President Reif: MIT Honors Officer Collier

by Jay London on April 22, 2013

in Public Service


To the MIT alumni community:

By now I expect that you have heard of the sad and disorienting events that have overwhelmed greater Boston since the bomb attack at the Boston Marathon a week ago. To those of you who may have been affected, directly or indirectly, I offer our greatest sympathy and fellowship. In this small city, it certainly feels that everyone knows someone involved.

Here in Cambridge, we are all greatly relieved that the drama of the manhunt is over. But we are still trying to come to terms with the loss of a beloved young MIT police officer who, in the long chain of violent events following the original bombing, gave his life to protect our community. We grieve with his family, his many friends and his fellow MIT police officers. Many at MIT knew and loved Officer Sean Collier; for those who didn’t, he was someone we could all wish to have had the opportunity to know.

I write now to inform you of several ways you can participate in honoring his memory and his service. His family has asked that his funeral and wake remain private.

Memorial ceremony with law enforcement: Wednesday, April 24, at noon; MIT’s Briggs Field.

This event will bring to our campus several thousand of Officer Collier’s fellow police officers. The MIT homepage will link to details on the logistics of attending.

Donations: We are aware of two ways to make a donation in honor of Officer Collier.

In tribute to Officer Collier’s character and values, the Institute is creating the Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund. It will be used to establish a Collier Medal—to be awarded to individuals who demonstrate the values of Officer Collier—and other causes. You are welcome to contribute to the memorial fund. Faculty may choose to make donations to it from their discretionary funds.

Officer Collier was a longtime supporter of the Jimmy Fund.

Condolences: The MIT Police have created a website on which people can offer their condolences at

MIT is planning a commemorative gathering for our campus and local alumni community for a date in May; we will share details about that event soon. A number of student groups are also planning their own celebrations of his life.

In the meantime, we also have the opportunity to recognize the service of his fellow MIT Police Officers, who continue to protect the peace of our campus through this acute moment of grief. I encourage you to offer your support and to let them know how much we appreciate their service.


L. Rafael Reif

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ted Willard April 23, 2013 at 12:26 am

I’m uncomfortable with the statement in the above announcement that says:

“It [the Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund] will be used to establish a Collier Medal—to be awarded to individuals who demonstrate the values of Officer Collier—and other causes.”

Specifically, the final phrase “and other causes” is a large enough loophole to allow the fund to support anything that MIT wants it to support. I think the Institute needs to provide more clarity to what the fund will be used for. Otherwise, people could think that MIT was trying to take advantage of the public’s emotion over this tragedy. In addition, it would be useful to know if Officer Collier’s family are comfortable with MIT having set up this fund.


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