By Bethany Bray
---- — SALEM — Hundreds gathered this afternoon at Salem State University to remember Sean Collier, a 2009 criminal justice graduate and MIT police officer who was killed in the line of duty four weeks ago.
"By all accounts, (Collier's) was a life well-lived," said SSU President Patricia Meservey. "... He will live on in the stories of his kindness and goodness."
Police say Collier was shot and killed while on duty at MIT on April 18 at the hands of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
His classmates and professors remembered the Wilmington native for his humor, dedication, kindness and dream of becoming a police officer.
"He was truly born to be in this profession," said Tim Walton, a 2008 SSU criminal justice graduate and Newton police officer.
"He had more than one group of friends," said 2009 grad Brianna Roy. "Why? Because his personality was that big and his heart was that big."
Uniformed officers from Salem police, MIT and Massachusetts State Police stood among the crowd at the outdoor ceremony. The Rev. Richard Clancy, MIT's Catholic chaplain, gave the ceremony's invocation and benediction.
Kristen Kuehnle, chair of SSU's criminal justice department, called Collier "a person of great character."
"We have great pride that we knew this amazing man," she said. "Sean's life is an inspiration to others in our major."
Collier's father, Allen Collier, and brother-in-law, Brendan Lynch, attended the ceremony but did not speak publicly. The university gave them a copy of a plaque that will be hung in SSU's criminal justice department in Collier's honor.
Salem State has also established a scholarship in memory of Collier and will plant a tree for him at the university's new library, which is slated to open this fall.
For full coverage and photos, see Tuesday's Salem News.