Fallen soldier honoured by U of M

Cpl. Jordan Anderson is awarded honorary posthumous degree

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Cpl. Anderson

The University of Manitoba granted the late Corporal Jordan Anderson a posthumous degree at Convocation on Oct. 18.

Cpl. Anderson, who was a member of the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry from Edmonton, died in Afghanistan in July.

Five other Canadian soldiers and an Afghan interpreter were killed along with Cpl. anderson when their armoured vehicle hit a roadside bomb near Kandahar.

Cpl. Anderson’s wife, Amanda Anderson, received the degree in front of a supportive crowd of faculty and students.

“It was very emotional,” Anne-Lucie Bouchard, director of the Military Support Office, remembered.

“Everybody stood up and started clapping.”

Cpl. Anderson had been studying through a distance education program designed for soldiers.

In correspondence with the university up to the day of his death, Cpl. Anderson discussed plans to move into an advanced program in preparation for his Master’s degree in political science and international relations.

After his death, family and friends contacted acting head of political studies George MacLean about the possibility of granting the soldier a posthumous degree.

“There was a good chance it wasn’t going to happen at all,” MacLean said. “It’s pretty rare.”

In fact, this was the first time since the Korean War that U of M granted a degree to a fallen soldier.

Cpl. Anderson had nearly completed all his major degree requirements except for a few electives and all contacts at the university agreed Anderson was very devoted to his studies.

“He didn’t get a lot of time to go to school. He was working as a soldier and studying on his own time,” said Major Erik A. Liebert, Regimental Major and spokesperson for Anderson’s regiment.

“Instead of going out with the guys, he’d go to the books,” Bouchard said.

“It became clear to us this was the right thing to do,” MacLean added: “We knew this was something the family really wanted.”

Two scholarships will also be created in Anderson’s memory; one for new students coming out of cadets, and the other for students currently in political studies.

The money, about $10,000, has mainly come from soldiers who served with Anderson, as well as his family, friends and people in the community.

Maj. Liebert praised Anderson and his hard work and felt humbled by U of M’s generosity. “We’re extremely appreciative of their efforts in this regard.”

He added, “It’s very important because it acknowledges the work of a soldier.”

Maj. Liebert said he hopes the scholarships will encourage other soldiers to take advantage of the Canadian Force’s educational programs.

MacLean remembered how one of Anderson’s colleagues praised the idea of a scholarship: “If you can get this thing going, you have no idea what a boost this will be to the morale of soldiers in his regiment.”

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