Richard Collins III would have graduated from college on May 23, but he never saw his big day arrive.
On May 20, Collins was stabbed to death, allegedly by a man named Sean Christopher Urbanski, at the University of Maryland.
Instead of walking across a stage during the commencement ceremony at Bowie State University, Collins’ gown was draped over an empty chair in the front row.
Richard Collins III's graduation gown draped over front row chairs at Bowie State University ceremony. He was murdered Saturday. pic.twitter.com/dq7CsBzpLl— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) May 23, 2017
"We gather this morning with heavy hearts," said Bowie State University President Dr. Mickey L. Burnim "One of our graduates, in the prime of his life, has fallen victim to an unprovoked assault in yet one more manifestation of the senseless violence permeating our society."
The slain student was posthumously awarded his bachelor's degree. His family accepted the honor for him.
Collins was visiting friends at the University of Maryland in College Park. He was with two other people when Urbanski allegedly approached him and stabbed him in the chest with a knife in what is said to be a senseless attack.
The confrontation broke out near a bus stop as Collins, with a group of friends, was waiting for an Uber.
“Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you,” Urbanski reportedly said to Collins, according to court documents. After Collins refused, Urbanski allegedly stabbed him once in the chest.
During investigation of the killing, University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell revealed that Urbanski is a member of a white supremacist Facebook group called "Alt Reich: Nation,” which contains hateful posts about women, Latinos, Jews and especially African-Americans.
Collins' life was taken days before his graduation and just two days after he had been commissioned as a U.S. Army lieutenant.
He trained in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps in college and planned to continue serving his country after graduation — just like his father.
"He was a competitor," his father told NBC News. "He prided himself on his time and ROTC unit.
"He even won a certificate for being the best, scoring the highest points on his physical training, so he was just competitive at heart and had a loving and giving heart."
Local and federal authorities are currently investigating as a possible hate crime.