Bettie Anderson has been thinking about joining the Peace Corps for 53 years.
The 73-year-old will now get the opportunity she first imagined when she was a Hampton Institute student as she prepares to spend 27 months of service in Botswana, a country in southern Africa.
Anderson was a student at the school, now Hampton University, when the volunteer group was founded in 1961.
Two years later, Anderson was a recruiter for the federal program, passing out fliers and recruiting fellow students to join. She graduated in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, but put the notion of international volunteerism on hold.
“I started looking at it, and I said, ‘Wow, this sounds exciting,’ ” Anderson said. “And then I said, ‘Nah, let me go and become a multi-millionaire and become rich and famous.’ But the idea was a really great one, and so it wasn’t until last year, 2015, that I said, ‘Now is the time.’ ”
That time came after Anderson moved back to Virginia in 2010 to take care of her ailing parents. Her father passed away in 2011 and her mother in 2015, and then she decided to apply.
The Paterson, N.J., native will be one of three HU alumni currently volunteering with the Peace Corps. Seventy-six HU graduates have served since the program’s start, according to the university.
“For generations Hampton University has produced stellar leaders in all walks of life,” said Brint Martin, director of alumni affairs. “We honor alumna Bettie Anderson for her years of continued service as she embarks on this incredible adventure. Her work in Botswana will continue the legacy of Hampton alumni serving the global community.”
Source: Daily Press | Jane Hammond