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Slain Maryland student gets degree on graduation day

by Holly Yan, CNN

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(CNN)Today should have been the day Richard Collins III walked across a stage in a cap and gown.

Instead, his gown lay draped over a chair in the front row at Bowie State University’s commencement ceremony.
Richard Collins III’s graduation gown draped over front row chairs at Bowie State University ceremony. He was murdered Saturday.

— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) May 23, 2017
Collins was three days away from graduating when he was stabbed to death at a bus stop while visiting friends at the University of Maryland.
The FBI is investigating whether Collins was killed in a hate crime. Police said the suspect was a member of a Facebook group that spewed hatred toward minorities.
But what the suspect didn’t know was that Collins had just been commissioned as a US Army lieutenant two days earlier. That he had served in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and planned to keep serving his country after graduation, his father told NBC News.

The young man “would go out of his way, sometimes to my chagrin, to go and help others — but you want to try to encourage that in your children,” Richard Collins Jr. said.
But now, “the parent’s worst nightmare has just reached my doorstep.”
Celebration and mourning
Incidentally, Tuesday’s Bowie State graduation ceremony took place on the University of Maryland’s campus.
#BSUgrad2k17 Family and fellow cadets represented 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III as he posthumously received his bachelor’s degree.

— Bowie State Univ. (@BowieState) May 23, 2017
As the Class of 2017 streamed in, their faces alternated from joyous to somber.
Collins’ relatives sat in the front row, near the gown he should have been wearing.
“We gather this morning with heavy hearts,” Bowie State University President Dr. Mickey L. Burnim said.
“One of our graduates, in the prime of his life, has fallen victim to an unprovoked assault in yet one more manifestation of the senseless violence permeating our society.”
The president called for a moment of silence and asked the graduates to contemplate “what each of us might do to promote greater peace, harmony and love that seems to be so lacking in our country, in our world today.”
Collins was later posthumously awarded his bachelor’s degree. His family accepted his diploma for him.

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The student news site of McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia
Slain Maryland student gets degree on graduation day