Voices of Acadia - Ted Upshaw

On the basketball court, Ted Upshaw (’80) was always a leader. The 6’6”, 225-pound star of the Acadia Axemen teams of the late 1970s was an enforcer, and the Three Mile Plains, N.S. native led Acadia to the nationals four times. In 1976-77, they captured the Canadian university championship under coach Dick Hunt. “Winning with several Nova Scotians on the squad was my biggest thrill,” Upshaw said, reflecting on the team concept that characterized his approach to the game.

Ted Upshaw

Following graduation, Upshaw joined the RCMP and rose to the highest rank ever attained by a black member of the national force. He became the first African-Canadian to become a commissioned officer with the RCMP and the first black RCMP Inspector. He served as Superintendent for the Northeast Nova District in Nova Scotia.

“I received a BA in sociology from Acadia, but I also received a lesson from the camaraderie of those teams,” he said. “The experience taught me that I had to work hard to earn the right to compete at that level. In a similar vein with the RCMP, I knew that if I didn’t work hard and take advantage of opportunities, I’d be left behind. Acadia is a great school. I believe in it whole-heartedly and I sell it to others at every opportunity. It was an honour to be part of that athletic community.”

When he retired in 2009, Upshaw became General Manager for Corporate Security at Canada Post.

Written by Jim Prime (’69)


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