Past Features

October 11, 2005 (Vol. 2, No. 3)

Retired Lehman Professor Receives Recruiting Invitation from the Marines

Marine's Symbol in front of American Flag
At 77 years of age, the last thing retired Anthropology Chair Lucie Wood Saunders was expecting in the mail was a letter from the Marines encouraging her to join the ranks of "America's elite warriors."

"The thought of someone my age being 'pushed beyond physical and mental limits' was rather comical," says Professor Saunders. While she was amused at the Marines' attempts to recruit her, she was also concerned that funds had been wasted.

As reported by Bloomberg News Service, similar letters were accidentally mailed in early September to 105,000 people who should have been eliminated because of their age.

The Marines, like other branches of the government, are trying to recruit those with Arabic language skills. Professor Saunders, who traveled to Egypt some 40 years ago for anthropology fieldwork, says she probably knows enough of the language to order something from a restaurant.

"I think that if they had the ability to know that I could speak Arabic and that I was an educator, then they should have also known that I was 77 years old," she says.

Professor Saunders joined the faculty at Lehman in 1965 and retired in 1997.