Class Funds for RMCSJ

 

Sig: 30 July 12

Despite the intelligent, well written and informative "dissents" or modifications to the class endowment project originally proposed by Al, which apparently now only amounts to some $2434.31, it just seems to me that Al has made his case so fully and persuasively that we should all of us to a man fully endorse his proposal. 


AKR: 30 July 12

The last entry on the Class web site concerning RMC Class of 57 Bursaries Awarded at RMCSJ was over six weeks ago, so I presume that all inputs have been received concerning the proposal I put forth in my message of 24 May.  Thank you to all who responded. 
 
You will recall that the proposal was:
 
We currently have about $39,000 in our endowment after taking into account the $2,000 given to RMCSJ this year. We do not need this amount to keep the endowment self-sustaining while still giving $2,000 per year to RMCSJ. During discussions recently with staff at the College, it became apparent that there was an unfunded capital project of about $8,000 for the purchase of three plaques to be mounted in the lines of the three squadrons that make up the Cadet Wing: Tracy, Richelieu and Iberville Squadrons (i.e., one plaque per squadron). If we were to fund this small project there would be a statement accompanying each plaque to the effect that it was presented by the RMC Class of 1957. I hope that you will support this project. I submit it for your consideration.
 
After that was written I learned that the actual cost of the plaques was only $2,434.31 including the Class information addition at the bottom of each plaque.  As this is significantly lower than the original estimate, it will hopefully decrease the intensity of the debate.  Thus, despite the four dissenting opinions from Tom Drummond, Bill Hughes, Serge Morin and Peter Harrison (see web site under Discussion Pages), I have proceeded to support the RMCSJ request and authorized the expenditure.  This leaves our Class Endowment at about $36,500, still a goodly sum.  As pointed out by Peter Kirkham in his 04 June post to this discussion, such a total would stand us in good stead for some 20 or so more years using it in much the same way as we have over the past 10 years.
 
Drummond/Hughes Dissent
 
Tom stated, in part: “We are already funding an on-going project at CMR. I do not agree that another should be funded there at this time. A future project should go to RMC Kingston that will benefit or be available to ALL RMC cadets.” Bill added: "I would not support further class donations for RMCSJ now or in the future. I'm with Tom on that one; we've done enough.”  The point is well taken and consideration should be given to making another gift to RMCC.  I think it would be worthwhile to reach a consensus as to what we should do with the endowment as we age.  For example, we could make a single capital gift to RMCC, thereby terminating our support of RMCSJ sometime over the next few years, after identifying a suitable project acceptable to both us and the College.  Or we could give $2,000 grants to both colleges each year until the money runs out in about 10 years (that assuming that RMCC wants such a sum for awards, something they have several million of already (as we know from sitting through the lengthy award presentations during the cadet parade on Saturday morning of Reunion Weekend).  Or, ... well, I’m sure there are lots of other options.
 
I propose, therefore, to look into the various options and come back to you for discussion in plenty of time for us to settle the termination of our endowment on the occasion of our 60th anniversary of graduation in five years.  Inputs from any or all of you are welcome at any time.  In fact, I shall actively solicit inputs from you.
 
Morin/Harrison Dissent
 
Serge wrote (and Peter seconded it):  The funds should be used for initiatives that will improve the quality of the education programs and the intellectual or academic formation of students. We should not resolve the deficiencies of DND to properly fund construction and maintenance of required facilities. Would it be acceptable that a charitable institution finance the painting of Canadian crests on the controversial F-35?  Following an innovative choice by our class to consider the other Collège and its recognition of the bilingual facts in Canada, I would strongly suggest that we continue in the support and reward of activities that leads to a higher level of Canadian patriotism and the improvement of the bicultural respect of our present Canadian Constitution.
 
I would like to edit this statement by removing the sentence that starts with, “Would it be acceptable that ...“ because it is specious and only weakens the rest of his strong argument.  Doing this we get:   

The funds should be used for initiatives that will improve the quality of the education programs and the intellectual or academic formation of students. We should not resolve the deficiencies of DND to properly fund construction and maintenance of required facilities.  Following an innovative choice by our class to consider the other Collège and its recognition of the bilingual facts in Canada, I would strongly suggest that we continue in the support and reward of activities that leads to a higher level of Canadian patriotism and the improvement of the bicultural respect of our present Canadian Constitution.

