Significant Speeches from RMCC: Convocation & Commissioning Parade

Significant Speeches from RMCC: Convocation & Commissioning Parade

Last week was a big one on the grounds of the Royal Military College of Canada.

The two main events were the Convocation and the Commissioning Parade which are covered elsewhere in this Issue. We are indeed fortunate to have obtained copies of speeches from the Commandant from both of these events.

Also, the Principal kindly provided a copy of his address from the Convocation.


Commandant, BGen Sean Friday;

Principal, Dr Harry Kowal;

Grad Parade:

Commandant, BGen Sean Friday


Speaking Notes for                                                   Notes d’allocution du


Brigadier-General Sean Friday
Brigadier-général Sean Friday

Commandant Royal Military College of Canada

Commandant du Collège militaire royal du Canada


Spring Convocation – Collation des grades du printemps

19 May 2016 – Le 19 mai 2016

The Honourable Peter Milliken, former Speaker of the House

Principal Kowal

RCMP Superintendent Rook

Fellow General and Flag Officers, former Commandants, Officers, Chief Warrant Officers and Non-Commissioned Members of the Canadian Armed Forces and our cherished veterans.

Récipients des diplômes honoraires, Doyens et membres de la faculté, membres senior de l’état-major, membres du Club des Collèges Militaires Royaux et de la Fondation des Collèges Militaires Royaux, les Cadets du Collège Militaire Royale du Canada, amis et familles, mesdames et messieurs.

It is my great honour to welcome you to our Spring Convocation as we celebrate the academic achievements of our Lady and Gentlemen Cadets, our officers and non-commissioned members, and our civilian students whose exceptional efforts will be recognized today.

Convocation at the Royal Military College is always an incredible time. There is a deep sense of history and legacy that runs through each convocation.  It carries us back over our 140 years of history to the time that Prime Minister MacKenzie had a vision of creating a national institution that would generate great Canadian leaders that, in turn, would serve with distinction in the Canadian Armed Forces that our country would eventually form, but also as leaders that would serve the building of our national institutions from coast to coast to coast.

En effet, la remise de diplôme d’aujourd’hui perpétue cette tradition d’excellence et décerne des diplômes pour la prochaine génération des grands dirigeants des Forces armées canadiennes, qui feront partie de la Marine royale canadienne, l’armée canadienne et l’aviation royale canadienne.

Graduates, as you know first-hand, the Royal Military College of Canada is a university like no other.  Not only have you also challenged bilingualism, fitness and military leadership development goals, your academic studies also contained additional leadership courses that go well beyond your core area of study.  I know that the education you have received here has given you an exceptional foundation that you can firmly build upon for a career dedicated to continued self-development that our Profession of Arms demands.

Classes are over, homework is finished, papers are submitted and exams are complete.  – yes you can cheer!!

The road ahead will be filled with your next challenges as you dig deep, some literally, into the Navy, Army and Air Force careers to which you now launch.

Aujourd’hui est une journée très spécial pour les parents, les grand parents, les époux et épouses, les frères et sœurs, les amis et les proches.  Votre appui a été un élément primordial pour le succès que nous célébrons aujourd’hui.  Vous remarquez, sans doute, que les Cadets ont changé énormément durant les dernières années.  Ils et elles sont maintenant des leaders matures, solides, en forme, responsables, capables, réfléchis, et savent comment prendre soin de tous et chacun.

This has not been an easy road, but they have learned the lessons needed to carry them through their careers as CAF Officers, and they have mastered a breadth of program components, far beyond the purely academic, that no other university student in Canada will see. This makes their academic achievements today even more spectacular.

Je veux également féliciter ceux qui reçoivent les doctorats et les maitrises. En recevant vos diplômes, vous avez démontrer l’excellence dans l’obtention d’une éducation très élevé d’une des meilleures institutions Canadiennes d’études universitaires. Félicitations.

And finally, I would like to congratulate our esteemed Canadian Armed Forces Senior Non-Commissioned Members who now graduate from their studies as part of the NCM Executive Professional Development Programme.  Well done to you all.

The conditions to create such multi-faceted graduates require the efforts of a multi-talented team.  Many individuals contributed their expertise, their time, and their mentoring in developing these cadets and graduates.  I would like to acknowledge the members of the Academic Wing, Training Wing, the Athletic Department, the Corporate Wing and the Support Services Wing: the dedicated individuals who shared their vast wisdom, knowledge, and experience with you, and who supported the institution in which it all happened.

