Message from Drexel President to University Community on Death of a Student
March 11, 2014
Dear Students, Faculty and Professional Staff:
I am deeply saddened to report that College of Engineering sophomore Stephanie Ross died yesterday at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center after being found unresponsive by her housemates in her room at the Phi Mu sorority house. The cause of her death has not been determined yet, but the University is treating this as a suspected case of meningitis until it is ruled out. We are taking all necessary precautions, including seeking out those who were in close contact with Stephanie to provide prophylactic antibiotics, and we are working closely with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
Meningitis is a rare bacterial infection usually transmitted through close personal contact—coughing, sharing drinks, kissing or sharing close proximity for an extended period—resulting in an exchange of respiratory or throat secretions. Symptoms may include high fever, headache and stiff neck developing over a period ranging from several hours to two days.
We are reaching out to anyone who may be at risk if Stephanie did in fact have meningitis. If you believe you were in close contact with her, or if you feel you may have symptoms, please call the Student Health Center immediately at 215.220.4700.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Stephanie’s family and friends. Dean of Students David Ruth and I are in close contact with her parents during this incredibly sad and difficult time. The death of a fellow student has a deep impact on a close-knit community like ours. The services of Drexel’s Counseling Center are available to any member of the community who may need it. The Counseling Center can be reached at 215.895.1415, or at 215.416.3337 outside of regular business hours. The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life is also offering services to those affected by this tragic event.
John A. Fry