Sydney Monfries’ family hoped to cheer at their 22-year-old daughter’s graduation from Fordham University next month, as they celebrated her first steps into her future.
Instead, they’re “heartbroken” and still “trying to process” Monfries tragic death after she plunged from the iconic Bronx campus clock over the weekend, a family friend said Monday.
“Fortunately they were able to spend her last moments with her,” said David Barfield, speaking on behalf of her parents, Susan and Wayne Monfries, in an interview with WABC-TV.
“I was just with Susan and she said, ‘I lost my best friend.’ And they are heartbroken. It’s the hardest thing I ever had to witness,” he said.
Monfries was walking up the stairs inside the Keating Hall tower with a group of fellow seniors at about 3:15 a.m. Sunday, when she tripped on a landing and fell 40 feet through an opening in the stairs, police said.
Medics rushed her to St. Barnabas Hospital with serious head trauma. Fordham President Joseph McShane announced her death Sunday night.
The Gothic-style clock tower is normally locked, though police sources said students often sneak in and climb to the top for a better view of campus.
The school will not take disciplinary action against any of the students climbing the tower with Monfries Sunday, Fordham spokeswoman Gina Vergel said.
Monfries was studying journalism and interning in the photo department at InStyle magazine, according to her LinkedIn profile.
“Susan told me, when she came to school, she didn’t have one group, she had three or four groups of people, and she loved them, and they loved her just as much,’ Barfield told WABC-TV.
He described Monfries as devoted to her parents and her sister.
“She was daddy’s little girl. And one of the things that Wayne celebrated every year was the father-daughter dance.”
Fordham is making counseling and ministry services available to Monfries’ classmates after her death.