“When I first started classes at Gonzaga in the Fall of 2003, I had no idea of the impact the school would have on my life. I was a wide-eyed freshman wearing a backpack two-thirds my size and was mostly focused on avoiding intimidating seniors with full beards and making it to each class on time. At the time I was probably too naïve to really appreciate where I was, what Gonzaga meant, and how the school would change me for the better, but I guess that’s to be expected of a 14 year old. When I graduated four years later, I had a better understanding of what Eye Street really was and truly appreciated the effect it had on my life. Put simply, Gonzaga is a special place, and it’s nearly impossible to capture everything that makes it so in words. That I was given the opportunity to attend Gonzaga is one of the greatest blessings I have ever received.
“I didn’t learn that I had attended Gonzaga with the help of the LCDR Erik Kristensen Scholarship until nearly the end of senior year, but I was very familiar with his story. I walked by his shadow box in the ground floor of the Collins Rotunda each day, studied it on numerous occasions, and often stopped to reflect upon his service and sacrifice. I was in awe of him. LCDR Kristensen represented, to me, the epitome of a Man for Others, and I looked up to him.
“Being connected to the LCDR Kristensen Scholarship Fund is a tremendous honor, and I will always be thankful to be a part of it. There is no doubt the fund has had a profound impact on my life; it provided me with opportunities to grow and become a better person at Gonzaga. The LCDR Kristensen Scholarship Fund affords students like me unparalleled experiences each year, experiences which have a direct impact on our lives and ultimately support Gonzaga’s mission to shape Men for Others.
“To be even a small part of LCDR Kristensen’s legacy is humbling, and I can’t express how thankful I am for the impact he has had on my life. I am thankful for his example as a Man for Others, for his service to our nation, and for his sacrifice in support of freedom. And, on top of it all, I am thankful for the man his legacy has allowed me, and others, to become.”
Ryan Degnan graduated from Gonzaga in 2007. Following graduation, Ryan attended the University of Notre Dame, graduating in 2011 and commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. 1LT Degnan returned from a tour in Afghanistan in October 2012 and is currently stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.