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North Ogden Mayor and fallen Army major Brent Taylor gets his PhD

(Jennie Taylor, accepting the doctorate for her husband)

SALT LAKE CITY – Graduation day is especially poignant at the University of Utah, as a fallen Army major Brent Taylor gets his posthumous PhD.  His wife and oldest child walked the stage in his honor.

The crowd inside Kingsbury Hall gave the family of Brent Turner a standing ovation as they accepted his doctorate.  Jennie Taylor says she was thrilled her son, Lincoln, could be with her.

“He’s our oldest son, and definitely most likely to be a future Ute.  It meant so much to me that they would let us come up and receive his father’s hood and walk across that stage,” she says.

Taylor had been studying political science and international relations.  He didn’t quite finish his work, but, the university still decided to bestow the honor.  Jennie says her husband was an avid student ever since they were first married.  He earned his bachelor’s degree shortly after their wedding and he kept working on his master’s when he was in the military.

(Brent Taylor, and family, as he gets his master’s degree in 2013. Courtesy: Jennie Taylor)

“He was commissioned as an officer and finished his master’s after his first two [deployments to] Iraq and his first Afghanistan deployment,” she says.

Friday marks six months since Taylor was killed in Afghanistan.  Jennie says the family has been receiving overwhelming support since then.

She says, “We have dark days and we have moments within every day that we kind of fall apart and collapse.  For the most part, we’ve been loved.  We’ve been helped.  God has granted us strength far beyond our own.”

The family’s goal is to honor Taylor the way they believe he would have wanted.  They’ve set up a scholarship in his name to inspire future political science students.

(Courtesy: Jennie Taylor)