Under Armour and partners look to bring ROTC cadets from diverse backgrounds together in wake of killing of Bowie State student

An Under Armour-sponsored program formed in the wake of the 2017 fatal stabbing of U.S. Army Lt. Richard Collins III in College Park has ended its first year with a goal of bringing in nearly 200 participants over three years, the Baltimore-based sports apparel maker said Friday.

The Building Bridges program aims to bring together ROTC cadets from diverse backgrounds and help them establish common ground.


It was started after Collins was killed at a College Park campus bus stop, just miles from Bowie State University. Collins, a 23-year-old Black student and ROTC Cadet at Bowie State, was expecting to graduate within days and had just been commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army. A white former student at the University of Maryland was convicted of first-degree murder two years later.

Under Armour partnered with Outward Bound and the LT Richard W. Collins Foundation on the program. More than 40 ROTC cadets from the University of Maryland, College Park and Bowie State, an historically black school, have participated so far, the company said.

A submitted photo of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III.
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Collins’ father, Richard Collins Jr., said the program is carrying forward his son’s vision as an officer and a leader. The Secretary of the Army promoted Collins posthumously to the rank of 1st Lieutenant in May 2020.

“Having the Building Bridges program and Under Armour together with Outward Bound, working towards the goals our son Richard set for himself, gives true definition to his legacy serving as a resounding salvo for each individual who benefits from this connection,” said Collins Jr., co-founder of LT Richard Collins Foundation. The foundation invests in the education and empowerment of “promising young Americans” who are committed to working toward a hate-free society.

Building Bridges aims to offer a space where ROTC students from diverse backgrounds can meet and celebrate differences through challenges and common experiences. The goal is to bring in nearly 200 ROTC cadets from both universities by the end of the third year.

In the final step of the program’s first year, 11 ROTC cadets completed a five-day wilderness expedition on June 10 that took place along the Appalachian Trail with Outward Bound educators. The program started with a one-day event in September at Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School’s campus in Baltimore’s Leakin Park.

Under Armour, a sponsor through its UA Freedom Initiative, which supports front-line workers, has committed to three years of funding. The partners hope to expand the program to eventually include more schools, said Phyllis Kim, chief advancement officer at Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School.