Doctor of Civil Law
The former Captain of the Montreal Canadiens was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law from Saint Mary's University at a special Convocation Ceremony held at the Halifax World Trade Centre and Convention Centre on October 4. It was part of the Putting it on Ice Hockey Conference, hosted by Saint Mary's Gorsebrook Research Institute.
Beliveau was the "Honorary Captain" of five day conference that brought together academics and researchers from North America, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Germany as well as hockey players, officials, and community organizers. The purpose was to take a comprehensive look at the development, social and cultural influence of the game. "I am honoured to be a part of the Saint Mary's family," Beliveau said in his address. "This is truly a great honour coming from a great university. I am absolutely thrilled to receive an honorary degree from Saint Mary's University." Dr. J. Colin Dodds, President of Saint Mary's thanked Beliveau for accepting his honorary degree and participating in the conference. He said at the ceremony, "Dr. Beliveau you are a great ambassador for sport, culture and education in Canada."
Beliveau was born in Trois-Riveres, Quebec, and educated a Victoriaville Academy and Victoriaville College. He began his hockey career at the age of seventeen. Beliveau has acted as a dedicated volunteer to several Canadian organizations. He signed the first National League Hockey (NHL) contract in the Fall of 1953. He was elected Captain for ten of his eighteen seasons with the Canadiens. During his celebrated hockey career he was selected for the NHL All-Star Club ten times; won the Ross Trophy (champion scorer) in 1955-56; received the Hart Trophy (most valuable player) twice, 1955-56 and 1963-64, and he was the first player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy (outstanding player in a Stanley Cup Series) in 1965. Beliveau is the second best scorer in the Canadiens' history, with 507 goals and 712 assists for 1219 points. Also he is the best scorer in a Stanley Cup series with the Canadiens through 79 goals and 97 assists for 176 points. By the time he announced retirement in 1971, he and his team had won the League Championship and the Stanley Cup ten times each.
At his request on the Jean Beliveau Night in the Montreal Forum, March 24, 1971, the Jean Beliveau Fund was established. This provided much needed assistance for underprivileged children in Quebec and the rest of Canada. In 1993 he transferred the foundation to the Society for Disabled Children. In 1969, he was appointed as an Officer to the Order of Canada, and in 1999 his status was elevated to Companion to the Order of Canada. Subsequent to his retirement from hockey, Beliveau has been awarded many distinctions and honours. Included in these are Honorary Doctoral Degrees from a number of universities in Canada, and induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame and as well being named to "L'Orde national Du Quebec." Today, he is President of Jean Beliveau Inc. and a member of the board of directors of Acier Leroux., The Molson Companies, and Brookfield Properties.