Family and friends of slain Temple University student ensure his memory lives on

The fight to Save Our Streets hits close to home for one family whose son was killed blocks from Temple University’s freshmen dorms. His parents, and former schools, are doing everything they can to keep his memory alive.

Molly and Dennis Collington never imagined they would spend so much of their time at Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center.

But if their son’s case is on a docket, they are showing up. Whether they need to or not.

"We’ll never miss anything to do with any of this, because it’s our boy, and he would be here if it was someone else," says Molly Collington, Sam Collington’s mother.


The 21-year-old Temple University student was shot and killed blocks from campus in late November of 2021 as he was unloading his car after Thanksgiving break. Philadelphia Police arrested 17-year-old Latif Williams for his murder.

"We want justice for Sam, that’s the only thing that will give us any type of peace ever, is justice for Sam," says Molly.

"Sam was my hero and he would’ve been a hero to a lot of people had he not been murdered," says Dennis Collington, Sam’s father.

In his hometown of Prospect Park, in Delaware County, Sam’s memory lives on.

There is a memorial at the Norwood Public Library beside the American flag that Sam fundraised to purchase. His name is on the wall at his high school, Interboro High School, for distinguished honors.

"Sam was a kid that made an immediate impact," says William Soroka, Sam’s AP Government teacher. "What hurts the most about this is not only not being able to see what he was going to accomplish in the world, but all the conversations that we missed out on. That makes me sad."

"He was so witty and so charming, so charismatic," says Noelle Ackland, Sam’s journalism teacher and yearbook advisor. "Looking back, I just wish I had more time."

Ackland is also a proud Temple University alum, known for hanging Temple gear in her room and painting above her classroom ceiling. However, she struggles with that.

"How do I, in good conscious, tell kids, yes, go there, it’s safe?" she says. "This could happen on any campus, but it hits way closer to home when I’ve walked those same streets."

The Collingtons’ established a scholarship at Interboro High School with the funds donated after his death that will go on to help 25 students—someone who is civic-minded and wants to make the world a better place, like Sam did.

Ackland gets emotional when she reads Sam’s portion of the yearbook.

"His plans were to become President of the United States," she says. "And I have no doubt that he would’ve done that."

Temple University also established a Samuel S. Collington Internship Fund to support students who seek public service and election-based internships. Learn more about the Internship Fund, here.