They call themselves "the Academic Foreign Legion," and they have stories to tell. Beginning in 1949, University of Maryland University College hired "traveling faculty" and sent them around the world, stopping for eight weeks at a time to teach courses at U.S. military bases.

With the motto "Have Syllabus, Will Travel," these professors taught on installations from Iceland to Antarctica, from London to Okinawa, from the jungles of Vietnam to the deserts of Kuwait and Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan and Bosnia. They even taught aboard ships at sea. 

As part of a documentary film project, UMUC has captured their tales of adventure to show how unique they were in the history of higher education and how important they have been—and still are—in educating generations of U.S. military servicemembers in war zones and other far-flung outposts around the world.

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Watch the trailer of an upcoming documentary that chronicles the experiences of UMUC's overseas Marylanders as they launched programs for servicemembers around the world.

The Stories of Overseas Marylanders

Watch the engaging stories of individual faculty members who traveled around the world to go where they were needed.

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There was no other university overseas. We were the ball game.

Joseph J. Arden

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...it's not like it's your job, but it was your love of job. And you cherish every moment.

Vida Bandis

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If there's going to be any shooting, they change the course of the helicopter. And so it was just like a carnival ride....

Allan Berg

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...it's probably a good idea to put a few stones in your jacket pockets so you weren't swept up by the wind.

Diana Danziger

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I tried to pretend that it wasn't intimidating.

Nancy Derr

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I thought, what have we gotten ourselves into?

Aaron Elkins

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So I found myself in Vietnam teaching American History and Government, and very much opposed to the war.

David Glaser

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I suddenly wake up after six or seven years and find out that I've pretty much started doing this thing permanently.

Pat Glass

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I had one student in that class who motivated me to work harder than anybody else.

John Golembe

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It was such a joy to teach students because they were so appreciative of the opportunity, and so it was always very uplifting to teach.

Paul Hamlin

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It was a true mission. It was a true calling for UMUC and its faculty.

Paula Harbecke

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I had some of the best students I've ever had.

Bruce Janoff

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And the first, literally the first words that I heard from the class was, 'Mr. Keesing, don't cut your hair.'

Hugo Keesing

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...we tried courses by newspaper, you know, which is a form of correspondence courses.

Julie Porosky

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So, yes, I took the job in Iceland in the middle of a hurricane. It was bitter cold.

Ron Rasch

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Within five minutes of each other, there were two loud explosions.

Gina Schmidt-Phillips

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He said, 'You don't have to tell me what I got in this class. I know I didn't pass it, but I'm not going to give up. You'll see.'

Robert Scott

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To begin with, you have to be a certain kind of crazy to do this.

Steven Sharoff

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We ran Shakespeare at midnight and we filled the class . . . after all Shakespeare is pretty powerful anytime night or day.

Martie Shull

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UMUC was the forerunner, the leader of the pack. The trail blazers.

Lorraine Suzuki

These videos were filmed during the gatherings of the Overseas Marylanders Association members in Adelphi, Maryland, and Heidelberg, Germany.  

Read about the 2013 Adelphi gathering in the Spring 2014 issue of Achiever magazine.

Read about the 2016 Adelphi gathering.

Learn more about the history of UMUC, which has been serving adult learners and the U.S. military for more than seven decades.