Freshman dies Wednesday night

Freshman Melissa Ribeiro, a new member of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority passed away on Wednesday night at a local hospital from a recent illness.

No further information, including the exact cause of death, has been released yet.

According to her Facebook page, Ribeiro attended Montgomery High School in Skillman, N.J. She was studying at UM’s School of Business and lived in Hecht Residential College.

President Donna E. Shalala released a statement to express sentiments regarding Ribeiro’s death.

“The University of Miami community mourns the death of Melissa Ribeiro after a short illness,” Shalala said. “… She was sensitive, caring, talented, and had a passion for those treated unjustly. Our thoughts and prayers are with Melissa’s family and friends.”

According to Shalala’s statement, Ribeiro was recently inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society for freshmen.

Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs, sent a letter to students on Thursday afternoon to address concerns.

“There have been several inquiries relating to whether there is a public health risk,” Whitely wrote. “The Department of Health and the UM Student Health Service have determined that there is no evidence of such a risk, and no other students are presenting with a similar condition.”

Whitely also expressed her sentiments about the student’s passing.

“She was giving and passionate about life,” Whitely wrote. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Melissa’s family and friends.”

UM is putting together a candlelight vigil to honor Ribeiro at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the UC Patio.

University chaplains and the Counseling Center staff are available to students. For more information, visit, or contact the Counseling Center at 305-284-5511. The Student Health Center is also available at 305-284-9100 or through email at 


Check for more updates, including coverage of Friday evening’s vigil at the UC Patio.