Metro

First Sean Collier scholarship to be awarded

FILE - This undated file photo released by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office shows Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean Collier, of Somerville, Mass. Collier was shot to death Thursday, April 18, 2013 on the school's campus in Cambridge, Mass. as Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were fleeing several days after the Boston Marathon explosions. On Friday, May 15, 2015, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the terror attack. (Middlesex District Attorney's Office via AP, File)
Middlesex District Attorney's Office via Associated Press/File
MIT Officer Sean Collier was killed in April 2013.

A scholarship established in memory of MIT police officer Sean Collier will be awarded at Salem State University for the first time Thursday.

Five years have passed since Collier was killed in the line of duty by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects on April 18, 2013. Collier was sitting in his patrol car on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus when he was ambushed and shot multiple times by the Tsarnaev brothers, according to prosecutors.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was later killed in a standoff with police in Watertown, and Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev was captured and convicted for his role in the bombings. He is facing the federal death penalty.

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Meanwhile, Collier’s legacy lives on at his alma mater.

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The first Sean A. Collier Memorial Scholarship will be awarded Thursday night at Salem State’s criminal justice awards banquet, according to university spokeswoman Kim Burnett.

The recipient will be Danalee Williams, a sophomore criminal justice major. “She will receive an annual scholarship of $1,000 as long as she is in good academic standing until she graduates,” Burnett said.

Ed LeClair, professor emeritus and founder of Salem State’s criminal justice program, praised Collier for what he accomplished as a student and after he graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

“He was a very good student. He was always a presence . . . and really an inspirational leader,” LeClair said.

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LeClair recalled how Collier traveled to England to study law enforcement.

After he graduated, “we knew he was going to do something well,” LeClair said. “He was an exceptionally good community police officer.”

According to the scholarship website, Collier served with the Somerville Auxiliary Police from 2006 through 2009 and then worked as an intern and records clerk at the Somerville Police Department before going on to attend the MBTA Transit Police Academy. After he joined the MIT Police Department in 2012, he participated in the MIT Outing Club outside of his regular duties and went on hikes with students.

LeClair said Collier had been scheduled to be appointed as a Somerville police officer in June 2013. He was sworn in posthumously.

The idea for the scholarship emerged soon after his death, LeClair said.

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“When Sean was killed five years ago, our immediate reaction on campus was to do something,” he said. “The response was overwhelming.”

LeClair said the scholarship fund reached $25,000 in December, and then “the Collier family stepped in and gave a very generous donation,” which will allow the scholarship to be awarded this year “and for many years beyond.”

For information about the scholarship contact Institutional Advancement at Salem State at 978-542-7590.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.