SASKATOON – Actor Kim Coates came back to his hometown Tuesday to receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Saskatchewan.
Coates, who has starred in “Sons of Anarchy,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Pearl Harbour,” says he decided to dress for the part.
“I have my black shoes representing Thornton Elementary School; I’ve got my blue suit, Nutana Collegiate; and of course, I’ve got my white and green tie — Go Huskies!” he told graduates at TCU Place.
Coates, 59, who grew up in Saskatoon, told personal stories and promoted an optimistic message for those looking to find their way.
“Follow your bliss, like I did,” he said. “Never be afraid to fail. Because if you do that, you never will fail, ever.”
Coates then told the crowd how he stumbled upon his passion for acting, and the journey his career took post-graduation.
“I literally, in 1979, took my thumb over a catalogue of classes and I got to take an elective – which means anything you want almost – and I stopped on ‘d,’ and there was drama, and I went ‘hmmm,'” Coates said. “It changed my entire life.”
Coates has gone on to become an acclaimed Hollywood actor appearing in more than 100 movies and TV series.
He said he never wanted to be a regular actor on a television series, but decided to take on “Sons of Anarchy” and is glad he did.
He acknowledged the show’s popularity has led to a certain level of celebrity and said he chooses to use fame as a way to raise money for numerous charities.
“I’ll never give up that fight to continue the growth of art, because without art we really don’t have anything,” said Coates, who often returns to Saskatoon to support various charitable causes.
The actor isn’t the only former U of S graduate being honoured by the university this week. Hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws on Thursday.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the degree was issued by the University of Saskatoon and misspelled Hayley Wickenheiser’s first name.