Mais, durant cette occasion d’accomplissement académique, je veux plus particulièrement remercier les efforts de l’escadre académique.  Votre passion de créer et promulguer les connaissances à nos futurs leaders est clairement évidente à travers l’excellence de nos gradués.

The stellar research our faculty have furthered in support of professional curiosity, national need and security endeavours has created a body of knowledge that validates the content and the delivery of our core academic programs, and provides great benefit to many other organizations and Federal departments, and indeed to the very fabric of our national defence and security apparatus.  Thank you for your dedication and for your excellence.

As we rightfully celebrate the achievements of our graduates today, we do so while also keeping close to hearts the memory of the young Canadians we have lost in the last few weeks.  These tragic losses have affected us all deeply and our hearts and arms of care are with the families and friends of Officer Cadets Harrison Kelertas and Brett Cameron. I know our memories of these two young men will inspire us all to be our best selves as we embrace our Canadian Armed Forces ethos of caring leadership in the missions we will lead in the service of Canada in the future.

Cadets, when you think back on your time here, I have no doubt that you will remember the good times along with the rough times, but you will understand that the way now is ever forward. Take everything you’ve learned here and press on, because in the changing face of global security, the Canadian Armed Forces needs you and the excellent leadership you will bring. I am proud of you all.

To all graduates, I offer you my most sincere congratulations on your achievements and I wish you great success and great wellness throughout your career and your personal life.

Truth Duty Valour, Vérité Vaillance Devoir




Royal Military College of Canada / Collège militaire royale du Canada

Principal’s Convocation Speech / Élocution du recteur pour la Collation des grades

Dr H.J. Kowal – 19 May/mai 2016


Mr Vice-Chancellor and RMC Commandant, Brigadier-General Sean Friday (and his lovely wife Anne-Lucie), Honourary Doctorate Recipients: Carol Off and Dr David Bercuson (and family), distinguished guests, Members of the RMC Senate, Board of Governors, the Ex-Cadet Club and Foundation, Deans, Department Heads, Faculty, Staff and students of the Royal Military College and most importantly RMC graduates 2016. Good afternoon everyone.

Bon après-midi tout le monde. Ça me fait grand plaisir d’être ici parmi vous aujourd’hui. C’est bien de voir que nous avons des amis et membres des familles ici avec nous et j’aimerais vous souhaitez tous, la bienvenue au Collège militaire royal du Canada.

It is indeed a great day for so many and I would like to sincerely thank you all for joining us in the celebration of the successes of our most recent graduates. I would like to first take the opportunity to highlight some of our special guests here today including:

• The Former Speaker of the House, Mr. Peter Milliken,

• Members of Parliament: Mr. Mark Gerretsen and Ms. Sherry Romanado.

• Donna Gillespie, the CEO of the Kingston Economic Development Corporation

• RCMP Superintendent Guy Rook

• MGen (Ret’d) Frank Norman (one of our ex- RMC commandants)

• And it is always a pleasure to see Sheila McLeod, Bill and Roland Oliver, Bryan Bailey, John Price here and of course my wife Cheryl.

I bid you all welcome to the 105th convocation ceremony of the Royal Military College of Canada, a national institution steeped in 140 years of history, RMC proudly delivers excellence in officer development, undergraduate and graduate university education, and world-class research in a unique federal bilingual environment, responsive to the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Government of Canada.

C’est avec énormément fierté que j’ajoute quelques commentaires comme recteur aujourd’hui et quelle journée. Pendant la cérémonie aujourd’hui, on va conférer des diplômes de premier cycle et des études supérieurs, dans les facultés des arts, des sciences et du génie, incluant l’attribution de deux doctorats. On va également présenter des prix et récompenses ainsi que les certificats d’études militaires générales aux diplômés du programme exécutif de développement professionnel pour les membres du rang.

It is with mixed emotions that we conduct this ceremony today. Of course we are here today to celebrate the successes of our graduates, but we are also very cognizant and deeply affected by the recent and tragic loss of Harrison Kelertas and Brett Cameron, who will forever be in our thoughts and prayers.

And so it is with this in mind and the outpouring of support that we have received from those around us that I would like to recognize two groups of people as did our Vice-Chancellor. J’aimerais (aussi) reconnaitre les familles et les amis, parce que je veux qu’ils sachent que le soutien qu’ils vous ont donné a eu un effet profond sur votre succès. Je suis également apprécier d’avoir un corps professoral et un personnel étonnants ici au Collège, qui ont travaillé fort pour assurer vos succès. Please let’s recognize (once again) their contributions with a round of applause.

