SALT LAKE CITY – Among the graduates at the University of Utah’s master’s program convocation, sat Jennie Taylor and her family.
Taylor’s husband and former North Ogden Mayor, Major Brent Taylor, would have graduated with his Ph.D. in political science Thursday; instead, Taylor and her oldest son, Lincoln, walked across the stage.
“That meant so much to me that they would let him come up and receive his father’s hood, and walk across that stage,” Jennie Taylor said.
The ceremony marks the day before six months since Maj. Taylor was killed-in-action in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment.
“If he were here, I know he’d be proud of himself and all that goes into to finishing a doctoral degree,” said Taylor.
The strength of the community, faith and family has helped Taylor continue caring for her seven kids — ranging from ages 1-to-13-years-old.
“Shortly after Brent died, someone asked me how we would ever move on without him or if we could,” Taylor said. “We’re just taking him with us. We’re taking him with us wherever we go in our hearts and our minds.”
Taylor said her son, Lincoln, was too shy to talk on camera, but not too shy to walk across the stage, wearing a Ute T-shirt, standing in place of his father — while his mom for this Dad’s graduation gown.
“I haven’t earned this doctoral gown, it’s his,” said Taylor. “I wear it with great pride and I know he’s happy where he is and he’s proud of us. I can see him just looking down and thinking, ‘go get them, you’ve got this.”
The Taylor’s have created a scholarship in Maj. Taylor’s name for future students at the University of Utah and to keep Maj. Taylor’s legacy of giving, alive.