Student from Portland dies after fall at university's bell tower in New York

Fordham University bell tower - Image from WABC.

A college student originally from the Portland area died Sunday after she fell from a bell tower in New York, reports from her university say.

The Fordham University senior who was injured has been identified as 22-year-old Sydney Paige Monfries. According to social media profiles, Monfries is from Portland, Oregon.

Police say a group of seniors at Fordham University decided to climb to the top of the tower early Sunday. That's when Monfries reportedly fell about 30 feet from one floor to another inside the tower.

First responders found her lying on the ground with traumatic injuries to her head and body.

They took her to a nearby hospital, where school officials later say she died of her injuries.

University officials are investigating how the students were able to get inside of the tower.

Below is a statement from the university:

Dear Members of the Fordham Family,

It is with great sadness that I report that Sydney Monfries, a senior at Fordham College at Rose Hill, died today after sustaining a fall inside the Keating Clock tower in the early hours of the morning. Our hearts go out to Sydney’s parents, and her family and friends—theirs is an unimaginable loss, and we share their grief.

There are no words sufficient to describe the loss of someone so young and full of promise—and mere weeks from graduation. Fordham will confer a bachelor’s degree upon Sydney posthumously, which we will present to her parents at the appropriate time.

As I noted earlier, we will hold a Mass for Sydney tonight at 7 p.m. in the University Church—all members of the University community are invited to attend. We will of course share information on funeral arrangements as soon as we have them.

Again, I know you join me in keeping Sydney’s family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. And also know that you are in mine.


Joseph M. McShane, S.J.

Support for Students

Counseling Center:
Rose Hill: (718) 817-3725
Lincoln Center: (212) 636-6225

Campus Ministry:
Rose Hill: (718) 817-4500
Lincoln Center: (212) 636-6267

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