Personal reflections tell the story of Royal Roads

Don Descoteau

Royal Roads’ 75th anniversary Changing Lives Story Project hit community newsstands Friday with an article in the Goldstream News Gazette.

Here is an excerpt:

Universities and colleges are places of learning, first and foremost. But besides receiving or providing an education, what kind of long-term effect does a person’s time at a post-secondary institution have on them?

Royal Roads University has undertaken a project to get to the heart of that subject as part of its 75th anniversary celebrations.

The Changing Lives Story Project encourages former cadets, faculty and staff from Royal Roads’ 75-year history – 20 as a public university and the previous 55 as a military college – to write their reflection about their time at the school and how it shaped who they are today.

A dozen or so stories are already online at There are funny moments described, such as ex-cadet Doug Kobayashi and his childhood buddies sneaking in and fishing in the ponds; and thrilling tales like Royal Canadian Air Force Capt. Sarah Goul’s story of riding in a Snowbird jet as part of the Sunset Ceremony that kicked off the 75th anniversary celebrations at Royal Roads in April.

Most of the stories, including one written by alumnus and associate faculty member Alice MacGillivray, speak to the educational impact the experience provided and how it relates to what they’re doing today.

But there’s also a thread that runs through the submissions, says Katharine Harrold, vice-president of [communications] and advancement at Royal Roads.

“One of the things that is common in the stories is this sense of how special the place is to them,” she says. “It’s beyond just a memory, it’s held dear to them and we really see that bridging the decades.”

There is a definite “pride of place” among alumni regarding the RRU grounds, she adds. Tucked in the middle of the forest, with the ocean at its foot and gardens and ponds sprinkled throughout, it is an idyllic West Shore icon. “There’s a sense of (the campus) taking people’s breath away and being that backdrop for pivotal moments in their lives”

Read the entire article on page A16 of the Goldstream News Gazette e-edition flipbook.