Recent grad honors brother with degree

New Mexico State University awarded a posthumous bachelor’s degree in business administration at the December 2017 commencement ceremony.

Jon Canfield walked on behalf of his brother, Daniel, who died in 2017.

“He was a wonderful son and brother and will be remembered for his loving and kind heart and his fierce love for his family,” says their mother, Laurie.

Daniel was planning on a career in either tax preparation or tutoring and wanted to live and work in Colorado. Daniel had traveled to Colorado Springs shortly before graduation to talk with tax preparation firms about employment. On his way home, he was killed in a highway accident outside of Colorado Springs.

“He was a good teacher,” Laurie says. “He and Jon were looking forward to walking across the stage and getting their diplomas together.”

Jon, who also accepted his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at the ceremony, told his family that accepting his brother’s diploma was a very emotional experience.

“He was nervous about going up alone and last,” Laurie says. “Then he thought about how happy Daniel would be at that moment. He thanked Daniel for all the help he gave him studying and now, Jon thought, I am happy to help you by standing here and accepting your degree.”

Daniel had a disability, and Laurie says it made school difficult for him.

“We are telling Daniel’s story to give hope and strength to all parents and families of people with disabilities and to encourage every person, regardless of ‘ability’ or ‘disability,’ to keep fighting to achieve their dreams,” Laurie says. “Nothing is impossible for those with love and faith. David and I are not NMSU alumni, but we are proud that two of our sons graduated from NMSU, and we will always be Aggies at heart.”

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Jon Canfield (center), who earned his bachelor’s degree in December and accepted a posthumous degree for his brother, Daniel, celebrated commencement with his parents, David and Laurie Canfield.