I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me about your experience as a student at St. George’s School, and I also would like to thank you for leaving a bequest to the School. May I ask what made you think to leave a bequest?
The School was there for me when I was a student, so I wanted to pay it forward. My father went to St. George’s School and graduated in 1942. At the age of 14, I got it into my head that I, too, wanted to attend the School. Our life situation changed drastically though, as around that time, in 1966, my father was killed in an automobile accident. My mother, who had just stopped working because my dad’s career was starting to take off, found herself returning to work to support me and my two siblings. It wasn’t the ideal time to want to go to an independent school, but I was made aware of the scholarship opportunities so, at my persistence, my mother went to meet with the Headmaster to see what could be done. He asked what she could afford, and she let him know the number, and the Headmaster committed to cover the difference. It is my understanding that the Headmaster rallied the support of my father’s classmates who covered the difference to fund my education. I would like to provide a similar opportunity for a boy who might want to go to St. George’s but does not have the financial resources to attend.
One of the great pleasures and privileges of being in this role is meeting alumni of the School. Can you talk a bit about your education at St. George’s School and how it impacted your life?
St. George’s provided me with the opportunity to explore my interests and make lifelong friends. I wasn’t strong academically and I had to apply myself, but where I excelled was in athletics—specifically Rugby. Rugby became a passion that carried well past my days at St. George’s School. I guess I came by the sport naturally, as my dad was pretty good at it.
Note: Rob’s dad, Mr. James Robert “Daisy” Greig ’42, was one of the best rugby players of his year. Rob was too modest to say it, but I looked him up. Mr. Greig received nine Canadian Caps and toured to Europe in 1979 and Argentina in 1981. He was a regular member of the BC Rugby Team for ten years and toured with them to England and Wales in 1976 and Samoa and Fiji in 1978.
How did St. George’s shape you as a person and prepare you for the future?
Since I had to work so hard and prepare for my academics, I learned the value of hard work and that patience pays off. To quote my old Maths teacher, PJ, I had to “burn the midnight oil”.
Do you have any favourite memories of your time at St. George’s?
For me, my time at Saints was good—learning, growing up, and maybe even maturing a little. I was a boarder—that seemed to intensify relationships—and all that was good too. Hanging in the Prefects Room was pretty cool, and getting to run down the tunnel onto the 1st XV Rugby field was special.
The OBA Alumni work quite hard to keep alumni engaged. Have you had a chance to return to the School for alumni events?
Since moving to the Okanagan in 2014, I haven’t had as many opportunities to stop by the School, but I still drop in every year when the Rugby 7s is on and say hello to Pat Palmer and Chris Blackman as well as other friends. For many years, I would participate in rugby matches against the current team but not anymore. I am the Alumni Class Captain for my year and stay connected with my class as best as I can.
As an Alumni, is there something more that we could do to make you feel engaged and part of the community?
I think their approach is good. It is inclusionary and informative about the School moving forward. Also the soft/no sell approach may pay dividends.
Any advice for boys who are currently at the School or who are embarking on their career?
You guys have so many resources to draw down on. Dream on and follow your heart. Don’t forget where you come from, and keep those connections open. I have had many doors open up because I went to Saints.
When I say St. George’s, what word comes to mind?
All the fond memories of all the people that I met who enriched my life. For me, there is a very special closeness to my schoolmates and fellow alumni that I know does not always exist from a public school experience.