Drew Smith didn’t expect to become a fraternity brother in the hospital.
Members of UF’s chapter of Theta Chi surprised the 20-year-old history sophomore at Shands at UF Wednesday night with a personal initiation ceremony.
Smith was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia during his senior year of high school. But even after beating cancer in July 2011, his immune system is still weak. He checked into the hospital Tuesday night for stomach pain.
Smith transferred to UF in January and got a bid from Theta Chi. He worked his way up to the title of pledge class president.
“They have good things coming in the next couple of years, and I want to be a part of that,” Smith said.
Finance senior Travis Johnson, 21, said he chose Smith to be his little brother because he saw Smith’s potential and strength. When he learned Smith might not be released in time for the initiation ceremony, Johnson coordinated the surprise with Smith’s mother.
Nine brothers dressed in black blazers and red ties to initiate Smith as the first brother of his pledge class — from his hospital bed.
“Everyone in the brotherhood felt he deserved it,” Johnson said.
Smith plans to leave the hospital today. He’s looking forward to attending the fraternity’s formal this weekend.
“I worked way too hard this semester to not go,” he said.