Who can disagree with such sentiments?  That said, it is obvious that there are deficiencies in DND funding of the colleges, as there are in the funding of the health care system and almost anything else we can think of federally (except, maybe, prisons!).  That is why we, and most other universities, have foundations so that areas not covered by operating budgets of the institution concerned can be met to help students (cadets, in our case).  Plaques to identify squadron lines may seem a small thing, but they are nevertheless important as part of building an identity for the cadets.  We all know how important squadron spirit was when we were cadets.  The plaques are bilingual and will be placed on the outside of the buildings where the cadets live for all to see.  Maybe we should fund squadron plaques for RMCC as well!

I await suggestions for the type of innovated choices that Serge and Peter want that will meet their lofty and laudable goals.  They will be included in the proposal put forth in the previous section.


Peter Harrison: 11 June 12

Excellent pieces by Serge and Sig. What more can I say?


Serge Morin: 09 June 12

I hesitated a few days before giving my view on the class contribution to CMR Saint-Jean, for I don’t make the same analysis as Al on the causes of closing CMR in 1995 nor on the proposed financing of the project presented.

First and foremost, the closing was political and had nothing to do with the budgetary excuses publicly exhibited as the reason.  In 1995, I was requested by the then board of the CMR Club to accompany the President for a presentation to the then Minister on National Defence David Collonette.  We explained the reasons why CMR could not be closed.  The main point was, as it had been in 1952, the difference in the education systems between Ontario and some Western provinces, and that of Québec and the Maritimes provinces.  We told him that the closing would immediately affect the recruiting of candidates from Eastern Canada.  At least this message was understood.  The prep year remained, but to save face, the education activities were moved from the Collège campus to the military base in St-Jean.  Later when they realized that they could not recruit candidates in sufficient numbers, not to mention the decrease of quality of candidates, they tried to camouflage the situation by reopening of the CMR campus.

I will not enter into other points discussed with Collonette, nor on the poor performance of the RMC Club in foreseeing the eventual result of closing an outstanding Federal university who succeeded in teaching in both official languages of Canada.  I remember however that we were then asked by Collonette and also by a representative of the Senate Committee that followed: «do you doubt that we can make Kingston a bilingual federal institution?  We replied yes».

If we make a succinct analysis of the results of the Federal Government’s policies, it appears that the consequences do not follow the propaganda:

1.       The Withers report of 1995 recommended that at least 35% to 40% of future officers in the Canadian armed forces came from military Colleges. (Recall the problems of ethics concerning Canadian values).

2.       Since the closing of CMR St-Jean, RMC Kingston graduates on the average 225 candidates per year, i.e. 16% to !8% of the number recommended.

3.       The RMC campus in Kingston is at the saturation point, and presents little potential for growth.

4.       In the past few years, on the average, 25% of Kingston’s graduates do not meet the minimum standards of bilingualism specified by the Government and that seems quite acceptable by the military and political authorities.  (N.B. For the past two years there are not sufficient bilingual candidates to fill the officers requirements of the R 22R).

5.       In our time, approximately 10 candidates would apply for every opened post at the colleges.  In the past few years, it is reported by the recruiting units that for 80 openings reserved in priority for francophone candidates in all of Canada, they barely receive 60 applications.  The quality of selection is certainly affected, and the strategy of competition with the Québec’s CEGEP systems is certainly not working.

6.       CMR acts presently as a military assimilation center, and bilingualism is on the decrease.

7.       The return of CMR as a full fledge university would no doubt help in correcting this situation.  It can be done with a curriculum complementary to that of Kingston and not in competition with RMC.  But I am far from convinced that the present government has the interest or the intellectual competence to enter into such a revolutionary initiative and that the solution would receive the sanctions of the traditionally conservative RMC Club.

We could enter into a long exchange concerning accuracy of these figures or their interpretation, but it would not change much.  The results are there.

Now to return to Al’s proposal suggesting that part of the funds of our class be used for capital projects such as plaques to identify the squadrons, I do not agree.  The funds should be used for initiatives that will improve the quality of the education programs and the intellectual or academic formation of students. We should not resolve the deficiencies of DND to properly fund construction and maintenance of required facilities.  Would it be acceptable that a charitable institution finance the painting of Canadian crests on the controversial F-35?

Following an innovative choice by our class to consider the other Collège and its recognition of the bilingual facts in Canada, I would strongly suggest that we continue in the support and reward of activities that leads to a higher level of Canadian patriotism and the improvement of the bicultural respect of our present Canadian Constitution.


