Two Ex Cadets recognized with honorary doctorates

Photos by 25782 OCdt Brandon Friesen

The Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Peter MacKay, in his capacity as Chancellor of the Royal Military College of Canada conferred 61 undergraduate and graduate degrees during convocation on Thursday, November 17, 2011.

“It’s a profound honour and a privilege to be at the Royal Military College of Canada to confer degrees on these great leaders and future leaders of Canada and the Canadian Forces,” said Minister MacKay. “RMCC is a great university and its graduates continue to distinguish themselves around the world.”

Also recognized with honorary doctorates were 3814 Brigadier-General (Ret’d) John “Jack” Cadieux and 8813 Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret’d) John Desmond Gibson. BGen Cadieux’s Honorary Degree was awarded posthumously.

The Royal Military College of Canada is a longstanding national institution with a world-class reputation for training and educating leaders for Canada and the world. Given this reputation, and consistent with the practices of other academic institutions, RMCC periodically recognizes national and world leaders with honorary degrees.

BGen Cadieux had a distinguished career in the military as well as in the public and private sectors. BGen Cadieux was actively involved in higher education, including as a member of Faculty at RMCC. He later served as Commandant of the Royal Military College, Saint Jean, where he helped introduce a new program leading to the Bachelor of Administration degree.

LCol (Ret’d) Gibson is the essence of a volunteer citizen-soldier, serving continuously for more than 42 years. LCol Gibson’s volunteer work includes as a member and chairman of various committees of the St. John Ambulance and as a member of the Volunteer Lawyers Service. A graduate of the Royal Military College, he is also a strong supporter of the RMC Club and has held various positions, including as National President.

The decision to bestow an Honorary Degree rests with the RMCC Senate, an independent body whose function is to grant degrees and honorary degrees.

Le ministre de la Défense nationale, l’honorable Peter MacKay, a conféré en sa qualité de chancelier 61 diplômes de premier cycle et d’études supérieures au cours de la collation des grades du Collège militaire royal du Canada (CRMC), le jeudi 17 novembre 2011.

« C’est un immense honneur et un privilège d’être ici, au Collège militaire royal du Canada, pour conférer des diplômes à ces grands leaders du Canada et des Forces canadiennes, ainsi qu’à ceux qui leur succéderont », a déclaré le ministre MacKay. « Le CRMC est une grande université et ses diplômés continuent de se distinguer partout sur la planète. »

On a également rendu hommage au brigadier-général (à la retraite) John « Jack » Cadieux et au lieutenant-colonel (à la retraite) John Desmond Gibson en leur décernant un doctorat honoris causa. Le doctorat honoris causa du bgén Cadieux a été conféré à titre posthume.

Le Collège militaire royal du Canada est une institution nationale de longue date, réputée à l’échelle internationale pour l’instruction et la formation qu’elle offre aux leaders du Canada et du monde. Compte tenu de cette réputation, et conformément aux pratiques en usage dans d’autres établissements d’enseignement, le CMRC honore périodiquement des leaders du pays et du monde en leur décernant des doctorats honoris causa.

Le bgén Cadieux a mené une carrière remarquable dans le milieu militaire ainsi que dans les secteurs public et privé. Il s’est impliqué activement dans le domaine de l’éducation supérieure et a enseigné au CMRC. Il a servi ultérieurement en qualité de commandant du Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, où il a contribué à la mise sur pied d’un nouveau programme menant à un baccalauréat en administration.

Le lcol (à la retraite) Gibson représente l’essence même du soldat-citoyen bénévole. Il a servi continuellement pendant plus de 42 ans. Dans le cadre de son travail de bénévolat, il a été notamment membre et président de divers comités de l’Ambulance Saint-Jean et membre de Volunteer Lawyers Service. Diplômé du Collège militaire royal, il est également un ardent défenseur du Club CMR, où il a occupé divers postes dont celui de président national.

La décision de conférer un doctorat honoris causa revient au Sénat du CMRC, organisme indépendant dont la fonction consiste à décerner des diplômes et des doctorats honoris causa.

7943 Bill Lye provides “voice” for Convocation Address…

Bill Lye was asked to provide the voice for the address prepared by John Gibson who is recovering from health related problems dealing with his speech.

The Lye and Gibson families have a long history together.

Bill’s father was John’s father’s senior at RMC and both were Sappers; Bill was John’s senior; 2530 BGen William Lye was Commandant when John graduated; John became the lawyer for the former commandant; Mrs Lye (Bill’s mother) was at one time engaged to John’s Uncle Philip; Bill was pleased to toast the bride when he and Lynne Stethem were married.