Cher diplômés, Allow me to take this opportunity to applaud your accomplishments and offer my personal congratulations to each and every one of you! As I have gotten to know you well as a Class and some of you even better individually, I must say I am so very proud of you, as you should be of yourselves.

Pour les elofs, quelle année vous avez eu, à partir de défi des quatre piliers, on a eu des échanges, des visites scolaires, notre programme de stages, et bien sûr la visite du champ de batailles. En plus, j’étais impressionné avec le travail des projets en génie, de votre participation à la compétition Université Howard Modèle OTAN et votre organisation du colloque Modèle des Nations Unies ici au Collège. Et je félicite ceux qui ont participé avec succès à des compétitions pour les ingénieurs provincial et nationale.

And who can forget that stellar performance of our debating team against West Point or the RMC Sandhurst Team, successful in competition against 60 other teams.

I could go one with so many more educational experiences and opportunities, but I will just mention the artist in residence program, which was such a tremendous success again this year, this time with Helen Humphries as our Poet-in-Residence.

So many of these experiences and opportunities are unique and add to the richness of our programmes and the excellence of the RMC education and many have been made possible through the outstanding support we continuously receive from ex-cadets and so many others. And so I would like to say how grateful we are to have the support of our alumni and countless contributors through the RMC Club of Canada and the RMC Foundation and I would like to thank them for all they do. A round of applause if you would!

Graduates, I have no doubt that your university education will serve you well and that this is just the beginning of a life-long journey with education and professional development. I offer the following anecdote which I shared at this year’s RMC Model UN opening. During a seminar I attended this past semester, one of our panelists made a very interesting observation. He quoted US President Bill Clinton from not too many years ago in saying that dealing with the internet is like, “…nailing jello to the wall.” Well, guess what he offered, “We now know how to nail jello to the wall.” His point of course is that what seemed not to be possible even a short while ago is now possible. Your generation is experiencing change at an unprecedented rate. Situations change and therefore solutions must change accordingly. So I ask you to consider this, who better than you, tomorrow’s generation of Canadian leaders to find those solutions or to find a better way. You may certainly become the architects of change that fundamentally alter the way Canada engages nationally and internationally. Your future is indeed very bright and I wish you all the best of success!

Vérité Devoir Vaillance / Truth Duty Valour



Brigadier-General Sean Friday

Brigadier-général Sean Friday

Commandant Royal Military College of Canada

Commandant du Collège militaire royal du Canada

Graduation Parade 2016

20 May 2016 – Le 20 mai 2016

– General Vance & CWO West,

– Former Speaker of the House, Mr Milliken,

– Minister of Parliament for Longueuil-Charles-LeMoyne, Ms Sherry Romanado, (and congratulations on your son’s graduation!)

– Vice-Admiral Norman, Lieutenant-General Hainse, Lieutenant-General Whitecross, Major-General Meinzinger, Major-General Rouleau, Major-General Tremblay,

– Dr. Kowal,

– Lieutenant-General Retired Sutherland and members of the RMCC Board of Governors,

– Fellow General and Flag Officers, former Commandants, Officers, Chief Warrant Officers and Non-Commissioned Members of the Canadian Armed Forces and our cherished veterans.

Membres du Club des Collèges Militaires Royaux et de la Fondation des Collèges Militaires Royaux, les Cadets du Collège Militaire Royale du Canada, amis et familles, mesdames et messieurs.

– Graduating Class of 2016.

Good morning and welcome to the Royal Military College of Canada. Bonjour et bienvenue au Collège militaire royal du Canada.

Je me trouve ici aujourd’hui, sur cette estrade, j’observe les nombreux élèves officiers, revêtus de leur tenue écarlate, et je sens une énergie parmi eux; un empressement dans leur pas, une précision dans leur mouvement. Je peux sentir d’ici qu’ils sont fiers de ce qu’ils ont accompli et qu’ils ont hâte de commencer un nouveau chapitre de leur vie… et ils ont de quoi être fier et de quoi avoir hâte. Leurs quatre années de formation sur cette péninsule constituaient tout un défi, mais ce défi les a préparés à en surmonter un autre encore plus grand : celui de devenir des officiers et des leaders des Forces armées canadiennes.

Je me joins aux leaders supérieurs des Forces armées canadiennes qui sont présents ici aujourd’hui pour reconnaître cette fierté et leur faire part de la nôtre en retour. Leur présence témoigne de votre importance fondamentale pour le futur de l’institution. Dans le cadre de vos activités, sachez que, comme moi, ils ont votre réussite à cœur.

