'Follow your bliss': Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates awarded honorary doctorate by U of S

"Never be afraid to fail," Kim Coates told arts and science grads at the University of Saskatchewan.

'Never be afraid to fail,' alumnus tells arts and science grads

Actor Kim Coates, left, accepts an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon on Tuesday. (Don Somers/CBC)

Actor Kim Coates traded his motorcycle leathers for a graduation gown Tuesday as he received an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Saskatchewan.

Coates, 59, who starred in the F/X series Sons of Anarchy, is one of the university's famous alumni, having graduated in 1981 with a bachelor of arts degree.

He said it was an "incredibly humbling honour" to receive an honorary doctorate.

You beautiful, talented, sexy, smart brainiacs.- Kim Coates

"Thirty-six years ago I was sitting right out there, like all you beautiful graduates," he told Tuesday's convocation.

"Thirty-six years from now I want you all to try to look half as good as I do right now."

Coates grew up in Saskatoon and said he was dressed to honour all of the educational institutions he attended.

"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."

Coates acknowledged family in the audience, and thanked two friends who he said ended up paying for everything when they were at university and he was broke. (Don Somers/CBC)

He has previously said he enrolled in a drama course by chance while at U of S and that sparked his interest in acting. He went on to study drama at the school and said his education there prepared him for his career.

Coates has since appeared in more than 100 movies and television series over the past 30 years, including Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor and the seven-season run of Sons of Anarchy, which wrapped up in 2014.

"You beautiful, talented, sexy, smart brainiacs," he said to the grads.

"You're told this all the time but I'm going to tell you one more time: Please, with all your love and tolerance and brains and sharing and listening, follow your bliss like I did. And never be afraid to fail because if you do that, you never will fail — ever."

Coates is one of six honorary degree recipients at the U of S spring convocation.