At a ceremony held Saturday on Sept. 26, Bridgewater State University (BSU) named its Institute for Social Justice after Martin Richard, the youngest victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
In addition to the dedication of the institute, BSU officials, along with the Richard family and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, unveiled a sculpture of Martin in University Park.
The ceremony featured speakers such as President Fred Clark, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, President Emeritus Dana Mohler-Faria, and William Richard, the father of Martin Richard.
“Shorty after the tragedy at the Marathon Bombing, I learned that the Richard family, Denise and Bill, were graduates of Bridgewater State University,” said President Emeritus Mohler-Faria. “I really felt that the university needed to be engaged with them and find some way to connect with this family.”
The Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice, Mohler-Faria said, resembles much of what BSU stands for.
“The whole ceremony was very moving, I think the most memorable part for me, was Bill Richard’s speech,” said Mohler-Faria. “Which was, I’m sure, very hard to do, but he did an excellent job in expressing his thoughts and feelings describing who Martin was. We should all be aware as we seek our own paths in this life, that we have an obligation to help others and be engaged with others, and deal with communities and world problems.”
Similarly, President Clark said he hopes members of the Bridgewater community can take something away from the ceremony dedicated to Martin Richard.
“I hope that they take away an understanding that this institution has not just a mind, but a heart,” said Clark. “ Our heart really beats with social justice rhythm and that we’re committed to our region and the people that we serve. We’re committed to making a difference in opportunities for students to succeed, especially for students that are most challenged.”
As a result of Martin Richard’s passing, the university has implemented many changes in the Social Justice department, according to Mohler-Faria.
“Internationally, we are doing a major clean water project in Cambodia, working with the educational system in Belize,” said Mohler-Faria.”So the Institute really is an effort to engage the University and our students in the broader world and community.”
Mohler-Faria concluded and said that BSU is trying to make the world a better place, similar to what Martin Richard believed in.
Stephanie Dawber is the Editor-in-Chief of The Comment. Follow her on Twitter @StephanieDawber.