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Bentley Student Succumbs to Bacterial Meningitis

October 7, 2007

On Monday morning, October 8, 2007, Erin Ortiz, an 18 year old first year student at Bentley College, died from bacterial meningitis at Westchester Medical Center in her home state of New York.

President Gloria Larson and Vice President of Student Affairs Kathleen Yorkis informed the Bentley community on Monday afternoon. "The Bentley College community extends its fullest sympathies to Erin's family, friends and loved ones. We have deep concern also for the health and safety of those close to Erin and our entire campus community. We are maintaining continuous contact with the Department of Public Health and following its guidance."

Ms. Ortiz was visiting her family in New Hampton, New York when she was hospitalized. Bentley Student Health Services received notification of her illness late Sunday afternoon, October 7th, from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).

Since bacterial meningitis is transmitted by contact with saliva, Bentley Student Health Services immediately began notifying those individuals who were identified as having close contact with Ms. Ortiz and providing prophylactic antibiotics to them.

The methods of contracting bacterial meningitis and symptoms have been communicated to the campus community and all are encouraged to seek health care immediately if they develop any symptoms.

According to Erin's father, Raymond Ortiz, it was her dream was to attend Bentley College. She was a member of the Bentley Investment Club and success at Bentley meant everything to her.

Vice President Yorkis told the Bentley community in an email message, "Erin had a wide circle of friends and was loved greatly. This loss affects all of us. In this time of grief, we can honor Erin's memory by reaching out to those around us and taking care of each other."

The college is also offering counseling and spiritual support for its community.

Meningococcal meningitis is a severe form of bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitides, which are bacteria that can cause illness in people of any age. The bacteria are spread through saliva during kissing, sharing of food, drinks or cigarettes or other close contact with infected people. People who have come in close contact with the saliva of a person with meningitis from this type of bacteria may have to get antibiotics (medicine) for protection. More information about meningitis is available at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health web site:, or by calling: 617-983-6800.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit

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