Chicago Firefighter Graduates Posthumously From SIU-Carbondale


CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) – Chicago Fire Department Captain Ronald Regan Jr. received a posthumous graduation from Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Friday morning, September 16.

According to a statement, Regan died on December 19, 2021 at the age of 58 after a fight with COVID-19.

Regan was only a semester away from earning her bachelor’s degree in public safety management.

At a ceremony in front of the Chicago Fire Academy, Regan was remembered by fellow firefighters, family, friends and SIU officials.

“Ron wasn’t just a firefighter or a captain, he was a friend,” said fire marshal Annette Nance-Holt. “He did so much for everyone. He never thought of himself.

SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane, SIU System President Dan Mahony and College of Health and Human Sciences Dean Robert Morgan presented the degree.

“Ron embodied both the spirit of a firefighter and the spirit of a Saluki,” Chancellor Lane said. “His commitment to bravery, along with Saluki’s vision, tenacity, curiosity and compassion, form a remarkable combination worthy of celebration and remembrance.”

Regan’s wife, Cheryl, was unable to attend the ceremony, so her daughter, Qianna, accepted her degree and spoke on behalf of the family.

“My dad inspired me, and it’s amazing how he inspired others,” she said.

SIU says Regan began his career in the Chicago Park District, where he built successful swim teams.

He then joined the Chicago Fire Department Academy, graduating in 1996 and starting his career with Truck 40.

Over the years, Regan rose through the ranks of firefighter, engineer, lieutenant and captain.

“Ron definitely left too soon,” Nance-Holt said. “He was so special. He wanted that degree so badly. I know he’s looking at us today with a smile.

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