Elin Nordegren alludes to controversy

Updated: May 12, 2014, 6:13 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Elin Nordegren, the ex-wife of Tiger Woods who rarely speaks publicly about her time being married to the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, gave a commencement address Saturday night and took a few subtle jabs at the controversy that enveloped her family.

Nordegren spoke after winning the Outstanding Graduating Senior Award from the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College after graduating with a 3.96 grade point average. The award, according to the school's website, is the equivalent to being named valedictorian.

Although she never mentioned Woods by name, she referred to the situation that made her life rather complicated.

"And it was right after I had taken communication and the media [class], I was unexpectedly thrust into the media limelight," she said, clearly referring to Woods' extra-marital affairs. "And I probably should have taken more notes in that class."

The audience laughed, but Nordegren also poked fun at herself during her nearly nine-minute speech, noting that it took her nine years to graduate.

The daughter of a governor in Sweden, Nordegren stressed the importance of education as he earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the central Florida school that caters to students who work full time outside the home or are raising their children and need to take classes in the evening.

"I have also realized that education has been the only consistent part of my life for the last nine years and it has offered me comfort," she said. "Because education is the one thing that no one can take away from you."

In introducing her to the graduating class, a school official noted that Nordegren helped raise $500,000 in a single night for a foster care program in Florida and that she mentored an 8-year-old girl in that program. The single mother of two even joked that her son, Charlie, was asleep in his chair as she gave the address to her fellow graduates. The loudest applause came as she mentioned her situation when first entering the school's offices.

"When I entered my student advisor office in the fall of 2005, I was 25 years old," Nordegren said. "I just recently moved to America. I was married without children. Today, nine years later, I'm a proud American and I have two beautiful children."

The audience applauded.

Nordegren continued: "But I'm no longer married."

The crowd first laughed, and then clapped even louder.

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