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Origin Story | University of Notre Dame


The Peace Corps began in part on the campus of Notre Dame

June 15, 2022

In a speech to college summer interns in 1962, President John F. Kennedy stumped for the Peace Corps international volunteer organization he created by telling a motivational story about Tom Scanlon.

The president didn’t mention that Scanlon was a 1960 Notre Dame graduate or that the “friend” who told him the tale was Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C. Nor does the history timeline on the Peace Corps website mention the 45 young people who trained at Notre Dame and landed in Chile about a month after another cohort (Ghana) is celebrated as the first group to serve.

A black and white archival photo of Tom Scanlon speaking with Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh C.S.C. sitting at a table having coffee or tea, against a wood panel wall.
Tom Scanlon ’60 and Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., talk in Chile in 1962.

Ditto for a recent documentary celebrating the Peace Corps’ history, which didn’t mention the role…

Read more…

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