The death of College senior Tom Hartford has been ruled an accident, Vice President for University Communications Stephen MacCarthy said in an email.
Following an incident at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house on Jan. 10, Hartford was taken off life support early Wednesday morning after being in a coma for two weeks. Hartford’s father, also named Tom Hartford, said a doctor told him that his son’s injuries may have been from a fall of approximately 15 to 20 feet.
“Anytime there is a serious injury or death on campus, there is an investigation,” MacCarthy said. “That occurred following this incident and it was determined to be an accident.”
University Communications declined any further comment on the issue.
Hartford took time off from Penn during the 2011-2012 academic year and worked at a bank during that time, multiple sources confirmed.
Students viewed Hartford as friendly and upbeat.
“He was a really charismatic guy and a really positive person,” said Nursing junior Caitlyn Battaglia, who knew Hartford for three years. “He definitely brightened every room.”
While students reacting to the news were deeply saddened by Hartford’s death, many expressed gratitude for the time they spent with him.
“He really put you at ease when you spoke to him,” Wharton senior Danielle Fiorino said. “He was really easy to talk to.”
Although Hartford spent time away from Penn, Hartford’s cousin and 2003 Wharton and Engineering graduate David DeRemer said he was always dedicated to his school.
“He loved Penn,” DeRemer said. “I gave him a Penn T-shirt when he was 11 or 12.”
A viewing will be held today at Clark Funeral Home in Stroudsburg, Pa. Funeral services will take place at Reeders United Methodist Church on Saturday.
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