Drexel University student from Pittsburgh dies of suspected meningitis

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. —

A Pittsburgh woman attending Drexel University in Philadelphia was found dead inside her sorority house Monday.

Officials from the school said they are investigating Stephanie Ross’s death as a suspected case of meningitis. However, the coroner has not yet ruled on the official cause of death.

“While the cause of death has not yet been determined, the university is treating this as a suspected case of meningitis and (is) working closely with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to take all necessary precautions. Prophylactic antibiotics are being made available through the University's Student Health Center located at 3401 Market St. for those who were in close contact with Ross. The Drexel community's thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends. The university is in contact with her parents during this difficult time,” a university spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Public Heath said they’re giving antibiotics to anyone who came in close contact with Ross.

Ross, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, graduated from Upper St. Clair in 2012.

She was a national merit scholar, a volleyball player and volunteered extensively in the community.

The USC School District said it has counselors on hand for students.

“The death of Stephanie has deeply saddened our school community.  On behalf of the School District, I extend our sympathy to the family and friends of Stephanie,” Superintendent Patrick O’Toole said Tuesday. “Stephanie was an outstanding young woman who exemplified the values we have for students at Upper St. Clair in terms of academics, extra-curricular activities and community involvement.”

Faculty member Kevin Coffman taught Ross for three years, including her senior year, when she studied AP statistics.   

“Stephanie was the kind of student you will never forget.  She had such a passion for life. I never saw her without a smile on her face,” Coffman said.