A 23-year-old Bowie State University student who was killed just days before he was set to walk across the stage was honored with a degree at the school’s ceremony Tuesday.
According to The Huffington Post, Richard Collins III was stabbed to death while visiting the University of Maryland over the weekend by a White student. School officials are investigating the death as a possible hate crime.
Sean Urbanski, 22, has been charged with both first- and second-degree murder, along with first-degree assault in connection to the attack.
School officials at Bowie State held a moment of silence for Collins during the ceremony, and draped what would’ve been his graduation gown over a front row seat that was left empty in honor of him.
Richard Collins III’s graduation gown draped over front row chairs at Bowie State University ceremony. He was murdered Saturday. pic.twitter.com/dq7CsBzpLl
— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) May 23, 2017
Collins’ degree will be posthumously conferred by university President Mickey L. Burnim. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army just two days before he died.
The FBI became involved in the investigation after the University of Maryland Police Department discovered Urbanski’s ties to a racist Facebook group that included offensive content about African-Americans and other minorities.
Ltc. Joel Thomas and hundreds of others attended a vigil held at Bowie State for Collins III Monday.
“Character is one of the qualities most valued in a leader,” he said. “And Collins had that. He was trustworthy, honest and dependable.”