AKR: 05 June 12

Back from a very pleasant 10 days in southern Maine.  During my absence there were nine replies to the subject message:  the two you are aware of (Tom’s and yours) plus seven others.  The comments of the latter, sometimes in part, follow:

(1)  From Gus Armstrong:  “Go for it!”.

(2)  From Dick Patterson:  “Sounds like a plan to me.”

(3)  From Jeep Fortier:  “Concerning your proposal, the concern I have is that the non-CMR clan in our class might think we are doing more for CMR than RMC.  As far as I am concerned, the plaques are a worthwhile project”.

(4)  From Len Pitura:  “I am in agreement with the proposal to mount the three plaques”.

(5)  From Jim Fox:  “I’m one hundred per cent in support of your proposal.”

(6)  From Spence Volk: “I vote for the 3 needed plaques, but would suggest having one or two more bids on creating them as $2700/plaque seems a bit stiff.”

(7)  From George Logan:   ... I really don't have any comments - just compliments on what you have done ...”

There is also, of course, the discussion you have going on the class site to which Peter Kirkham has contributed as well as Tom having a second input.  I’ll send you some additional thoughts shortly in a separate message 

I have attached a photo of one of the proposed plaques.  Under it would be a small brass plate with the inscription:  Présentée par la promotion du RMC de 1957 / Presented by the RMC Class of 1957


Tom Drummond: 04 June 12

Further to my previous input, it occurs to me that a class bursary to RMCC should be kept focused, so that one prize is given, not scattered over the whole college curriculum, or multiple years. Our contribution would therefore be more meaningful in terms of the dollar value of the bursary.
 
This means of course that arts, science and engineering cadets are equally eligible to win the bursary, so it would have to be a first year cadet. It makes sense therefore that we should select one of the core curriculum courses for our bursary. I have looked at the RMCC web page and examined the core courses for first year.
 
http://www.rmc.ca/aca/ac-pe/ug-apc/mpl-pml/index-eng.asp#Mandatory
 
The current Canadian military role recently has been in peacekeeping and peacemaking, so perhaps providing a bursary for the core course PSE 103(Introduction to Human Psychology), required by all first year cadets, might be a logical subject for the bursary, in keeping with the future requirements for all graduating officers in their serving careers. The following describes this course:
 
“This course is designed to provide the student with an understanding of basic psychological principles. The essentials of the scientific method and its application to psychology will be presented. Concepts such as development, learning, memory, motivation, intelligence, stress and health, personality, psychological disorders, and social psychology will be discussed.”
 
http://www.rmc.ca/aca/ac-pe/ug-apc/mpl-pml/course-cours-100-eng.asp#pse-psf-103

Peter Kirkham: 04 June 12

To fill in the numbers, the following scenarios give us some guidance:
 
1. if we could earn 3% per year, inflation was 2% per year, and we paid out an initial $2000 per year, adjusted for inflation each year ( ie yr 2 we disperse 2000 x 1.02), we would exhaust the $39000 fund in 21 years.
 
2. if we earned 4% instead of 3% per year, all other factors being the same, the fund is exhausted in 24 years.
 
3. if we only paid out $2000 per year, with no inflation adjustment each year, and the rate of return was 4%, all other factors being the same, we exhaust the fund in 27 years.
 
I don't know what the expectations of the class are in terms of perpetuity but, as a general rule, with the above parameters, we could think of the fund lasting 20 years on average.
(NOTE: THE $2000 IS THE TOTAL ANNUAL DISPERSION FROM THE FUND; NOT ANY ADDITION TO WHAT WE ARE ALREADY DISPERSING).
 
I don't have enough money in the pot to have a strong view on its dispersion. However, in terms of equity, Tom's observation deserves some consideration.
 
One could have equity, for example, if the award was made at RMC, in such a fashion that all cadets, regardless of institutional attendance, had a chance to participate.
 
But, as I have said, I don't have enough skin the in the game. Others who may be more involved should have the final say in my opinion.


WIH: 03 June 12

I must confess that I don't quite follow the math behind a fund of $39,000 being able to deliver $2000/year for awards. That's just over 5%. To reduce the fund by $8,000 would bring the required yield to 6.5%. Have I missed something or am I dealing with the wrong bank? I would not support further class donations for RMCSJ now or in the future. I'm with Tom on that one; we've done enough.


Tom Drummond: 26 May 12

We are already funding an on-going project at CMR. I do not agree that another should be funded there at this time. A future project should go to RMC Kingston that will benefit or be available to ALL RMC cadets. The argument that it is hard to identify a project at RMC really doesn’t hold water. Why can we not provide a prize to one of the cadets in each year, for example.
 
