UMass student, Sydney Jacoby, dies after fall

University of Massachusetts student Sydne Jacoby died on Nov. 19 from injuries resulting from a fall she had while she was walking with friends on Fearing Street on Nov. 16.

Jacoby, 19, was a sophomore psychology major at the University. According to her mother, Nadine Jacoby, she was about to declare a minor in education.

“UMass was her favorite place,” said Nadine Jacoby in a phone interview.

Jacoby – who was from Oceanside, N.Y. – always knew that she wanted to try “something different,” when she went to college, according to her roommate of two years, Alison Lynch, who said she was with her the night she fell.

“She applied to like 20 places, but she knew UMass was where she wanted to be,” said Lynch in an interview over Facebook.

The two met at New Students Orientation and quickly became friends, choosing to room together at the beginning of that school year, Lynch said.

“She was someone who made you happier just by being around her,” Lynch said. “She made my entire experience at UMass so much more comfortable because if I ever needed anyone to do anything she was always there and willing.”

Since Jacoby was from New York and Lynch was from Massachusetts, the two would occasionally bicker good-naturedly about if New York or Massachusetts sports teams were better, or about the proper pronunciation of words such as “aunt vs. ant,” but they never had a real fight.

“Our only argument was one time (about) who had to take out the trash,” Lynch said. “Everyone gets along with her. She’s impossible to dislike.”

At UMass, Jacoby was “very involved” in Autism Speaks, an autism science and advocacy organization, according to her mother. She also played on the club tennis team, and had recently applied for an internship in Sydney, Australia.

“I think it struck her with the whole Sydney, Australia, being that Sydne was her first name,” said Nadine Jacoby.

Jacoby hoped to one day to become a psychologist and to possibly work in a school with children.

Before attending UMass, Jacoby was an honors student at Oceanside High School, where she played tennis and softball.

The softball team, which was described in the Long Island Herald as being like “a family,” is trying to raise funds to install a plaque in Jacoby’s honor at the field. They are currently selling memory bracelets in her honor.

“By placing a plaque on the field, her presence will always be there to cheer on each girl as they get up to the batter’s box or as they make a catch. Her loud cheers and smile will always have a special place in all our hearts,” Angela Giuliani, who was a friend of Jacoby and captain of the softball team, told the Herald.

Jacoby was walking down Fearing Street on Nov. 16 when she tripped, hitting her head on the concrete, according to the Herald. According to Lynch, she had been on her way back to her dorm in John Quincy Adams Hall.

“Hearing her head hit the pavement was the worst noise I’ve ever heard,” said Lynch. “It was easily the worst weekend of my life.”

Amherst Police officers and an Amherst Fire Department ambulance responded to the call at 11:43 p.m., according to Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson. Jacoby was picked up near 73 Fearing St. and transported to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.

Nelson told the Daily Hampshire Gazette that Jacoby was drinking before the incident, but it is unclear if the alcohol influenced her fall.

“How much alcohol played a factor in that, we’re not sure,” Nelson told the Gazette.

At Baystate Medical Center, Jacoby reportedly slipped into a coma. She died three days later of cardiac arrest, according to the Herald.

The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office issued a statement saying that no foul play was involved.

More than 500 people attended her funeral, which was held on Nov. 21, according to the Herald.

Along with her mother, Jacoby is survived by her father, Dean, and her younger brother, Joshua, according to the Herald.

“Our thoughts and prayers go to the family,” said University spokesman Ed Blaguszewski.

No campus wide notifications were sent out in order to respect the family’s wish for privacy, according to Blaguszewski.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Baystate Medical Trauma Center, the Herald reported.

“We’ve all been saying she was an angel on earth,” said Lynch. “Now, she’s truly an angel above.”

Mary Reines contributed to this report. Katie Landeck can be reached at


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