An inheritance of learning spans decades for Calgary family

June 16, 2014
Jean Macgregor
1950 Royal Roads Military College cadet Allan Chenin (centre) and friends

When Allan Chanin arrived at Royal Roads as an officer cadet in 1950, he didn’t simply show up to receive an education.

He started a family tradition.

Sixty-three years after Chanin walked the Royal Roads Military College halls and grounds, his daughter Michelle Dulmadge attended Royal Roads University as a student in the Graduate Certificate in Strategic Human Resource Management program.

Now 88 years old, Chanin gave his daughter some good advice as she prepared for her residency in the spring of 2013.

“Remember,” he said, “You are walking in my footsteps.”

“The impact of his words brought me to tears,” Dulmadge says. “You cannot help but feel a strong connection to the past when wandering around Royal Roads and Hatley Castle. I arrived a day early so I could ground myself and explore. It was January, and the campus was quiet on the Sunday. I felt as close to my Dad as I ever had.”

Their shared experience creates a unique link between father and daughter, she says. 

Alumna Michelle Dulmadge followed her father's footsteps to Royal Roads“The connection I felt to my own family made the experience even more impactful. It can be hard to describe your experience of Royal Roads to someone who hasn’t been there. And so although it’s probably a slightly different environment now than when my Dad was there, we can talk about it together,” Dulmadge says. “I know that my father is always proud of me, but our connection to Royal Roads has solidified our bond even further. It is something that only he and I share in the family.”

Established in 1940 to support the Canadian war effort, Royal Roads Military College (RRMC) fostered a legacy of learning and leadership. When the college was decommissioned in 1995, a new cadre of public university students carried on that tradition with the establishment of Royal Roads University.

Since then, over 20,500 Royal Roads University alumni have followed in the footsteps of Dulmadge’s father and thousands of other RRMC students.

During her time at Royal Roads, Dulmadge connected with the drive for learning and leadership shared by members of her cohort while studying together online and on campus.

“A lot of people in my program seemed to have come to it at the same point that I did – at a crossroads in our careers when we were looking for more, and looking for further development,” she says. “You meet so many dynamic and engaging people at Royal Roads who have a thirst for learning and growth. And the instructors who I had the pleasure of working with were so engaging and so knowledgeable.”

Chanin and Dulmadge represent thousands of Royal Roads Military College and Royal Roads University alumni as they take their experience of life-changing learning at Royal Roads into the world and apply it toward successful careers.

Dulmadge has been with AltaGas Ltd. for 15 years, and is now manager of operational human resources and administrative services. Chanin advanced in the Canadian navy, and went on to work in government affairs, public relations and human resources in the oil and gas industry.

At Royal Roads, not just one family’s educational tradition, but the legacy of thousands continues.