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Charity bike-riding group gives $35k to MIT fund in memory of slain campus officer Sean Collier

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  January 16, 2014 03:24 PM

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From left to right, Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans, MIT executive vice president and treasurer Israel Ruiz, Detective Lt. Christopher Hamilton, director of facilities operations and security at MIT John DiFava, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Organizers of an annual bike-riding event that raises money to support the families of police killed in the line of duty presented a $35,000 check to a fund established by MIT in memory of Sean A. Collier, the campus police officer who authorities said was shot to death in April by the accused Boston Marathon bombers.

Members of the New York chapter of the Tour De Force 9/11 Memorial Bike Ride, a group established in 2002 to honor victims of the prior year’s terrorist attacks, presented the check to MIT officials at an event at the Eastern Standard bar and restaurant in Kenmore Square on Jan. 9, according to an announcement from the institute.

The money was raised in September during the annual four-day Tour de Force cycling event which had more than 300 police officers and other emergency workers bike from the site of the fallen Twin Towers in New York City to Boston, crossing the Marathon finish line after a moment of silence before finishing their journey in Copley Square.

Last week, MIT Police leaders, Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans and other local law enforcement joined Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and MIT officials at the check presentation.

Israel Ruiz, MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer said nearly $500,000 has been raised for the Collier Fund, which will be used to pay for a permanent memorial to Collier on campus and scholarships in his name at MIT and at the Massachusetts Police Academy.

The institute has also said it will establish the Collier Medal, which will be awarded each year to an individual or group who “embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the MIT community and in all aspects of his life.”

And, the school recently announced it is 25 seeking runners for its MIT Strong team that will compete in the Boston Marathon in April, raising money for the Collier Fund.

“The magnitude of the support is unmatched in my experience, and the MIT community takes great comfort in the empathy exhibited by all that join us in our sorrow as we remember Officer Sean Collier,” Ruiz said in a statement.

John DiFava, director of facilities operations and security at MIT said he too was overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness in the wake of the bombings and Collier’s death.

“In my 40 years in law enforcement, I don’t think I’ve ever been more touched and affected by the outpouring of kindness that there has been,” DiFava said in a statement. “It’s been incredible and wonderful to see this amount of support.”

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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