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UPenn Freshman Madison Holleran Commits Suicide Over School Workload

Philadelphia police say a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school, has committed suicide Friday by jumping from a parking garage roof in Center City.

Madison Holleran, 19, made dinner plans and sent messages to friends before jumping to her death around 7 p.m., said Bob Weckworth, a family friend.

"People talked to her within hours of her act of suicide and there were no red flags, warning signs, nothing," he told the New York Daily News from the family's Allendale, N.J. home Monday.

"This kid didn't have a boyfriend,” said Weckworth. “There were no drug issues. There were no mental health issues in her background. It was just the last 2-3 weeks where they saw a change in her. Something snapped.”

It was not immediately clear if investigators found any reason for her suicide.

Weckworth described the tragedy as “self-induced stress.”

“She got a 3.5 her first semester and I think just the high expectations that she put on herself was that that's just not acceptable,” he said.

Holleran was a different person when she came home over Christmas break, he said.

"She was not happy at Penn but the parents had told her then don't go back. We'll transfer. We’ll look at other schools. There’s no reason to go back, it's OK," Weckworth said. "She was a happy go lucky kid, just the life of the party, had so many friends and people who loved her and it's just unbelievable. You're trying to look for an answer but it's hard to find."

Steve Dolan, director of track and field at UPenn, said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with [Holleran's] family and friends. This is a challenging time for everyone involved with the program, but we will support each other in the weeks to come and help her teammates and friends find their own ways to honor her memory.”

Amy Guttman, president of UPenn, said in a statement on Jan. 18 that “the entire Penn community is deeply saddened by the death of Madison Holleran. She was bright and well-liked with an incredible future ahead of her. There are simply no words that can properly convey the sense of heartache that we all feel at such a tragic loss.”

Formal sorority recruitment will be postponed out of respect for Holleran, who was participating in the events, the school announced.

Holleran, who was a track and soccer star at Northern Highlands Regional High School, was a philosophy, politics and economics major at UPenn, reported.


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