Leadership, a Corps opportunity


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February 24, 2011

More than 93 Bradley alumni have served as Peace Corps volunteers in the program’s 50-year history, a contingent so impressive that the director of the agency, Aaron Williams, visited campus this week to build on the longstanding relationship.

In a panel discussion that included Congressman Aaron Schock ’02 and Caterpillar Inc.’s Washington Director for Governmental Affairs William C. Lane, Williams encouraged Bradley students to consider the Peace Corps as an opportunity to build leadership skills early in their career. Schock and Lane discussed the ways government and big business promote goodwill and development around the world. Each panelist shared the same message: service is the noblest of endeavors.

“You find yourself in challenging situations where you have to solve problems for yourself, and you do it in a foreign culture without your normal support system. You become stronger for that,” said Williams, who volunteered in the Dominican Republic. “Then you come home and you have this rich experience to use in your career.”

The discussion, titled “Paths to Global Engagement,” was hosted by Bradley’s Smith Career Center.

“Events such as this help our students learn that there are many opportunities to use their academic preparation, service, leadership, work experiences, and most of all, passion to express their career interests,” said Rick Smith, director of career development.

Junior Tricia Anklan, an economics and Spanish major who serves as vice president of Bradley’s Student Senate, thinks the Peace Corps could be the best way to utilize her Bradley experience after graduation.

“I believe civic engagement and global service are very important, and I think that we should recognize and share the privileges and resources we have. While the Bradley experience is very special, it is necessary to recognize that there is more out there,” Anklan said.

The event drew not only current students, but also Bradley alumni who have served in the Peace Corps, including Gary Jameson ’65, whose recruitment poster designed in the late 1960s was displayed on college campuses around the country. Jameson presented a framed print of his design to Williams before the event.

“My Bradley teachers took a lot of interest in my Peace Corps involvement in Turkey, even taking me up to Chicago to a Turkish restaurant to help me get used to the food,” Jameson said. “And coming up with this poster design was a direct result of being taught how to think about concepts and symbols and how to express an idea.”

Williams will hang Jameson’s poster in his Washington, D.C., office and he requested an additional print to display in the Smithsonian as part of an exhibition commemorating the Peace Corps’ 50-year milestone.