Stabbed Bowie State student remembered at commencement ceremony

Posted at 5:48 PM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-23 17:48:35-04

A black Bowie State University student slain over the weekend at the University of Maryland is being remembered at the ceremony where he was meant to graduate.

The historically black school's commencement is being held Tuesday at the neighboring university's College Park campus, where Richard Collins III was fatally stabbed early Saturday.

A moment of silence in Collins' honor was held during the ceremony. President Mickey Burnim asked 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 and our world today."

University of Maryland physics professor Charles Clark dressed in his academic regalia and carried a sign honoring Collins as he greeted Bowie State graduates and faculty. He says he wanted to greet people on his own behalf and "give them a good impression" of the university.

People walking into the graduation ceremony thanked Clark, including Bowie State science professor Uvetta Dozier, who called Collins' death heartbreaking. Dozier says Collins' "life could have been a lamp unto those who are lost."

Collins' slaying is being investigated by the FBI as a possible hate crime. Police say the suspect, Sean Urbanski, who is white, became a member of a racist Facebook group several months ago. He's charged with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault.