, Salem, MA

Local News

October 24, 2013

Tragedy felt at Salem State

SALEM — It has been a traumatic six months for Salem State University.

In April, MIT police Officer Sean Collier, a 2009 graduate of Salem State, was shot and killed by a Boston Marathon bombing suspect.

Last month, a 23-year-old female student and bus driver were stabbed on a shuttle bus. Timothy Wells, a 25-year-old student on voluntary leave from Salem State, has been charged with the crime.

Yesterday, Salem State President Patricia Meservey sent an email to the college community informing them that Colleen Ritzer, the slain Danvers High teacher, was a Salem State graduate student.

“Colleen was a bright and vibrant student in the school counseling master’s degree program,” Meservey wrote. “As a dedicated teacher, Colleen wanted to work with and help children with special needs. She believed children have much to offer and often do not realize how special they are as individuals.

“In her application to Salem State, she said she was dedicated to ‘helping students in times of need.’ As a community we reach out to Colleen’s family and all of the dedicated teachers in the Danvers school system, as well as the other surrounding districts — many of whom have attended Salem State University.”

A memorial service will be held at a future date, the president said.

As with the past incidents, Salem State is offering counseling services.

Tom Dalton can be reached at

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