Frederick Police Department Lt. Andrew "Stew" Alcorn never got to walk across the stage to receive his diploma.
But on Friday, nearly a year after his death, he became a college graduate.
Mount St. Mary's University officials on Friday bestowed upon Alcorn the criminal justice degree that he had been working toward when he died suddenly at his Middletown home on Aug. 22, 2021. He was 39.
Alcorn served 14 years with the Frederick police, and was named the department's Officer of the Year in 2011.
Alcorn never wanted anything to be given to him, and insisted on putting in the work to earn whatever he got, his widow, Jenn Alcorn, told friends, family, and colleagues who gathered at the Mount's Frederick campus Friday.
He started working toward his degree in 2000 at Towson University, where he played football and "sort of worked on going to class," she said.
He went back to school several times, but with kids and the demands of his job, his progress was periodic.
But there's no doubt in her mind that he would have finished.
"This is more than just a piece of paper to us. It's a finish line that's been crossed," Jenn Alcorn said.
Frederick Police Chief Jason Lando said he's not sure where Alcorn found the time for classes with all of his other responsibilities.
But as an officer, Alcorn was a lifelong learner who set himself apart with his work ethic and his dedication to the people around him.
"I cannot think of a person more deserving of this honor, and I'm honored to be a part of this special day," Lando said.
The Frederick campus is mostly for working adults, and it's inspiring to see people like Alcorn who are committed to learning throughout their lives, Mount President Timothy Trainor said.
Alcorn was not just a tremendous detective and leader, but a great person to be around, he said.
"Stew went above and beyond for the university," Trainor said.
Detective Anthony McPeak met Alcorn when Alcorn graduated from the police academy, and the two officers became friends and spent time together off duty, as well.
"I can say 100%, Stew Alcorn was meant to be a police officer," McPeak said.
One thing that made Alcorn a great leader, McPeak said, was that he always wanted to help, and never put himself above another officer, no matter what their rank.
"He would not ask someone to do something he was not willing to do himself," McPeak said.
Of all of the titles Alcorn accumulated as he moved up through the ranks of the department, McPeak said, "the most important title for me was 'friend."
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