Honoring a fallen hero

The University of Utah and BYU will be competing on more than the gridiron this week. Both schools are engaged in a rivalry week scholarship fundraising challenge to honor and perpetuate the legacy of Major Brent Taylor, who was killed in Afghanistan in November 2018.

Taylor, who was an alumnus of both the U and BYU, took an unprecedented one-year leave of absence as mayor of North Ogden to serve his fourth deployment in Afghanistan. He is the first sitting United States politician to be killed in action since the Civil War.

Taylor’s wife, Jennie, seven children and extended family have established memorial scholarship endowments to fund the education of a master’s and doctoral candidate at the U and an undergraduate student at BYU each year in perpetuity.

“It is our desire as a family to carry on Brent’s legacy of service, sacrifice and statesmanship in a way that inspires future students to focus on the same,” said Jennie Taylor. “Our communities, cities, state and nation need more of the kind of service-leadership that Brent exemplified. We can think of no better way to accomplish this than by working to establish scholarships at two institutions that meant so much to Brent.”

To date, $88,000 of a needed $160,000 for the scholarship endowments has been raised. The Taylor family is working with individuals, local businesses and community organizations to help fully fund the endowments and start granting scholarships to deserving students. The rivalry week’s scholarship challenge starts Monday, Aug. 26, and runs through the end of the Aug. 29 game.

“Contributing to the Major Brent Taylor Memorial Scholarship is a win-win-win scenario,” said Cynthia Berg, dean of the U’s College of Social and Behavioral Science. “It is an excellent way to demonstrate your allegiance to the University of Utah while funding scholarships and expressing appreciation to Brent and the Taylor family for their sacrifice.”

Contributions to the Brent Taylor Memorial Scholarships for the University of Utah can be made online at MajorBrentTaylor.com, through the University of Utah Development Office or at any Zions Bank location.