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 League Leaders: Allan and Marion Saunders


Star-Bulletin file photos
Marion and Allan Saunders were advocates for civil liberties and academic freedom.

Allan and Marion Saunders

Couple dedicated lives to academia

By Lori Tighe

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
October 20, 1999

"UNLESS people in a community are willing to defend the civil liberties of others," said Allan Saunders, "they will be lost to everyone eventually."

Allan and Marion Saunders were more than willing.

They spent their life defending academic freedom: he, through teaching at the University of Hawaii; she, through improving public education for the state.

Allan Saunders was a legendary professor and a dean at UH.

He helped form the Hawaii chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1965 and the League of Women Voters in 1948.

Marion Saunders joined in her husband's activities and left an even longer legacy of involvement in the state's public education system.

They married in 1946, after meeting during World War II. Through their lives, he supported her achievements, and she his.

Aside from the many serious political and ethical organizations he formed or was involved with, Allan Saunders also began the FWASTO, Faculty Wearers of Aloha Shirts, Tails Out, which many in Hawaii can appreciate with a chuckle today.

Marion Saunders had a bottomless pit of energy, enthusiasm and conviction, which she directed toward education.

She served as principal of the territory's first adult continuing education school. She was in charge of helping Micronesian students at the East-West Center.

And she began a continuing education program for women at UH, the root of today's women's studies program.

During her last two years of life, she helped found UH's Academy of Lifelong Learning. Until the day she died in 1998, Marion Saunders helped schools, teachers and parents in the same way she and her late husband had done all their lives.

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