, Salem, MA

May 8, 2013

Salem State to celebrate life of slain MIT officer

By Bethany Bray

---- — SALEM — The Salem State University community will gather Monday to remember 2009 graduate Sean Collier.

Collier, a campus police officer at MIT, was killed in the line of duty April 18, allegedly at the hands of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

On Monday, several of Collier’s classmates and professors will speak about the criminal justice major and the impact he had at Salem State. The ceremony will begin at 4:30 p.m. on the lawn next to the campus police station on Loring Avenue.

Collier is remembered on campus as a friendly, caring and selfless person, who looked out for others, said Karen Cady, a spokeswoman for Salem State.

“Everyone loved him,” she said. “Right from the moment we learned of his death, the university wanted to honor him in some way, especially many of the faculty that worked so closely with him and were so fond of him.”

Carol Facella, a criminal justice professor at Salem State, described Collier as a “person of high diligence and maturity well beyond his years. ... If I were to have predicted one student who would spend a lifetime of exemplary service and making extraordinary contributions to law enforcement, it would have been Sean Collier.”

Collier was buried at Puritan Lawn Cemetery in Peabody in a private ceremony April 24. Monday will be Salem State’s first chance to come together and remember the 26-year-old grad, said Cady.

The university has established a scholarship in Collier’s honor, to be given annually to a Salem State student studying criminal justice.

On Monday, a university color guard will open the proceedings, President Patricia Meservey will speak and Collier’s classmates, friends and criminal justice faculty will give reflections.

The gathering is meant to celebrate Collier’s life, Cady said. The event was scheduled to coincide with the start of a national Police Appreciation Week.

“He was an exceptional person,” she said. “... People here at SSU wanted to have a place to express their feelings.”

Collier made the dean’s list at Salem State and graduated with honors. While in college, he worked at Bertucci’s restaurant in Vinnin Square.

After working in a civilian role with Somerville police, the Wilmington native was hired in January 2012 by MIT campus police.

More than 4,000 people, including Vice President Joe Biden, attended a memorial service for Collier last month at MIT.

In the event of inclement weather, Monday’s ceremony will be held in the Marsh Hall Dining Room on SSU’s Central Campus. The public is welcome to attend.

To contribute to the Sean A. Collier ’09 Criminal Justice Award scholarship, checks should be made payable to the Salem State University Foundation and sent to the Salem State University Foundation, 352 Lafayette St., Salem, MA 01970.

Bethany Bray can be reached at and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.