College graduation should have been a time for Richard Wilbur Collins III, age 23, to reflect and remember later in his life. He was set to graduate from Bowie State University, MD, with a degree in business today. The chair that would have been his during the commencement ceremony sat without him. He couldn’t walk across stage donning the cap and gown he worked so hard to wear. Instead, his graduation gown marked his rightful spot, only it was draped over the chair that belonged to him.

Three days before graduation day he was visiting with friends and, later, waiting with friends for an Uber at a University of Maryland bus stop.

His life was taken by the end of a knife. Collins was stabbed, taken to Prince George's Hospital Center, and, at 4:10 a.m., he was pronounced dead.

Collins took steps for a future he anticipated

Richard Collins, Jr., the victim’s father, said his son would go out of his way to help others. His served as a member of Bowie State University’s campus chapter of the ROTC. His son was commissioned only two days earlier as a U.S. Army second lieutenant. Following graduation, his son was set to serve his country in the Army.

Collins was not only a black student allegedly stabbed to death, he was also a son whose life was cut short in its prime. During what should have been a time for celebration for the Collins’ family, they are mourning.

His family sat near his gown in the front row and accepted his diploma. His bachelor’s degree? Award posthumously.

After asking for a moment of silence, Dr. Mickey L. Burnim, President, Bowie State University, then asked the graduates to think about what each person can do to advance greater peace, harmony, and love that he said are lacking in the country.

Collins’ father had told a news station that he’s not in a place to feel many emotions aside from sorrow and deep personal loss. “A parent’s worst nightmare,” he said, “has just reached my doorstep.”

Maryland Governor denounces the murder of Collins

On his Facebook page, Governor Larry Hogan, MD, condemned the attack on Collins.

He expressed outrage. He also extended condolences to the victim’s family and friends. He asked that "Marylanders" demonstrate strength and unite during “this time of grieving.”

The University of Maryland police chief said it never gets worse “than this” and it “rips your heart out.”

Ciera Sorrell who was in a class with Collins described Bowie State University’s community as shocked following his murder. She also said everyone is in disbelief. She said Collins was excited about his life and what was ahead for him and, now, that chance is gone.

Bowie State University’s commencement ceremony was, incidentally, held at the University of Maryland. Candles and flowers had been placed at the bus stop where Collins’ lost his life, allegedly at the end of a knife wielded by Sean Christopher Urbanski, age 22.