A reminder that a farewell luncheon will be held for Bill & Rolande Oliver on Wednesday, 6 March 19 at the RMC Senior Staff Mess, 11:00 for 11:30. Everyone is invited. Please RSVP to [email protected].
By 9143 Bruce McAlpine – President, The Royal Military Colleges Club of Canada
It is with sadness but also great appreciation that we say “au revoir” (but not “goodbye”) to our dear friends Bill and Rolande Oliver, who are stepping aside from active full time support of RMC, the Foundation and the Club after almost 40 years.
Bill and Rolande first engaged with RMC back in 1981 when Bill was posted as an MWO to the College as the Senior Physical Education & Recreation Instructor. Commissioned from the Ranks in 1982 and promoted to Major in 1988, he was then named Director of Athletics. During this period he also did a 3 year stint as the Convenor of Men’s Hockey for the Ontario University Athletics Association.
In the early 90’s Bill had several international assignments (Sinai and Iran) as well as a number of special projects between RMC and NDHQ before retiring from the CAF in 1995.
Bill joined the Foundation in 1996 and served for 6 years as the Attractions (recruiting) Student Athletes Coordinator. Concurrently he also did another (6 year) stint as Convenor OUA (M) Hockey.
He moved to the RMC Club in 2003, where he and Rolande began the now preeminent institutional communications vehicle eVeritas. The life-blood of Cadets and exCadets, this weekly e-journal has been published by them up to 50 times a year for well over a decade.
Another part of their work at Panet House was to take on cadets from Holding Platoon who, for whatever reason, were not succeeding at RMC. Some were going through medical issues; others were looking to revert to the ‘ranks’ while others were awaiting formal and or medical release. They worked with and mentored many of these individuals over the years, helping them to redirect their lives in meaningful ways. Some made it back to the Cadet Wing and eventually graduated; many have gone on to successful careers in the ‘ranks’; some went off to other civilian universities; while others entered the workforce.
They also came along-side and mentored many highly motivated cadets who ‘volunteered’ with various tasks – e-Veritas; reunion weekend activities and other special projects. All these cadets graduated – a few earned 4 bars within the cadet leadership and one ended up as the Cadet Wing Commander (CWC). One even earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford.
In addition to all of this, Bill and Rolande organized 2 Legacy Dinners; published a coffee-table style book called the RMC Hockey History Digest; filled the role of Interim Executive Director of the Club 3 times; acted as Editor of Veritas twice; were “behind the scenes” coordinators for 22 Reunion weekends; and organized many major fund-raising campaigns for the Club.
The list of awards and special recognitions that Bill (and Rolande) earned is a testament to how this couple has dedicated their lives to the Canadian Armed Forces, CanMilCol system, and the Cadets:
- 1991 – Bill received the OUA JP Loosemore Award – given to an individual who exemplifies the best in university sport in terms of ethics, integrity and honesty (only RMC recipient to date)
- 1997 & 1999 – Both awarded RMC Club Honourary Memberships
- 2000 – Both awarded The Commandant’s Athletic Award
- 2003 – Foundation created the Rolande and Bill Oliver Volunteer Award
- 2012 – Both awarded The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
- 2018 – Both awarded The Senate Sesquicentennial Medal by Senator
- 2018 – Both awarded the RMC Club President’s Award
In summary, if it was important to the life of the cadets at the colleges, and if it needed to get done, Bill and Rolande stepped in and made it happen with passion and professionalism.
In Bill’s own words, “we would like to be remembered as a couple who worked as a team; and that deeds not words defined us.”
Bill and Rolande are leaving behind some very big shoes to fill. We wish them nothing but the best as they enter their next chapter of service to others.