Thousands of members of the MIT community gathered today for the dedication of the Institute’s memorial to Sean Collier, the MIT police officer who was killed in the line of duty two years ago this month.
Attendees heard remarks from Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz; President L. Rafael Reif; Cambridge Mayor David Maher; John DiFava, director of campus services and chief of police; and Professor J. Meejin Yoon, head of the Department of Architecture, who designed the memorial.
Situated on the site where Collier was shot and killed on April 18, 2013, the Collier Memorial is composed of 32 blocks of granite that form a five-way stone vault. Inspired by the shape of an open hand, the vault is supported by five radial walls.
The smooth, curved vault contains the inscription: “In the line of duty, Sean Collier, April 18, 2013.” Carved into a south-facing wall on one of the radial arms is a quote from a eulogy delivered by Rob Rogers, Collier’s brother, at an MIT memorial service on April 24, 2013: “Live long like he would. Big hearts, big smiles, big service, all love.”
In the program for today’s event, Yoon described the structure as follows: “The vaulted design of the Sean Collier Memorial embodies structural principles in its material configuration and symbolizes generosity as service. This didactic visualization of forces is consistent with MIT’s ethos of openness and transparency, while the idea that all five walls are needed to achieve a stable form is symbolic of a community coalescing to commemorate a loss. The permanent Collier Memorial will offer our community the opportunity to remember Officer Collier’s life and to honor his service as it reminds us of our values: openness in the face of threat, unity through diversity, and strength through community.”