Ted Nolan Receives Honorary Degree

The CI Board Member Ted Nolan
Honored by St. Thomas University


“Life’s going to throw you many curves, and ups and downs but you just got to stay true to who you are, believe in who you are, and enjoy life.”

Those were some of the words shared by Ted Nolan, a member of The Carnegie Initiative Board of Directors, to the graduating class of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada.

Nolan received an honorary degree from the school during its Spring Convocation 2023 this week.

Formal Citation for Nolan’s Doctor of Letters

St. Thomas University presents honorary degrees to individuals who have distinguished themselves in academic or cultural circles, or in service to society.  Today, we are privileged to bestow honorary degrees on vocalist and artistic director Melanie Ross and award-winning coach and philanthropist Ted Nolan.  Each has distinguished themselves through their work and service to society.  While doing so, they have represented many of the ideals that we seek to instill in our students. 

Ted Nolan is an Ojibway and grew up on the Garden River First Nation in Ontario.  He went from skating on a backyard rink – to minor and junior hockey – to being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings.  As a young coach, he led the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to Ontario Hockey League Championships in 1991 and 1992, and won the Memorial Cup in 1993.  As a head coach in the NHL, he earned the Jack Adams Award for Coach of the Year in 1997.  He led the Moncton Wildcats to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League President’s Cup in 2006.  His international experience includes coaching the Latvian Men’s National Team to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.   

As a player and as a coach, Nolan faced discrimination and racism – in his words, he went from “loving the game to surviving the game” – though his success provided him with the opportunity to inspire Indigenous youth.  In 2013, he set up the 3Nolans Hockey School with his sons, Brandon and Jordan.  They travel across Canada to develop the hockey skills of Indigenous youth, and speak about the importance of active lifestyles and leadership in their communities.  In 2004, he started the Ted Nolan Foundation to honour his late mother Rose and established the Rose Nolan Scholarship Fund which has provided scholarships to Indigenous women continuing their education.  The foundation raised $2 million and awarded scholarships to over 130 women.  This fall, Penguin Random House Canada will release his autobiography Life in Two Worlds. 

Honourable Chancellor, I present Ted Nolan to have conferred upon him the degree Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.  

CHANCELLOR: By the authority vested in the Office of the Chancellor by the Charter of St. Thomas University, I admit you, Ted Nolan, to the degree Doctor of Letters, honoris causa with all the rights, privileges, and honours pertaining thereto. 

Former Chief Candace Paul, St. Mary’s First Nation, accepted the honor on Nolan’s behalf. Photo courtesy of St. Thomas University (Canada)

Ted Nolan’s address at the Spring Convocation 2023

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