From 1803 when the original RMA opened its doors to the children of non-commissioned ranks until at least the turn of the 20th Century the Board of Commissioners rigidly applied the rules of admission. They had to because international conflicts with high casualty rates meant there were more petitions for admission than the places available. The rules required an applicant's father to have an exemplary military record, to have served a minimum of four years with the colours, that one or both parents were deceased or, alternatively, the family was in urgent need of the Army's charity. A change in the rules permitted soldiers with excellent records of service to seek admission for legally adopted sons. This happened in the case of Richard Gilbert (Wn 1949-1958) who never knew his biological father, but had the benefit of a soldier father who cared for his adopted son and gave Richard his Gilbert surname.
Ronald Gilbert, was a Dukie in the 1920s who went from the School into the RASC on boy service at age 14 to 15, the normal age for leaving School at the time. Richard was therefore a 'second generation' Dukie. His father served in the Middle East and Europe during the War, rising through the ranks to the commissioned rank of Lieutenant-Quarter
master and awarded an MBE and a 'mention in dispatches' for exemplary deeds during his war service. For many years after retiring from the Army in 1948, he worked for British Railways in transportation management using knowledge acquired during his military service. Retiring on his 65th birthday, he died a few weeks later.
Securing Richard's admission to the School was a good move on his father's part, for he was a beneficiary of the Nye reforms (see General Nye), he stayed at school for nine years, becoming Chief School Prefect in his last year, and qualified like many of his contemporaries for admission to university.
He earned a B.Sc. at University College, London, an M.Sc. at the Queen's University of Belfast, and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology in 1966. Dr Gilbert qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1974. In the 1960s and 70s, he taught psychology at universities in Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. More recently he has taught urban governance in graduate programmes at York University, Toronto, and Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.
Richard Gilbert's has ranged far beyond academia. As well as teaching at universities, he has been a high school teacher, a government scientist [working on problems of drug abuse], a corporate CEO and a 'big city' politician.
A pivot in his wide-ranging career was election to Toronto City Council in 1976, and then five more times, until he retired in 1991, representing a relatively poor constituency of 80,000 residents in what is one of the world's most multicultural cities. This experience changed his professional interests towards urban issues, particularly energy and transport. These last two topics have occupied him for most of the last two decades, particularly while serving as a consultant to public - and private - sector clients in Asia, Europe and North America.
His main client has been the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) He has also worked for several governments in Europe and North America, and several businesses and non-profit clients
Richard Gilbert has produced 14 books, the most recent of which is Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight Without Oil, written with Anthony Perl, the second edition of which was published in May 2010. More of his recent writing has been in the form of reports for clients. The latest example is Electric Vehicle Technology Roadmap for Canada, prepared for the federal government and an industry steering committee.
Richard has written that his strong political and social consciousness is founded on his service as an elected public official. That foundation might well be true, but his awareness of service to society undoubtedly stems from his Dukie experience and the strong sense of leadership it taught him. In this regard, he stands alongside the giants of our institution: Sullivan, Lazarus and Phasey, Professors of Music at Kneller Hall, General Sir Archibald Nye the reformer, Detective Inspector David Nixon, air ace Group Captain George Gardener, Anne Vanpine the pioneer teacher, Timothy Foster the microbiologist and a host of others.
Richard Gilbert does indeed deserve the honour and compliment of recognition among Dukie alumni. What superior tribute might we make to this former CSP than publicly recognise his success in so many fields? Is there no end to his accomplishments? Richard recently qualified too as a member of the Canadian team [over 70 age group] that will participate in the World Triathlon Championships in Beijing in 2011. This prowess he attributes to all the sports he had to do at DYRMS.
He says the only legacy he's truly proud of is his family. We've had the pleasure of meeting his wife, Rosalind, but not the four 'children' (now in their 30s and 40s) and numerous grandchildren. The eldest son is a chemical engineer in the UK, the second son owner and operator of large businesses in Montreal, the daughter a geography professor and head of Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto. and the youngest son a lawyer a corporate lawyer in Toronto. Some credit for this rich life and legacy must life with those who pushed for and allowed Richard to become a Dukie in the 1940s