Three photos of James Joseph Hahn

James Joseph Hahn 5K Honors Memory of UD Student

April 19, 2024 Written by Jessica Downey | Photos provided by Parker Milton

On Sunday, April 28, students and the surrounding community are invited to participate in the James Joseph Hahn Memorial 5K which honors the memory of its namesake UD student. 

Hahn was a 21-year-old finance major who had just completed his sophomore year at UD when he died unexpectedly on June 15, 2023. His brothers in Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity have organized this event to celebrate Hahn.

Senior sport management major Eli Cartwright said he was friends with Hahn for more than a decade, but their connection dated back even further.

“James has been one of my best friends since we were roughly 10 years old,” said Cartwright. “We met through youth baseball and other mutual friends. During that time, we found out we had the same birthday and were born in the same hospital, by the same doctor. Since that moment, we had an everlasting bond.”

Baseball was a theme in Hahn’s life. At an early age, he competed in the Piedmont Cal Ripkin League and travel teams and at 12 years old, Hahn traveled to Cooperstown, NY to play in the Field of Dreams tournament. He played left fielder at Delaware Military Academy, where he competed in state tournaments during his sophomore and junior years of high school. 

In fall 2020, Hahn deferred his college admission to pursue training in the Delaware National Guard, where he completed training stints in Oklahoma and Missouri. During the summers, Hahn was a lifeguard for Rehoboth and North Shores beach patrols. 

Cartwright noted a few things he wants people to know about Hahn, including his love of music and Philadelphia sports, and the impact he had on others. 

“For those who never got the chance to meet James, he was always the light in the room,” said Cartwright. “He always had a smile on his face, one of the most contagious laughs and was always there for others when they needed it. Some of the best memories I was able to share with James were the times we kicked back in my apartment with our other close friends, listening to music and watching Phillies games together.”

Cartwright said the choice to organize a 5K came from recognizing Hahn’s passions and the best way to bring people together. 

“James was passionate about life and the things that brought him joy, and music was a big part of that,” said Cartwight. “In his memory, we wanted to bring joy to other young people by giving them the means to pursue their passions. We felt that a 5K was a way that people of all ages and backgrounds would be able to participate in and we knew that we could get the University students and the rest of Greek life involved to raise money and awareness for such a good cause.”

The James Joseph Hahn Memorial 5K benefits the Anthony Penna Charitable Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps students offset the costs and fees associated with participation in band, choir and theatre, as well as giving grants to Delaware schools.

“After speaking with James’ family, we chose the Anthony Penna Charitable Fund to become our charitable sponsor due to James’ immense passion for music,” said Cartwright. “The Anthony Penna Charitable Fund inspires a lifelong passion for the performing arts by supporting students involved in band, choir, and theatre programs within our local community. This was a perfect match for our charitable partner and all proceeds will go toward this fund.”

To honor Hahn’s memory and help raise funds for a good cause, students, friends and family are invited to sign up for the 5K on Sunday, April 28 for $30; runners under 21 pay $25. The race starts at 9 a.m. at Deer Park Tavern, swings past Devon Park and loops from the UD School of Music back to the starting line. Participants will receive a t-shirt and can enjoy snacks at a post-race celebration at Deer Park.

If you’re unable to attend the race, you can still donate to the cause. Follow @jamesjhahn5k on Instagram for updates.

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