During the last week of April, the MIT community is invited to gather for several events focused on MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed in active service two years ago.
In a letter to the community on the first anniversary of Officer Collier’s passing, MIT President L. Rafael Reif described him as “a young man with a wonderful spirit of kindness, service, curiosity and play, and an extraordinary ability to touch the hearts of everyone around him. Through the example of his life, and through our shared experience after his death, he taught us the power of community in ways that no one present at the time will ever forget.” Reif also noted that “it is fitting that we honor his sacrifice, celebrate his life and allow his spirit to lift our hearts and connect us with one another.”
A permanent campus memorial to Officer Collier now stands at the intersection of Vassar and Main Streets. It was conceived and designed by MIT professor and head of the Department of Architecture J. Meejin Yoon. Constructed of solid granite in the shape of an open hand, the memorial embodies strength and encompasses a sheltered space for reflection and contemplation at its center.
Dedication and community picnic
The public dedication of the Collier Memorial will take place Wed., April 29, beginning at noon on the North Court near the site of the memorial. Speakers at the dedication will include Reif; Yoon; the Honorable David Maher, mayor of Cambridge; Israel Ruiz, MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer; John DiFava, chief of MIT Police and director of campus services.
Immediately following the dedication, members of the MIT community are invited to attend a picnic to celebrate Sean Collier’s life and explore the memorial that honors him. Constructed from 32 solid granite blocks locked together like the pieces of a puzzle, the memorial has the shape of an open hand unified by a central keystone. Its physical configuration embodies the strength and connectedness of “Collier Strong” and represents the community’s shared values and common purpose.
The North Court will be closed to all vehicles on April 29, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Occupants of buildings in the area are asked to plan accordingly for deliveries and other activity that may be affected.
Questions about the dedication and picnic may be directed to Institute Events.
Lecture: The making of the Collier Memorial
The Collier Memorial’s multidisciplinary project team included faculty, staff, and students, and the creation process was (in Yoon’s words) “a very ‘MIT’ endeavor” in that it required “a coming-together of like-minded, like-spirited people from many different disciplines to create something singular in the world.” In advance of the dedication, on Mon., April 27 at 6 p.m. in Room 10-250, Yoon and Professor John Ochsendorf, the Class of 1942 Professor of Architecture and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, will present a lecture about the collaborative efforts to design, engineer, and construct the memorial. The presentation will explore how the team combined historic stone-setting techniques with contemporary robotic fabrication technologies in the construction of this tribute, a load-bearing granite structure unprecedented in its scale and complexity.