Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 28, 2022

Campus book drive honors alumna Anne Smedinghoff


This past Saturday and Sunday, students and alumni joined together to host a book drive in front of the MSE Library in memory of Hopkins alumna Anne Smedinghoff. The book drive was accompanied by a memorial service held Saturday morning at Hodson Hall.

Smedinghoff, who graduated from Hopkins in 2009, was killed this past April in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan while delivering donated textbooks to Afghan students. Her death marked the first death of a U.S. diplomat after the Benghazi attacks and garnered international media attention.

Touched by the tragic loss of the Hopkins alumna, senior Phillips Mitchell reached out to Sasha Niemeyer, an alumna from the class of 2009 who was friends and classmates with Smedinghoff. Together they organized a book drive that was worked by over twenty students and four alumni over two days.

“I believe [the book drive] is important because it demonstrates our support of alumni who support us and our presence on campus.  They enable Hopkins to be such a great place through their success and I think this is a great way to show our appreciation,” Mitchell said.

The drive collected a variety of books that will be donated to Baltimore Reads, a local nonprofit that collects books for Baltimore children in need.  Baltimore Reads has decided to dedicate its annual Books for Kids event to Smedinghoff and is working to create a program in her memory to deliver age appropriate books to second graders throughout the Baltimore school district as a way to commemorate and carry on her commitment to literacy.

“As a freshman who never had the pleasure of meeting Anne, I was stunned by the volume of book donors. They didn’t donate because they had old books lying around —they did it in her honor, and I think that says a lot about her character,” freshmen Georgie Koepke, who worked at the book drive, wrote in an e-mail to The News-Letter. “Her story is tragic. But I think by hosting a book drive, Johns Hopkins was embracing her spirit in the best way physically possible.”

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