Dr Harry Kowal was installed as the Principal of Royal Military College of Canada Friday 22 November in a ceremony at Currie Hall.

An overflow crowd consisting of staff, alumni, guests and members of the public gathered in the 92 year old Hall named after General Sir Arthur w. Currie, GCMG, KCB, Commander of the Canadian Corps in the First World War to witness Dr Kowal’s installation and the Fall Convocation.

Vice Chancellor, BGen Al Meinzinger addressed the attentive audience.

“As I have learned over the last several months, the College succeeds only when there is balance “between” and “within” the various components. Principal Kowal knows this formula all too well, having served previously at RMCC as a military faculty member and a volunteer Division Commander within Training Wing. It is for the depth of his experience, his genuine and very personal and caring leadership approach and his instinct for doing what is right that I know the academic wing within the College is in great hands.

Comme vous le savez sans doute aussi, l’Équipe du Collège continue de se pencher sur des façons de travailler plus efficacement dans une réalité où il y a de plus en plus de contraintes sur le plan des ressources. As we plot and navigate our way ahead, I have complete trust and faith in our new Principal. I know he will ensure that the strength and vitality of our academic programs remain rock solid and that our Faculty will continue to be recognized nationally and internationally for their excellence.

Harry – you are a proven leader who was highly respected as an experienced and dedicated general officer within the Canadian Armed Forces. As our newest Principal and government in council appointee, I know you will be instrumental to the effective and efficient functioning of the College over the next 5 plus years and that you will work tirelessly for the betterment of your faculty team.”

Dr Kowal is the 6th Principal of the Royal Military College of Canada. Some may say 13th. It all depends on the fine definition of Principal. I may stand to be corrected.

Although the college opened in 1876, the role of what is now formally known as the Principal did not come into existence until 1967 when Dean JR Dacey held the position until 1978. D.E. Tilley followed until 1984. John Plant – who was in attendance for this installment – was Principal for 15 years. John Scott Cowan took over in 1999 and stayed on until 2008. Joel Sokolsky completed a five year term this past summer.

During the ceremony, Dr Kowal was first installed as Principal in a presentation involving the Chairman of the Board of Governors, BGen (Ret) Don Macnamara.

“Mr. Vice Chancellor, I present to you, Harry James Kowal, Doctor of Philosophy, teacher, scholar, professional engineer, researcher, administrator and former Commandant of the Aeronautical Engineering and Testing Establishment. I ask that you might be pleased to invest him in the Office of the Principal of the Royal Military College of Canada”

Invitation by the Vice-Chancellor

“Are you, Harry James Kowal, prepared to accept the duties and responsibilities of the Office of the Principal of the Royal Military College of Canada as prescribed by the Statutes of the Queen’s Regulation and Orders for the Canadian Military Colleges and do you promise to uphold the academic integrity of the College, to defend its rights, and to promote the welfare of its members, to the best of your ability?”

Pledge by the new Principal

“I, Harry James Kowal, pledge myself to perform the duties of the Office of the Principal of the Royal Military College of Canada as prescribed by the Statutes of the Queen’s Regulation and Orders for the Canadian Military Colleges. I declare my accordance with the role and objectives of the College and I promise to uphold the academic integrity of the College, to defend its rights, and to promote the welfare of its members to the best of my ability.”

Investiture by the Vice-Chancellor

“Harry James Kowal, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Vice-Chancellor of the Royal Military College of Canada, I now invest upon you, the authority of the Office of the Principal of the Royal Military College of Canada, with all its responsibilities, duties, rights and privileges, so that you may serve the College and its members, to the best of your ability.

At this time, Dr. Kowal officially donned the robes of office. He then addressed the audience switching from english to french with ease.

Major points from his speech:

“For me, the opportunity to become the Principal of the Royal Military College of Canada was not just another job. For me, this appointment is an opportunity to continue to serve Canada and to give back to an institution that has given me so much, but most importantly it is an opportunity for me to help to shape and positively contribute to the education of Canada’s future leaders.

Comme recteur, je suis responsable de la direction académique et pour la conduite de toutes les activités académiques du collège et les activités de la langue second. Je comprends biens que la culture académique et militaire est unique avec des valeurs qui continuent à faire le Collège une institution prestigieuse. Renommée pour le programme des elofs, le Collège est également apprécié dans la population globale des Forces armées canadiennes grâce aux programmes à distance. En plus, les activités de recherche sont essentiels ici au collège parce ce qu’ils soutiennent les besoins du service et des diplômés des études supérieures et ils permettent un climat intellectuel pour nos professeurs et membres du personnel.

While I have not been in the seat for a significant amount of time, I have given much thought in terms of strategic vision and I hope to bring some heat and light to four distinct areas:

1. It is essential for all four components of the College to continue to work closely together. We are truly a university with a difference and we need to embrace what sets us apart; so it is imperative to find that right balance of Academics, Military Training, Athletics and Second Language Education.

2. Deuxièment, c’est très important de trouver une façon de rétablir le moral et l’esprit de corps du personnel académique. Je suis encouragé par l’objectif de Mgén Tremblay d’établir un budget stable parce que je crois qu’il va aider à établir et à gérer des attentes réalistes et je crois sincèrement que si nous continuons à être ouvert et honnête avec nos communications, cela nous aidera à établir une atmosphère de collégialité.

3. The Royal Military College of Canada is one of the most prestigious institutions in this country with a very proud history (yes, I also am biased). This is vital ground that needs our complete attention. There are many factors at play here, including investing in our people so that they are the best professors and technical staff possible to teach and mentor our future leaders, adjusting the organization structure to include a Vice Principal Academics and Associate who can bring a focus to our Quality program and help transform the Library for the benefit of the entire College, bringing into focus all the research work at RMCC so we can have detailed oversight over the work, the researchers and the funding. It also means providing scrutiny and accountability with our budgets, striking the right balance of civilian students at the College as well as marketing outside the College the great work that is done here.

4. Enfin, ma dernière zone stratégique est la communication et la représentation interne et externe. Je vais continuer à profiter de l’occasion de passer l’information à l’Assemblée Générale des Professeurs et Conseil des Etudes chaque mois et je vais participer aux engagements extérieurs du Collège aussi fréquent que possible. En plus, c’est mon intention de continuer les bonnes communications avec l’association des professeurs et de former les bonnes relations dans le domaine des universités civiles à travers du Canada.

I do understand there is a lot of work and challenges ahead of me and I also know that I have a lot to learn. But even in the short time I have been here, some perspectives have become crystal clear: I know and appreciate with sincerity that I have the complete support of the Cmdt, BGen Meinzinger. I also know that I am truly blessed to be part of a great team that forms the Academic Wing with exceptional leadership from the Deans, Associate Deans, Heads of Departments and the Registrar. I am amazed and impressed by the outstanding contributions from all our faculty members and staff and I am thankful for the superb group of professionals supporting me in the Principal’s office helping me on a daily basis navigate my way through the sea of policies and procedures that are essentially to moving forward university affairs. I have tremendous confidence in all our ability to face the toughest of challenges and I commit to you that I will put my heart and soul into being the academic leader, RMC needs.

C’est vrai qu’on a de grands défis devant nous et qu’il y a beaucoup d’activités qui vont occuper notre temps, mais je crois sincèrement si on travaille ensemble il n’y a rien qu’on ne peut pas faire.”

After the installation ceremony, the Convocation commenced.

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