Death of U of A freshmen, Hannah Pham

Freshman Hannah Pham is remembered by family and friends.

This past October the University of Arkansas lost one of their freshmen. Hannah Mai-Huyen Pham from Shreveport, LA died at age 18 on Oct. 26. Hannah Pham started at University of Arkansas this past semester as a nursing major and was currently in the process of pledging to Phi Mu sorority.

Many of Hannah’s family and friends lovingly remember her as an inspiration and a friend to all. Her obituary describes her as ‘vibrant, witty, confident, friendly, and inspirational.’ Hannah’s friends told KSLA News 12 that Hannah was ‘incredible’ and that ‘you could always count on Hannah for a smile.’ Hannah’s friends emphasized that despite being disabled since age five from a neurological disorder, Hannah didn’t let anything stop her.

A family friend Holly Wall fondly recalled how brave Hannah was for leaving her hometown and going to Arkansas for college. Holly Wall also organized a GoFundMe as support for Hannah’s family. All the comments on the GofundMe have a similar sentiment to Holly’s: that Hannah was a beautiful and bright person who died too soon. Hannah leaves behind her parents and sister, and a tangible legacy of kindness, donating her organs after her passing. A touching video of Hannah’s honor walk before the surgery to gather her organs can be found on a GoFundMe that is accepting donations to help Hannah’s family.

Hannah is also remembered by her former high school, Loyola Prep, who released a statement that they are “devastated by the loss…of Hannah Pham,” and that Hannah “was a light that shined brightly everyday at Loyola.” Hannah’s funeral was Nov. 5 at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, the church associated with her former elementary school in Shreveport.

Multiple news sources report different causes of Hannah’s death: 40/29 News reports she aspirated after vomiting, while her obituary in the Shreveport times states that she passed away surrounded by family and friends. KSLA News 12 says Hannah’s family and friends are awaiting the official coroner’s report for her exact cause of death. The University of Arkansas has expressed support for campus members during this time, but nowhere on the official University of Arkansas website or social media pages is a mention of Hannah or her passing. The Phi Mu sorority where Hannah was pledging likewise has no mention of Hannah on any of their pages, something that has been noticed by the followers of Phi Mu on Facebook. Only one University of Arkansas organization mentions Hannah, and that is the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Parents Facebook Page, which shared ways to support Hannah’s family.

The loss of Hannah Pham is an utterly tragic one that has been felt keenly by many of those both inside and outside the University of Arkansas and Fayetteville community. The death of someone our age is scary and upsetting. If you need help processing the loss of a loved one be sure to reach out to CAPS at Holmes Student Center in Hardesty Hall or by emailing

Post Author: Mary Lickona