Photos of Samuel Collington, from toddler to college student, adorn the living-room window sill without an inch to spare.

His parents, Molly and Dennis Collington, hover near the front door of their home in Prospect Park, Delaware County, welcoming relatives and friends. They talk of Sam, the “old soul,” the Seth Rogen look-alike with a dry wit who loved the music of Pete Seeger, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan. The activist who tried to get everyone to vote, and spoke out for racial, social, and economic justice.

It was graduation day. But the kind of graduation day no parent should have to endure.

Collington, a Temple University political science major who was set to graduate in May, was shot and killed Thanksgiving weekend in what evidently was a botched robbery and carjacking not far from campus. He was 21, and with a good LSAT score, had clinched his dream of starting law school this fall.

On Saturday afternoon, Robin Kolodny, chair of Temple’s department of political science, along with Artemy Kalinovsky, a Temple political science professor, came to the Collingtons’ home to present them with Sam’s framed diploma.

Molly Collington gripped her son’s diploma on her lap and sobbed as her daughter, Bailey, tried to console her.

Kolodny also told the family that Sam was awarded the Political Science Merit Award and the Department of Political Science Outstanding Capstone Paper Award.

There’s a wall in the political science building where those who knew Collington have posted notes, Kolodny said. She read one: “Thank you for caring about this community and showing your love and dedication to it every day. You truly were one of the best of us. We will miss you.”

“I know every mother would say the same thing — that my son was special, but he really was a gift for all of us,” Molly Collington said. “He was charismatic, outgoing, just full of life. It’s just a tragedy for everyone.”

She said she heard from so many people who knew Sam, some of whom she’d never met. Some gave donations, even $5 in his memory. In total, the Collingtons have received $25,000 and with that, established an Interboro Education Foundation scholarship in Sam’s memory since he graduated from Interboro High School, where he was class president. Kolodny said Temple is also establishing a Samuel S. Collington Internship Fund to support students who do public service, particularly in government-related work.

While the Collingtons were grateful, nothing could erase the pain of losing their son.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Molly Collington said. “I will forever wonder what would have been.”

Collington was killed in the middle of the day doing everyday life. He had spent Thanksgiving with his parents and was returning to school with a huge basket of laundry his mom had washed. He parked his dad’s SUV on North Park Avenue near Dauphin Street, a quiet residential block sprinkled with student housing. It was around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28. Collington wasn’t planning on staying long. He planned to drive back to his parents’ house that night to watch HBO’s Succession.

Collington had just stepped out of his car when a male with a gun approached him in what appeared to be a robbery and carjacking. The gunman shot him twice in the chest. An emergency-room nurse at Temple University Hospital called his mom to tell her to get there as soon as possible.

“When I got there, a doctor told me my son was dead,” Molly Collington said. ”We’re still in shock. It was the randomness of it. I keep thinking if only he was five minutes later or five minutes earlier, just maybe. ...”

It was the second fatal armed robbery near Temple University’s campus within two weeks. Just after 2 a.m. on Nov. 16, 18-year-old Ahmir Jones, a Pottstown High School senior, was fatally shot in the chest during a robbery three blocks from the campus on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near 17th Street.

Two 16-year-old boys have been charged with his slaying. Police have charged 17-year-old Latif Williams with Collington’s death.

In the wake of the killings, Temple has vowed to increase its police force by 50%, adding roughly 40 new officers, and upgrading campus lighting, cameras, safety technology, and walking escort services.

The Collingtons just hope no other family has to face such grief.

“You know, Sam was an organ donor. They weren’t able to use a lot, but they were able to use his corneas. So someone can now see the world through his eyes,” Molly Collington said, wiping away tears.

“Even in death, he always gave.”