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Graduation gown tribute to slain student shared online

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Richard Collins III’s graduation gown draped over front row chairs at Bowie State University ceremony. Collins, 23, who was visiting friends at the College Park campus, had just been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and would have graduated from Bowie State, was stabbed and killed.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. >> Bowie State University officials draped a graduation gown over a chair at commencement, creating a poignant tribute to a slain graduating senior that people are sharing online.

As of Friday, WTOP-FM reporter Neal Augenstein’s image of the gown has been retweeted more than 68,000 times and seen by millions.

Administrators say the tribute was a symbolic way to represent the loss of Richard Collins III at Tuesday’s ceremony. University spokeswoman Cassandra Robinson tells WTOP-FM that the tragedy already resonated with many around the world and this was a way to show the magnitude of the loss.

Collins, who was black, was visiting the University of Maryland last weekend when, police say, a white Maryland student fatally stabbed him. The case is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

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