant impact on many people's lives for a long time to come.

The Master's International Program encompasses 61 universities across the country and a few more are going to be added soon. Michigan Tech's Master's International Program includes forestry, applied natural resources economics, natural hazards mitigation (geology), civil and environmental engineering, science education, rhetoric and technical communication and mechanical engineering.

Currently, the Master's International Program at Michigan Tech has 55 students enrolled with 36 serving overseas in Peru, Paraguay, Guatemala, Panama, Belize, El Salvador, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mali, Suriname, Bulgaria, Madagascar and Honduras as well as others.

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Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at



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