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MIT to establish a Sean Collier award

MIT announced Monday that it will establish an annual award for a person or group of people who embody the character and qualities of Sean A. Collier, the 26-year-old campus police officer who allegedly was slain by the accused Boston Marathon bombers.

Israel Ruiz, MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer, also wrote in a letter to the campus community that work has begun to design a permanent memorial honoring Collier. The college aims to break ground on the memorial April 18, the anniversary of his death.

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It would be located in the garden between the Koch Institute, Stata Center, and Vassar Street, with possible extension to the North Court.

The site is near the intersection where authorities have said Collier was shot to death as he sat in his cruiser.

In October, at that same location, MIT installed a temporary memorial carved of limestone from the institute’s Great Dome.

The inaugural Collier Medal will be presented as part of the MIT Excellence Awards ceremony Feb. 25, at Kresge Auditorium. Members of MIT and its “extended community” are eligible for the award.

“Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness,” Ruiz wrote.

Nominations will be accepted through Jan. 10 and can be submitted online.

“Last April, we lost a caring and devoted member of our community when MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was killed while protecting and serving the MIT campus and community in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings,” Ruiz wrote.

“A senseless act that challenged our intellect, his death brought the MIT and Cambridge communities, as well as many others from both near and far, together in an unprecedented way. 

“In establishing this permanent memorial and in awarding the Collier Medal, we honor and celebrate Officer Collier’s life, celebrate the many acts of kindness bestowed upon and across our community, and strengthen the culture of caring that is the heart of MIT,” Ruiz added.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at mjrochele@gmail.com

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