Bowie State Graduates Mix Joy, Sadness After Classmate's Murder

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Graduating seniors of Bowie State University’s Class of 2017 are celebrating their successes while remembering a talented and popular classmate who was murdered three days before he was scheduled to receive his diploma.

Richard Collins III was commissioned last week as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army. He was stabbed to death on the University of Maryland campus early Saturday morning.

Prosecutors said the murderer is a member of a white supremacist Facebook group.

“I still keep thinking about his family, and what could have been,” said Tijahra Cox, who majored in communications and plans to go to graduate school. “It’s unfortunate that he didn’t get to see this day.”

Collins’ graduation gown was draped over a front row folding chair during the ceremony at Xfinity Center on the Maryland Center.

Collins was visiting friends on the University of Maryland campus when he was murdered.

“It’s very unfortunate that people have hate in their hearts in 2017,” said Cox. “I pray for his family, and I’m walking for him today.”

Classmate Seonna Wallace, graduating with a degree in communications, said the death of Collins is unfair.

“He was supposed to be here with us,” said Wallace. “I think all of us are going to feel that loss today.”

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