The Sean A. Collier Collection at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Summary Information

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Archives and Special Collections
Sean A. Collier collection
20.0 cubic feet (34 containers including 25 boxes and 9 oversize enclosures)

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Sean Collier served as an officer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) police department beginning on January 9, 2012, wearing badge number 179. He was previously a civilian employee of the Somerville, Massachusetts, police department.

On April 18, 2013, three days after the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15th, the men responsible for the Marathon attack came to the MIT campus, and shot and killed Officer Collier outside the Stata Center (Building 32) at the corner of Vassar and Main Streets where he was on patrol.

A formal memorial service was held on April 24, 2013, at MIT’s Briggs Field, attended by more than 10,000 staff, students, faculty, and police representatives from across the U.S. and Canada. The service featured remarks by MIT President L. Rafael Reif, MIT Police Chief John DiFava, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, and a brother of the slain officer. During this time and in the months afterward, the site of Officer Collier's death became a spontaneous memorial space with items placed there by members of the MIT community and the public who wished to honor his memory. On the six-month anniversary of his death, a memorial stone carved of limestone from MIT's great dome was placed on the site. A permanent campus memorial designed by MIT Professor J. Meejin Yoon was dedicated on April 29, 2015. The concept of the design is described in this way:

"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." (MIT News Office, April 14, 2015)

Additionally, to honor his memory and service, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology established The Sean A. Collier Fund. The funds are being used for a scholarship in his name at MIT (awarded first in 2014) and a scholarship at the Massachusetts Police Academy.

The Institute also created the Collier Medal to be given each year to either an individual or a group which “embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the MIT community and in all aspects of his life." (MIT News Office, January 10, 2014) The first medal was awarded in February 2014 to members of the MIT Emergency Medical Services, a student-run volunteer ambulance service that aids members of the MIT community. Sean Collier worked closely with MIT EMS volunteers, and it was EMS student volunteers who responded on the evening of April 18, 2013.

MIT News Office obituary:

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About the Collection

This collection consists of items placed in 2013 by members of the public and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) community at a makeshift memorial at the location where MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was killed on the evening of April 18, 2013. Condolence materials left with the MIT Police in 2013 and 2014 are also included.

Items are primarily physical, but also include a digital copy of a song recording, left on a CD. A variety of personal items were left including many handmade by individuals and groups. Posters, messages, paper cranes, stuffed animals, glassware, clothing items, religious items, and badges were placed at the site. At the request of the Institute, items were gathered by staff of the Institute Archives and Special Collections, twice during the summer of 2013, and received conservation treatment at the MIT Libraries so they would be preserved and accessible permanently.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute Archives and Special Collections

MIT Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139-4307

Access note

This collection is open.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

MIT Police:

MIT Outing Club:

MIT Faculty Minutes, May 16, 2013, Memorial Resolution for Officer Sean Collier.

MIT News Office obituary: "‘He loved us, and we loved him’ MIT community recalls fallen officer Sean Collier, who made a big impression in 15 months at MIT," April 19, 2013.

MIT Memorial Service:

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Police Department.

Personal Name(s)

  • Collier, Sean

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