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. 

Emmy Award–winning public television producer Lauren Cardillo has created a half-hour documentary about an inspiring chapter in Maryland's higher education history. The film explores the triumphs, challenges, joys, and sorrows experienced by the academic visionaries who changed the course of higher education to make the dream of a college degree a reality for U.S. Armed Forces stationed abroad. The documentary draws from archival materials, as well as contemporary interviews with faculty, administrators, and alumni.

Over There: The Adventures of Maryland's Traveling Faculty aired on Maryland Public Television in April 2018. Watch online.

 

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Watch the trailer of the documentary, which 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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Of the 41 years that I worked there, I've taken this cruise probably 42 times.

Dan Bennett

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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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Our bonds are very strong. I am in touch with people . . . since April 1969 in that classroom.

Richard Blewitt

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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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And on Guam, the lights would go out fairly frequently. They told us that the snakes would get up into the transformers and short them out.

Aaron Gewirtz

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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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My dream job at UMUC was always to run our downrange programs.

Lisa Henkel

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Here I am on an airplane with leaky engines and chickens.

Gae Holladay and Roger Butts

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

Bruce Janoff

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Midway through the lecture . . . it was a horrendous explosion.

Julian Jones

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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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Good luck. You made it up and down the river. Now you're on your own.

Jan Keller

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Here's a person with a brand-new used car and a roadmap before the GPS, and you head out on the Autobahn, never having explored Germany before.

Doug Lemmon

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What made it great is that you had the opportunity to see a number of different places and move around to places you hadn't seen or been.

T. Benjamin Massey

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The travel, for me, was just something that I was born into.

Jim Moss

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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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Despite the myth of how we all travel all over the place, I hardly traveled at all for 30 years.

Ronald Schlundt

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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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He was the first teacher, civilian teacher, an academic teacher that actually told me what kind of potential I could have.

Rachel Shannon

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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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That was very gratifying to me that here's this guy, one of my students, and he remembered me as much as I remembered him.

Warren Shull

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We had authority to grant students credit if we felt they deserved it and if they could test out.

George Sidney

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

Lorraine Suzuki

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So I had to hightail it out of there like a bat out of hell [laughs] sweat pouring off of me.

Linda Tränkle

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We'd wind up spending two days with very little to eat and drink except for, you know, cheese crackers and peanuts.

Patricia Wallace

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I should've known I was in trouble when I was the only one who got off that plane.

Mervin Whealy

These videos were filmed with members during the gatherings of the Overseas Marylanders Association members in Adelphi, Maryland; Michigan; California; 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.