I sincerely congratulate all those who are receiving their commission here today, but especially those that can now put the post-nominals ‘rmc’ after their names. You have embraced the four pillars of the College and met the significant challenge they represent.

Some of you have a little more throttle that you have yet to call upon, but will, some of you discovered a whole new engine you didn’t know you had. Keep finding in yourselves the new heights that you can reach and know that now, as commissioned officers of the CAF, your real source of strength and achievement will be the women, men and units you will lead in the years ahead.

The trials and triumphs of cadet life at RMCC are not something that is unknown to me and to many of senior officers with us today. We, like you, stood expectantly on this parade square, awaiting the commencement of our military journey. On many days this year, between challenging the obstacle course, or observing you tackle many difficult exams, or succeeding as you have in many athletic endeavours – or taking the crown at Sandhurst!; you have allowed me to occasionally step back into the shoes of Officer Cadet Friday. And with that perspective, I have been able to see your growth as leaders and as great young Canadians. However, it is with the shoes of Brigadier General Friday that I tackled the obstacle course with Dr. Kowal this year… and I can confirm that wall is still very high!

These trials and triumphs are a part of all our lives and we must navigate them all with equal grace and determination. The sudden and tragic loss of OCdt’s Harrison Kelertas and Brett Cameron has been exceptionally difficult for us all. We feel their loss deeply, we feel a profound sense of grief, a grief that we acknowledge and embrace, but we also give ourselves the permission to celebrate their lives and our own as we celebrate our graduates here today. We seek the support we need, myself included, because we know that seeking support is a sign of strength.

But this College, and the whole of the Canadian Armed Forces … is a family. And this big, sometimes muddy, but always resilient family perseveres in whatever our great country calls upon us to take on. We are reinforced by those deep connections that, in particular, our graduates today have built with each other, connections that will last throughout their lives. We take strength from one another, we give strength to one another, and we embrace an always caring, mission focused leadership that is a central part of our Canadian Profession of Arms.

Over 140 years ago our country had the vision to create a national institution that would generate great military leaders and nation builders for Canada. And since 1876 it has done just that and the Class of 2016 is equal to the task of honouring that great tradition.

Mesdames et messieurs, je suis convaincu que les élèves officiers qui sont devant vous aujourd’hui, ces Canadiens exceptionnels, inciteront et inspireront d’autres personnes à se dépasser. Ces Canadiens exceptionnels seront pour toujours guidés et soutenus par leurs expériences formatives au sein des collèges militaires canadiens. Ces Canadiens exceptionnels reprendront le principe « Vérité, devoir, vaillance » en devenant les prochains dirigeants des FAC.

RMC’s connection to our ever-evolving tradition is made more tangible by the engagement of the members of the Old Brigade and ex-cadets. Additionally, the tireless efforts of the RMC Club and the RMC Foundation, have been exceptionally helpful in enriching the lives and development of our cadets and are tremendously appreciated. Thank you for everything you do.

Director of Cadets – LCol Renahan and Sergeant-Major Rideout – I commend you both on your committed leadership throughout this academic year. Your positive contributions to the greater RMCC mission has been laudable and essential to the progress that has been made throughout this year. In collaboration with our Academic Wing, our Athletics Department and our great cast of supporters and enablers, your superb leadership of Training Wing has resulted in the exceptionally well trained individuals proudly on parade this morning. I wish to thank-you you both in front of the families of our cadets and senior leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces for your leadership and for Training Wing’s dedicated efforts throughout the year.

To the Cadet Wing Commanders, OCdt Archambault and OCdt St. Onge, Gabrielle and Makyla, Bravo-zulu on a remarkable year. You took ownership of your Wing’s morale and you made me very proud.

You, together with your senior Cadet leadership teams, have all demonstrated the leadership acumen required to begin your CAF careers with skill and accountability. Your commitment to the Cadet Wing has not been unnoticed by your peers, and has demonstrated that responsible and accountable leadership will make a difference and you have set an exception example for the third years, today becoming fourth years, that will now prendre la releve.

À tous les finissants de la promotion de 2016, je dis « félicitations pour votre excellent travail. Je suis, et je serai toujours, extrêmement fier de vous ».

To the families and friends here this morning, please accept my sincerest thanks for your continued love and encouragement. This is only one stop on their journey within the Canadian Armed Forces; they will always be sustained by your support in the most trying of times.

We know they are ready and wish them well during their extremely important journey as the newest members of the profession of arms.

Good luck and well done Class of 2016. Félicitations et bonne chance à tous! Truth, Duty, Valour, Verite, Devoirs, Vaillance.