UMD to honor Capital Gazette shooting victims with memorial

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland announced Friday they will honor the five slain victims of the Capital Gazette shooting with an on-campus memorial.

An executive seminar room at the university’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism will be renamed as a memorial for UMD alumni John McNamara, ’83 and Gerald Fischman, ’79, UMD adjunct professor Rob Hiaasen, and their colleagues Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.

A dedication ceremony, co-hosted with The Diamondback student newspaper, will take place in December. Merrill College will also create writing competitions in memory of Fischman and McNamara, as well as a teaching award in memory of Hiaasen.

“These people served their community by practicing and supporting journalism,” said Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of Merrill College. “We hope these remembrances will be a consistent reminder of their example, and that their memory inspires others to seek truth and do good.”

Maryland Athletics will pay tribute to McNamara, a sports reporter who covered Terps football and basketball for two decades, with a moment of silence in the press box before this Saturday’s home football game. A press seat will be dedicated in memory of McNamara with a permanent placard in the press box at both Maryland Stadium and XFINITY Center.

“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,” director of athletics Damon Evans said. “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 dedicated in his honor at both XFINITY Center and Maryland Stadium will serve as a constant reminder to the dedication and passion he had for Maryland and sports journalism.”

McNamara first started covering the Terps as a student reporter for The Diamondback. He wrote a 2001 book with Dave Eflin on UMD men’s basketball, then in 2009 wrote another on Terps football.

Fischman, who also worked for The Diamondback, was an award-winning editorial writer who began working at the Capital Gazette newsroom in 1992.

Hiaasen, who taught news writing and reporting in Spring 2018 at Merrill College and was scheduled to do so again this fall, started working at The Capital in 2010 after 15 years as a feature writer at The Baltimore Sun.

Wendi Winters, a features writer, started out as a freelancer at The Capital nearly 20 years ago and Rebecca Smith was hired as a sales assistant for the publication.