The University of Maryland announced on Thursday its plans to honor the victims of the Capital Gazette shooting.
The journalism college will rename a room in Knight Hall as a memorial for alumni John McNamara and Gerald Fischman, adjunct professor Rob Hiaasen, Capital Gazette advertising sales assistant Rebecca Smith and features writer Wendi Winters.
Maryland athletics will also dedicate press seats at Xfinity Center and Maryland Stadium in McNamara’s honor with a permanent placard, and there will be a moment of silence in the press box before the first football home game this Saturday.
“From his time as a young reporter for The Diamondback, John dedicated much of his life to reporting news and sharing stories of our student-athletes, coaches and programs at Maryland,” athletic director Damon Evans in the release. “John was a part of so many special moments in our history and created many personal moments of his own in College Park. The seats … will serve as a constant reminder to the dedication and passion he had for Maryland and sports journalism.”
The room in Knight Hall is a glass-fronted third-floor conference room — room 3200 next to the Roberts Room — will likely be called the Capital Gazette Room, journalism dean Lucy Dalglish said.
“It’s a beautiful room. It gets a lot of traffic, a lot of other people on campus borrow it. We use it for classes, we use it for meetings,” she said. “It’s very central to the business. A lot of people see it.”
The college has a strong connection with The Capital, outside of its ties to McNamara, Fischman and Hiaasen, Dalglish said. The college is named for the paper’s former owner, Philip Merrill, who gave the college a “sizable donation” about 20 years ago, she said. And many of the college’s graduates work at The Capital.
There are plans to have a display on one of the walls in the room in honor of the entire paper, with pictures of the five staffers slain in the shooting, and written parts about each of them and The Capital’s “historical significance to the state of Maryland,” Dalglish said.
“Everybody there was a victim in some way, and so it will be in honor of the entire paper,” she said.
The college will also create a teaching award in honor of Hiaasen and writing competitions in honor of Fischman and McNamara, the news release read. Details are still being fleshed out, but faculty have discussed having a student commentary writing competition, a sports writing competition and an award for outstanding adjunct professor of the year, in honor of Fischman, McNamara and Hiaasen, respectively, Dalglish said.
“We’ve been in communication with their families, and they are enthusiastic about this,” Dalglish said.
A dedication co-hosted with The Diamondback will occur in December.