Office of the President
Campus Messages

Honoring Lt. Collins and a legacy of social justice

Message from President Darryll J. Pines

By Darryll J. Pines

Dear fellow Terrapins,

Earlier today, students, faculty and staff from two universities, along with esteemed guests, joined together to officially open a plaza dedicated to the life and legacy of Lt. Richard Collins III. The creation of Lt. Richard Collins III Plaza represents an important milestone in a journey that began almost exactly five years ago.

In May 2017, Lt. Collins, a student at Bowie State University, was killed in a crime of hate by a University of Maryland student. Since that tragic day, we have worked with Dawn and Richard Collins, Richard's parents, to ensure that his name will be forever remembered and to dedicate ourselves to social justice and the eradication of hate in all of its forms.

In a fitting tribute to Lt. Collins, social justice champions, community advocates, Bowie State President Breaux, an Army official, Congressman Anthony Brown and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer joined us and the Collins family to commemorate our new campus landmark. Many spoke on how we must use this moment to inspire progress.

Our campus has a tradition of honoring civil rights heroes: Benjamin Banneker. Frederick Douglass. Harriet Tubman. Parren J. Mitchell. Today, along with the spaces, statues, halls and programs that bear their names, we are adding a new name that will spark the inspiration needed to fight for social justice: Lt. Richard W. Collins III. This is a name—a legacy—that will mean something to every person who sets foot on our campus.

Photograph from today's dedication ceremony for Collins Plaza

A key feature of Collins Plaza is the Unity Mural, created by University of Maryland and Bowie State University students, staff and faculty in the wake of Lt. Collins' death. The Unity Mural was conceived to take a stand against racism and violence, reflecting upon themes of unity, peace and justice.

Two other plaques proclaim important messages: "Forward With Hope" and "Never Shall We Forget," statements that are deeply personal to the Collins family and resonate throughout our campus and global community.

Just in the past week, we have seen more violence investigated as hate crimes in Buffalo and Dallas. These horrific acts remind us that much work remains to eradicate hate in our communities. The Social Justice Alliance, formed after Lt. Collins' death by Bowie State and the University of Maryland, is at the forefront of these efforts. Led by faculty experts from each campus, it is addressing critical issues facing the nation by engaging our students and communities to bring about the changes we want and need to see.

In these difficult times, it is our fervent hope that Lt. Collins Plaza may serve as a place of reflection and hope for the Collins family, for our communities and for our nation. We invite you to visit the plaza and dedicate yourself to building a world that stands against hate.


Signature of President Darryll Pines

Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland, College Park

Georgina Dodge Signature

Georgina Dodge
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion