University renames institute after marathon bombing victim

Bill Richard and wife Denise listen as sculptor Victoria Guerina speaks about their late son Martin Richard, who died in the Boston Marathon bombings, Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at Bridgewater State University, in Bridgewater, Mass. Guerina will be making a sculpture of the couple's late son to be displayed at the university where a building will also be named the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice. (Marc Vasconcellos/The Brockton Enterprise via AP)

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. (AP) — Bridgewater State University has formally renamed its Institute for Social Justice for the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombing, and announced plans for a bronze memorial to him on the campus where his parents met.

Martin Richard was 8 when he was killed in the April 15, 2013, bombing at the marathon finish line that also killed two other people and wounded more than 260. Martin’s younger sister lost her leg and his parents were also injured.

University President Dana Mohler-Faria said at a ceremony Wednesday that the institute’s mission “exemplifies in many ways what we know young Martin stood for, and that was peace.”

Martin’s parents, Bill and Denise Richard, graduated from Bridgewater State in 1993. The family lives in Boston.

After the bombings, an earlier photo of Martin holding a sign saying, “No more hurting people. Peace” became an icon.

That image is being cast into a life-size bronze statue by sculptor Victoria Guerina, a Richards family friend. It will be installed this summer on a pedestrian greenway between the university’s east and west campuses.

“We have no wish for this memorial to serve as an echo of the tragedy that struck our family along with so many others on that horrific April day,” Bill Richard said. “Rather we hope it is a reminder to all that, unlike the past, the story of the future is not yet written.

“If it helps even one Bridgewater student to pause and reflect upon their responsibility to make good choices, or inspires them to help someone in need, or allows them to see that this world can be made better through a combination of hope and perseverance, then surely the meaning of our son’s life lives on,” he said.


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