Maybe this is a topic for our class web site. The above can be quoted as an input from me.

An exchange between AKR and WIH:

WIH: 24 May 12

Two points:

  • I don't know how you managed to keep track of the "shifting sand" behind those presentations.
  • You did not identify the mechanism by which the class members will express their opinion; a vote at the 55th?, Emails?, a ballot?

AKR: 24 May 12

Will reply in more detail in 10 days.  My practice has been to see what replies I get – votes are much too formal and time consuming!.  Already several replies highly in favour.


This message is addressed to the 93 members of the RMC Class of 57, including widows, for whom I have an email address

 
Gentlemen and Ladies,
 
HISTORY
 
Fund Raising Campaign for Entry into Old Brigade
 
You will recall that we held an off-cycle mini-union in 2000, half way between our 40th Anniversary of Graduation Reunion in 1997 and our entry into the Old Brigade in 2003.  At that reunion we agreed to undertake a three-year fund raising campaign so that we could make a suitable gift to the College to mark our entry into the Old Brigade.  Although this campaign took a while to catch on, in the end it was highly successful in that it raised about $86,000 with a very high class participation rate (a rate, I might add, that was the envy of many at the time).  It really was a most satisfactory effort on the part of the class as a whole.
 
First Class Foundation Project
 
Very early on in this campaign, we decided that part of the money would go to support Richelieu Squadron, located at Campus Fort Saint-Jean (the site of the old CMR, which had been closed in 1995).  Richelieu Squadron (initially known as La Compagnie Fort Saint-Jean) was the equivalent of the Preparatory Year at the old CMR.  It was formed in 1996 in reaction to severe criticism from many quarters in Quebec about the closing of CMR the previous year.  Soon after its establishment, Richelieu Squadron became the 13th Squadron of RMC, the other 12 being located at the Kingston campus of the College.  We undertook to support the 80 to 100 cadets that made up the Squadron mainly due to the unique relationship of the Class of 57 with CMR, being the first class to graduate from RMC with classmates who started at CMR.   We also took into consideration the rather isolated situation of the Squadron and the little help it was getting from elsewhere.
 
Thus we decided to set aside an initial $30,000 of the money donated by classmates in a Foundation endowment in our name, with the intention of giving $1,500 to Richelieu Squadron annually to be divided up into a number of awards (or bursaries as the staff preferred to call them) to be presented to top cadets in such categories as best academic performance, best physical fitness, best second language skills, best military performance and the like.  It was felt that this sum would more or less equal the interest earned annually, hence the endowment would be self-sustaining.  Thus, commencing in 2001, I (or a couple of times Bill Lynn) regularly attended Richelieu Squadron’s annual Mess Dinner in March or April at which the Class of 57 cheque was presented to the Squadron Officer in front of the cadets along with an explanation of where the money came from (our endowment).  These presentations were always greeted with enthusiastic applause from the cadets and their military staff. 
 
Starting a couple of months later in May 2001, and carrying on until 2010, members of our class (seven being the most in any one year) have dutifully and faithfully attended the Richelieu Squadron End of Year Parade and presented bursaries varying from $150 to $300 to the winning cadets. From time to time I recall photos of the presenters being published on our class web site.  In the end we assigned $35,000 to this endowment and I have gradually increased the amount of money for bursaries to $2,000.  Rather than running down the endowment, the opposite has occurred thanks to the investment policies of the Foundation and ongoing donations from a small number of classmates.  At the end of 2011, the endowment stood at $40,709.91!
 
Following the opening of the new Royal Military College Saint-Jean (RMCSJ) in 2008, the manner in which our bursaries were presented began to change.  This was because RMCSJ was accredited to grant a two-year CEGEP (Junior College) diploma, known as a DEC, by the Province of Quebec with the course content being the equivalent of that taught in the first year at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) at Kingston.  Commencing in 2009, therefore, there was a Convocation at which the CEGEP diplomas were presented to the graduating cadets (who would go on to second year at RMCC).  This ceremony was, and still is, held on the Friday the day before the End of Year Parade.  As a result, the awarding of our bursaries for academic excellence and physical fitness was transferred to Convocation, while our other bursaries continued to be presented as part of the End of Year Parade the next day.
 
