In an emotional letter, Royal Military College Commandant Sébastien Bouchard has announced his retirement after 33 years of serving with the Canadian Armed Forces. Bouchard became the Commandant and Vice-Chancellor of RMC on 14 July 2017 and has been enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces since 1988. He is a graduate of RMC with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.
Despite describing his time as RMC Commandant as the best posting of his career, the Brigadier General highlighted the particular challenges that the college faced this year. “Like the 2021 graduates, it was not how I envisioned my last year at the College,” said Bouchard. “Even with the pandemic, the temporary loss of the computer network and the departure of some of our brothers and sisters, each of us faced challenges. Things would have been different, whether it be parades, sports, academics, etc,” he added.
In July, the college announced that it was investigating a cybersecurity attack. This resulted in an outage affecting the institution’s academic network. Then in October, Bouchard announced that all first year cadets would be sent home as a result of mounting cases in the pandemics second wave.
While these hardships were tough, Bouchard noted that they have made the institution and its cadets more resilient. “Once our officer cadets return to campus, I fully believe that we will appreciate all the more the camaraderie, the spirit of belonging and mutual assistance that defines us, that sets us apart as an educational institution,” said Bouchard.
In explaining his motivations for retiring, Bouchard said that it was a decision that he wanted to make on his own terms, with his family. “After many hours of discussion with Karine, we came to the conclusion that, right now, nothing could outdo these four wonderful years spent at RMC,” he wrote.
August 15th, 2021 will mark Bouchard’s Final Day as Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada. Bouchard says that he has no regrets, except for wishing he had been more involved as an Officer Cadet at RMC. “It is funny how things work out; I was able to make up for it as Commandant years later,” he added.