9143 Bruce McAlpine: A Fond Farewell to Bill & Rolande Oliver

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 bill.griffis@rmc.ca.

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.

24 Comments

  • Tom Carty

    March 4, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Bill and Rolande are a wonderful example of what a marriage can be. Together, they served the RMC community so faithfully and well.

    Tom Carty

  • Bill Sergeant

    March 4, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Thank you very much Bill and Rolande for all that you have done for the CMCs, its Foundation, and for Canada. Your ‘deeds’ will long be remembered and should be emulated by everyone. Best wishes for health, happiness and fulfillment in the next stage of your lives.

  • jeff ridgeway

    March 4, 2019 at 10:56 am

    Thank you both for your leadership and devotion to getting the message and the stories about graduates out to the readership. In an era where there is mass communication and misinformation, it is refreshing to read down to earth stories and perspectives about real people and lives lead. I appreciate the more controversial articles as these demonstrate that healthy discourse is still allowed in our society. These discussions and perspectives allow us all to grow. Once again, thank you for your effort and this wonderful legacy.

  • Marcia beare

    March 4, 2019 at 11:42 am

    It was a pleasure to meet you at reunion times and the grad of our sons Murray (1980)!and Stuart (1983) and granddaughter Sarah (2011). You are a special pair.
    All the best, Marcia Beare

  • David M Hall

    March 4, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Bill and Rolande, you both have done wonderful work for the Colleges. Well done. I have always enjoyed our conversations. There is no question that many of your initiatives have kept us Ex-Cadets well informed. Best to you both.
    10950 DM Hall

  • Kevin Bryski

    March 4, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Super article. I would note also that Bill has also been appointed to the Order of Military Merit.

  • Buck Matheson

    March 4, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Congratulations Bill and Rolande. Wishing you the very best of health and happiness in retirement and travels.

  • Tony O'Keeffe

    March 4, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Dear Bill and Rolande. This is one of those times that I know had to come, but just not yet. Your tireless energies and enthusiasms are fuel to all who are in your company. The only rule you have is to treat everyone with dignity and respect, regardless the battle. I know it because I gained from it. I wish you both a very happy and rewarding next chapter, and I look forward to hearing all about it when the time comes. For now, please accept my grattitude and appreciation for all you do for our beloved RMC. Insert a salute here. Xx Tony and Jackie

  • 10966 Michel Maisonneuve

    March 4, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Cher Bill et Rolande: Merci pour toutes ces années de service aux Collèges militaires et bonne chance dans les années à venir! Nos meilleurs vœux à vous. Michel et Barbara Maisonneuve

  • 3959 Phil Smith -Class Sec. RMC'58

    March 4, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    On behalf of all members of RMC’58 I extend to Bill and Rolande our warmest thanks for their outstanding work, and sterling results in all aspects affecting the Club, the College and the cadets. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with you over the years and we wish you a little more leisure, and some more free time … but do come back to Reunion Weekends, please!

  • H3918 Al Roberts

    March 4, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Great career, especially great support to Adj OB 2003 – 2010, and great friendship. Congratulations and thanks to you both. Will stay in contact.

  • Greg Peet

    March 4, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Our heart felt congratulations to Bill and Rolande. Your service to our country has been remarkable and inspirational to so many. Carol and I truly value your friendship. As always our home is your home. God Bless.

  • Chris Chance

    March 4, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Bill and Rolande, I wish you a well-earned retirement. You are synonymous with e-Veritas and as noted by others, we all knew that your time at the helm had to come to an end. I read e-Veritas religiously each week, as it is a lifeline to the College and I will always associate both of you with this and ongoing communications from RMC. Thanks for all of your extremely hard work, and congratulations on your many accolades, and the formal recognition in the form of your many honours and awards. Bravo Zulu

  • Claire Bramma

    March 4, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Thank-you Bruce for writing this tribute to Bill and Rolande. During my time at the College (98-02), they were influential and encouraging figures in the life of RMC. Since graduation I have immensely appreciated their dedication to producing the e-Veritas for its ability to keep ex-cadets informed and connected to the colleges, as well as provide a platform for sharing ideas and news. TDV!

  • 4738 Louis Tremblay

    March 4, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    May God bless you both with good health so that you both can enjoy a long joyfull retirement that you so richly deserve.

  • 15130 Martin Kenneally

    March 5, 2019 at 12:04 am

    Bill and Rolande thank you for your many years of service, and for your inspiration to your family and extended cadet and military family. Truly a remarkable not-repeatable contribution to Canada and the College, Club and Foundation. Bill, I still recall fondly our little expedition into Iran in 1992 for the World CISM Tae Kwon Do Championships. Some great stories for you to tell in close company there about spies, lies, Abraham the secret agent, and the Canadian Ambassador’s residence adventure! Truly Friendship Through Sport!

  • Alain Perrier

    March 5, 2019 at 12:07 am

    So thankful for all your contributions. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up about RMC via e-Veritas. Happy retirement!

  • 7447 Omar Van Rooyen

    March 5, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Bill and I first met in the Golan Heights on UN duty. Bill was the Sports and Recreation Officer and worked his trademark magic to create an excellent and varied program. His commissioning from the ranks and subsequent promotion were extremely well deserved. The work he has done for the Club over the past many years has been nothing but outstanding. Congratulations on a well deserved retirement. Enjoy this next phase of your lives.

  • 14892 Tim Patriquin

    March 5, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Bill and Rolande…..merci, merci, merci! You are an inspiration to us all and set a fine example. You will be missed, but as you told me, you are both too young to permanently retire. I wish you both all the best on your next adventure.

  • Mike Kennedy #12570

    March 5, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    I am delighted to see so many readers of e-Veritas express their appreciation to Bill and Rolande for their hard work over the years, and I would like to add my own congratulations and thanks. Have a wonderful time at the farewell lunch tomorrow and please do keep in touch.

    TDV,

    Mike

  • 16598 Scott Stevenson

    March 6, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    An incredible record of service through action, of leadership by example. The gifts you’ve given through your good deeds, Bill and Rolande, have a positive impact that continues to ripple outwards. Through e-veritas, you have helped so many cadets and ex-cadets to give voice to their stories. I’m so lucky to count myself among those who have benefited from your service. Enjoy the next chapter of your lives.

    Scott Stevenson
    16598 / RRMC 1988