John Gibson delivered the eulogy at BGen Lye’s funeral.

John drafted the address and Bill delivered it on his behalf.

The following is the Convocation Address, prepared by 8813 Lt. Col (Ret) John Desmond Gibson and delivered by 7943 Major (Ret) Bill Lye:

Monsieur le Chancelier, Mon Général le Commandant et vice-chancelier, Monsieur le Recteur, Mme Watson, Mme Cadieux, invités distingués, Diplomés collègues et familles, et mes amis, I am greatly honoured to have been asked to give the Convocation address to-day. I do so with some trepidation. I have only given one address at RMC before. It was on parade. I was the reviewing officer. My address was designed to appeal to the cadets on parade, and it did. But some concerned citizen had a letter published in the Whig Standard objecting violently to the impropriety of my remarks! So I hope if there is anyone here from the Whig Standard, you will be kind.

This is my fourth Convocation at RMC; the first was when I was a school boy. My grandfather was getting a Doctorate of Laws. It was 1965. I was 15. Everybody was very nice to me. My next visit to the College was two years later when I reported on the train as a recruit. As I anticipated, the atmosphere was entirely different!

The next Convocation was in 1971, when I made it through!

The most recent was getting an MA in War Studies.

And now there is today. I can only think that after all these Convocations, they will finally throw me out!

Now this address is about 2 things. It is about you, who are receiving degrees today, and it is about RMC which is dispensing them.

En ce qui concerne le CMR-C, il a été décrit comme le coeur intellectuel des Forces canadiennes. Je ressens une vive émotion lorsqu’il s’agit du CMR-C. C’est une institution nationale. Mon grand-père et mon père sont venus ici. J’ai eu, au début de mes études, toutes sortes d’opportunités, mais je suis venu au CMR-C parce que j’étais convaincu que c’était le meilleur collège du Canada. J’en suis maintenant persuadé. Je peux même affirmer qu’il est bien meilleur maintenant que lorsque j’y étais. Le programme de baccalauréat a été perfectionné; la première année a évolué. De mon temps, on avait l’impression que l’intention générale, du CMR-C, était de faire échouer les étudiants de première année ! Malgré cette sensation, nous avons, heureusement pour moi et pour mes collègues de la première année, reçu un enseignement exceptionnel qui a été donné par d’excellents professeurs et le soutien des membres des années supérieures. Grâce à eux, nous avons réussi nos études et je suis ici aujourd’hui devant vous.

But I want to specially address the post graduate programme. When I was a cadet it was in infancy. There were a few odd fellows floating around doing War Studies, but none of us had any idea what was going on. Now, you only have to look at the post graduate calendar to appreciate the depth and breadth of the post graduate resources and opportunities. And what needs to be emphasized is the quality. In part because the numbers are low, the quality is hugely high. It is an achievement of which RMC should be immensely proud. And the extension programme is an enormous initiative of the greatest value to all members of the Canadian Forces and to the CF itself. I was a beneficiary.

Mais on ne peut jamais être assez prudent. En effet, le collège a, beaucoup de fois, été assiégé. Je me rappelle lorsque mon père me racontait l’emportement de Mme. Agnès McPhail à la Chambre des Communes, avant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, lorsqu’elle a déclaré que le Collège devrait fermer ses portes; quand le Collège militaire Royal Roads et le CMR de St- Jean ont été fermés, le CMR-C lui-même était sur le fil du rasoir. Je me souviens également, quand j’étais président du Club des CMR, des menaces de compressions budgétaires qui auraient aboli l’ensemble du programme des études supérieures. Ainsi, où que vous alliez, s’il vous plaît, rester vigilant, préserver et fortifier ce que nous chérissons tant.

Now to you, the graduates of today. You had the drive to sign up and the guts to see it through. There was no compulsion. Many, if not most of you, have families who must have been supportive and deserve great credit. But you have the honour and satisfaction of receiving a degree of the highest quality from the institution for which I have the highest regard, as I have for you for completing it.

Mes amis, je vous souhaite bonne chance à vous tous. Or, as we say in the Artillery, Good Shooting!


One Comment

  • Jane Youngson

    June 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    We were devastated to learn of John Gibson’s death. We had not known of his illness until we read of it in Veritas. We – Jane and I – have wonderful memories of John and the visits with him to various parts of the country when I was Executive Director of the Club. He was truly a Renaissance man and we are saddened by his passing. It seems suddenly that the a lot of fun has gone out of the world. Who will ever forget John’s monologue on the “levers of power” delivered on the occasion of a visit to Royal Roads, a few days after the announcement of its closing! Our sympathy to his family – may happy memories of life with the Great Gildersleeve help a little.