Sydney Monfries, a promising Fordham University student studying journalism, was tragically killed when she fell out of the university’s iconic clock tower. She was remembered as kind and good-hearted, and she was already working at an internship for a prominent magazine.
Sydney’s future was bright, and she was remembered in glowing terms by friends. The student, a senior, was from Portland, Oregon. Her full name is Sydney Paige Monfries. The New York Post reported that Monfries was identified by friends as the student who fell from the clock tower.
Fordham University is located in the Bronx, in New York City. Monfries, 22, was initially listed as being in extremely critical condition, but she later passed away. The university now says it will confer a bachelor’s degree on her posthumously.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Monfries Worked as a Photo Editor Intern for InStyle & Was Remembered as a ‘Bright Light’
A childhood friend told WABC-TV that Monfries “was a genuinely beautiful person inside and out. She truly was a bright light in this world taken way too soon.”
A college friend called her “a beautiful soul.”
Monfries was a promising student with a bright future. At Fordham, Monfries was studying public relations, news, and photography, and she had a promising career in front of her. Her major is listed as journalism.
Her Facebook page says she was a photo editor intern at InStyle, former PR intern at Creative Media Marketing PR, and a former news intern at KGW-TV.
She went to Jesuit High School, lived in the Bronx, and was from Portland, Oregon, her Facebook page says. You can see a page with photos of Monfries here. It’s linked through her Twitter page.
2. Monfries, Who Was Described as Kind & ‘Good-Hearted,’ Showcased Her Travels on Facebook & Raised Money for Alzheimers
On social media, Monfries presented a positive and carefree picture. She recently posted a photo of herself in Greece. Friends filled the comment thread with compliments, with one writing, “An ancient Grecian Goddess brought back to life.”
A relative wrote on one picture, “Just remember! You’re not in school to learn things, you’re there to build memories!”
She was remembered fondly by those who knew her.
A friend on Instagram wrote, “You and your mom and your sister are so incredibly wonderful. You were all so kind and good hearted. You were so smart, pretty and kind just like your momma. Thank you for being an amazing person, I will always remember you ❤️ RIP.”
Monfries also posted photos of herself in front of the White House, the New York Skyline, in Paris, and with friends. She created a Facebook fundraiser for Alzheimers research, writing, “For my birthday this year, I’m asking for donations to Alzheimer’s Association. I’ve chosen this nonprofit because their mission means a lot to me, and I hope you’ll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me.”
Her last photo on Instagram was from two days before the tragedy and showed her out with a friend.
3. Monfries Tragically Fell From the Clock Tower After Tripping, Reports Say
The nature of Sydney Monfries’ injuries were horrific. According to the New York Post, Monfries was placed on life support and was listed in extremely critical condition after the fall.
The Post described the graphic nature of the wounds per fire department sources, saying that her “vitals flat-lined at the scene, but she was revived.”
Paramedics had trouble finding a pulse, The Post reported. According to The New York Daily News, Monfries tripped on a landing while walking up the stairs “inside the Keating Hall clock tower with a group of fellow seniors.”
She fell 40 feet “through an opening in the stairs around 3:15 a.m.,” Daily News reported. A university spokesman told Daily News the tower is normally locked but some students try to enter it for a better view of the city.
“I heard they were just getting a better view of the city,” a senior named Anne told The New York Post. “I think they were posting on Instagram.” Authorities have not confirmed that detail, however. The newspaper reported that Sydney was with a group of friends at a local restaurant before the tragedy and some seniors reportedly wanted to go to the tower to “take some pictures and have a good time before graduating.”
According to NBC New York, Monfries and other students “were climbing the stairs when the victim fell through a hole in one of the stairway landings.” The university is investigating how the students were able to access the tower.
4. Monfries Was Interested in Emerging Technologies
Although Sydney Monfries was majoring in journalism, she was doing so with a modern twist. “Fordham University senior studying Journalism with a focus in Digital Technology and Emerging Media,” she wrote on her LinkedIn page.
In high school, she was involved in the newspaper and in lacrosse. She first enrolled in Fordham in 2015. She was still working at InStyle Magazine, according to her LinkedIn page.
In the wake of the tragedy, one senior expressed concern that the tower’s doors weren’t always locked. “The doors aren’t always locked. They’re unlocked at night when they’re cleaning. They are always doing some kind of cleaning or renovation,” she claimed.
5. A Student News Article Once Asked Whether Entering the Tower Was ‘Worth the Risk’
The clock tower at Fordham is iconic and the stuff of legends on campus. In 2013, The Fordham Ram newspaper ran a story headlined, “Truths of a Forbidden Tower Revealed.”
The article said the tower is normally locked but that periodically its door could be found slightly ajar. It asked, “Do you enter? Is it worth the risk? This air of mystery surrounding the access to Keating Hall’s clock tower is part of what makes it so alluring for students.”
Student Patrick Burke told the newspaper at the time that the aura of forbidden fruit is what draws students to the tower in the first place.
“I think a large part of the reason people want to do this so badly is that the school doesn’t allow it,” he told Fordham Ram. “I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve heard rumors that if you’re caught going up to the tower, you’re expelled. The thrill of danger is definitely a huge allure to going up. I would say the other two reasons for going up are the amazing view of the entire campus from up there and the ability to brag about doing it.”