In 2009 and 2010, therefore, I attended Convocation (Friday evening) and presented the bursaries there, and additional class members came the following day (Saturday morning) to attend the End of Year Parade and make the other presentations.  In 2011 things changed again, and there was only need for one member of the class at both ceremonies, even though the number of Class of 57 bursaries remained the same (or perhaps increased by one) and we continued to get the same great exposure.  I did the honours for both mainly because the End of Year Parade included the Consecration and Presentation of the College Colours and that both lengthened and complicated the ceremony (the whole affair was tightly controlled by the RMCSJ military staff due to the presence of the Governor General).
 
Many thanks go to Bill Lynn for organizing classmates to attend the End of Year Parades to present bursaries up to and including 2010.  in addition to Bill, other members of the class who regularly attended these parades to make presentations on behalf of the class included:  Serge Morin (often), Peter Harrison (often), Jack Cadieux, Dean Wellsman, Murray Copeland, Jeep Fortier, Al Dormer, George McClure (and probably one or two others I’ve overlooked).
 
Finally, this year, the presentations were again modified!  First of all on 09 May I attended a new event, the Cérémonie de mérite sportif, at which I presented three bursaries for physical fitness (top male cadet, top female cadet and  overall top performing cadet).  From my point of view, this was an unsatisfactory affair because it was combined with presentations to winners from many CF units in the area, some from as far away as Montreal.  Although all the cadets were present and made up a good proportion of the attendees, the awards they won got somewhat lost in the crowd, particularly the three that I gave on behalf of the class.  I don't think it will be worthwhile to attend this affair again if it continues in the same vein.  
--
I returned to RMCSJ eight days later for Convocation and the End of Year Parade (18-19 May).  Both these ceremonies went very well with six Class of 57 bursaries being presented at the former (three by me, although I was under the impression it would only be one) and one at the latter, a $500 bursary to “the officer cadet in his or her second year at the College with the top overall performance in the four components of RMC Saint-Jean’s curriculum”, again presented by me.
 
A new award was introduced this year at the End of Year Parade thanks to a generous donation to the College by the estate of Jack Cadieux, who sadly died last year.  It consisted of a $500 bursary and an iPad and was given to “the officer cadet in his or her first year at the College with the top overall performance in the four components of RMC Saint-Jean’s curriculum”.  The presentation was made by Ruth Watson, Jack's long-time partner and was very nicely done.  As you can see, the Class of 57 was very visible!  Also in attendance were Bill and Muriel Campbell, who drove Ruth down from Ottawa for the ceremony.
 
This was Bill’s first visit to RMCSJ and he wrote the following to me a few days ago:  “... the Class of 1957 has a very high profile at CMR. On the few occasions when I mentioned to someone that I was a member of the Class of 1957 I was warmly acknowledged because of the high esteem held for our Class. It was an eye-opener for me to see how many awards sponsored by the Class of 1957 {were} presented at Convocation.”
 
Second Class Foundation Project
 
There was, of course, more money collected from 2000 to 2003 and our intention was to direct it to the College at Kingston.  As I reported to you back in June 2003, raising another $40,000 wasn't a problem (thanks to generosity of so many of you), but finding a suitable project at the College for that amount wasn’t so simple, believe it or not!  A new Foundation strategy was being elaborated during the summer of 2003, and that got in the way of selecting something that was needed by the College and was within our price range.  In the end, however, as you will recall, the College purchased a much desired TV Interview Broadcasting Facility with the money we donated and actually had it up and running by Reunion Weekend 2003 so that we could actually see it.  In fact, our fundraising was so good, we overshot the $40,000 target by $6,000 and we gave that to the College too so that the room where the TV Interview Broadcasting Facility was located could be air conditioned.
 
I do not know how this Facility has stood the test of time and the rapid changes in technology over the past nine years.  Certainly, it got good press early on.  I’ll try to find out and let you know.
 
PROPOSAL
 
We currently have about $39,000 in our endowment after taking into account the $2,000 given to RMCSJ this year.  We do not need this amount to keep the endowment self-sustaining while still giving $2,000 per year to RMCSJ.   During discussions recently with staff at the College, it became apparent that there was an unfunded  capital project of about $8,000 for the purchase of three plaques to be mounted in the lines of the three squadrons that make up the Cadet Wing:  Tracy, Richelieu and Iberville Squadrons (i.e., one plaque per squadron).   If we were to fund this small project there would be a statement accompanying each plaque to the effect that it was presented by the RMC Class of 1957.  I hope that you will support this project.  I submit it for your consideration.
 
 
If there are clarifications you would like to have regarding what is written above, do not hesitate to ask.  It’s been too long since I gave you an update, so it is reasonable that you may have questions.