Degree Posthumously Presented to Family of Officer Andy Barnes
Andrew Barnes, a 9-year veteran of the Utah State University Campus Police Department, and now graduate of the university’s College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences (CAAS), was diagnosed with lung cancer on December 5, 2018, and passed away peacefully just 7 days later.
On January 4, CAAS Dean Ken White, awarded the diploma for Barnes’ bachelor’s degree in technology systems and three minors in human resource management, leadership and management, and landscape architecture to Barnes’ wife Catherine and the couple’s three children, Morgan, Tanner and Emerie.
Speaking to the Barnes children, White said one of the best jobs he has as the dean is handing out diplomas to CAAS graduates.
“Your dad placed so much value on getting this college degree that he became what we refer to as a non-traditional student,” White said. “When you hear the stories of non-traditional students, there are super compelling reasons for why people feel it’s important for them to get that degree. I’m here to tell you that your dad fits in that category. I found out that one of the biggest reasons your dad wanted to finish his degree was to leave a legacy with you.”
Barnes left a legacy to more than his family. USU faculty members remember him as a caring and hard-working student. Steve Williams, an instructor in the Applied Sciences, Technology and Education Department said Barnes is the most thoughtful student he’s ever had in class.
In February of 2018, Williams was diagnosed with a volleyball-sized tumor in his abdomen. Knowing that communication with his students and grading assignments would take more time than usual while he was undergoing treatment, Williams told the class about his situation.
“He (Barnes) was one of the first students to email me and offer support,” Williams said. “He asked if he could help me do anything and that meant a lot to me. Throughout the whole semester, he wouldn’t go more than a couple of weeks without stopping by the office.”
Williams said Barnes was the kind of student that made him a better teacher.
“I was heartbroken to hear the news,” Williams said. “I feel bad that I wasn’t able to provide support like he supported me when I was having my struggles. He is someone who has impacted my life greatly. My life is forever changed because of him.”
As a police officer at the university, Barnes didn’t have a typical relationship with his co-workers and boss. USU Campus Police Chief Michael Kuehn said Barnes loved everyone and everyone loved him.
“Andy was a jokester and spent a great deal of time tormenting me,” Kuehn said. “He would text me to say that I left my office unlocked when I remembered locking it. Then he would send me a picture of him sitting at my desk. It turns out that he had taken those pictures earlier in the day…I know Andy is happy today. This is a big deal to receive his diploma.”
The Barnes family was also presented with a football from the USU Athletics Department that was at each Aggie game of the 2018 season.
Writer: Bronson Teichert, Bronson.firstname.lastname@example.org
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