This coming November Rutgers University will honor the PCVs who trained at Rutgers and went to  Colombia with the first group of Volunteers. The Rutgers College Avenue Campus will host a program of guest speakers on November 4, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The next day, a commemorative plaque will be unveiled  at 11:00 a.m. at Hegeman Hall in New Brunswick. Thirty-five of the 62 (men only) Colombia One RPCV are planning to attend the cerebration.

Recently the Rutgers Magazine, interviewed Harry Kranz, a 1945 graduate of the College, who was instrumental in getting the Peace Corps Training Program to Rutgers, about his involvement and those early Volunteers.

Kranz was with Shriver on June 25, 1961, when Shriver came to Rutgers to see what “real PCV Trainees” looked like. Kranz, who had been an assistant to Walter Reuther, head of the United Auto Workers Union, had contacted Harris Wofford about going to work at the agency and Shriver hired him to find training sites. Kranz arranged (of course) for Rutgers to train the first volunteers; he then coordinated the orientation activities, and managed the training site.

The magazine interviewed Kranz shortly before his death in July about his involvement in the Peace Corps. What interested me in the interview what this exchange:

Rutgers Magazine: What do you remember about the training at Rutgers?

 I remember that Shriver came to New Brunswick to address the volunteers on the day we began.  One volunteer was already complaining about things, so Shriver asked me to send him home. I guess you could say that I was the one who was the first to fire a Peace Corps  Trainee.

Colombia One PCVs are endlessly boring about ‘being first’ in the Peace Corps, so now they can claim that they also had the first Trainee De-Selected. But the question now is: Who was that Trainee?