By day he patrolled Wayne State University’s campus and by night took classes for a master’s degree.
Campus Police Officer Collin Rose was just one credit shy of getting that degree, which family members said meant so much to him, when a bullet ended his life last month.
On Saturday, Wayne State University took the rare step of conferring Rose’s degree posthumously in front of about 1,000 graduates and 1,500 of their family members. They erupted in applause and stood as Rose’s fiancé Nikki Salgot of St. Clair Shores crossed a temporary stage set up inside Matthaei Physical Education Center to receive the diploma listing his Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution from WSU President Roy Wilson.
It was a moving moment for the university community, said Loraleigh Keashly, associate professor of communication, a former director of the Dispute Resolution program, who was seated onstage.
“I loved it when the president hugged her and held her. That was totally the right thing to do,” Keashly said later. “What’s coming out about Collin is what a caring man he was, and he was very much about doing policing in a more humane way. That’s why he was engaged with our dispute resolution program,” she said.
Salgot, wearing a black sweater over a white blouse with black pants — and with an engagement diamond still shining on her ring finger — carried the diploma back to where Rose’s parents from Kalamazoo were seated along with with her family members, getting hugs as she showed them the prized document. Also seated with them and dressed in black was the wife of WSU's president, Jacqueline Wilson.
Leading up to the ceremony, friends teased Salgot because she “earned that degree as much as he did” by helping Rose with his homework and “getting him to write the papers,” said Wayne State University police Investigator Chris Howell. Rose and Howell took classes at WSU together for four years and were best friends, Howell said before Saturday’s ceremony.
“My heart hurts right now, but we’re all very happy Wayne State's doing this for him,” Howell said.
Inside Saturday's 60-page commencement booklet was a photo of Rose and a page dedicated to his memory. It ended with the statement: "Wayne State is deeply indebted to Rose for his courage, his dedication, and his commitment to the community he served so valiantly."