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Meredith fondly remembered

Chad Meredith’s death has left the University of Miami in a state of shock and sadness.
“It’s not just a loss for me and my fraternity, it’s a loss for the school,” said sophomore Timothy Williamson about losing his best friend, Chad Meredith.
Meredith drowned while swimming in Lake Osceola on the University of Miami Coral Gables campus last Monday morning, a short three months after arriving at UM as a freshman from Indianapolis, Indiana.
“Chad had been very excited about coming to UM,” said Nikki Conn, a close friend of the Meredith family, his sister Kelly’s best friend for the last 13 years.
“Chad told his parents he wanted to come to the University of Miami because of its diversity. He was a fine student and athlete,” wrote President Shalala, in a statement she released the day Meredith drowned.
In Indianapolis, Meredith had been a top high school baseball athlete.
Meredith was also part of a very close-knit family, Conn said. He had two older twin-siblings.
“I just can’t believe that Kelly’s little brother isn’t here anymore,” Conn said.
“He was very close to Alexa, his six-year-old niece,” she said.
“She loves her uncle. They were very close. She missed him a lot. At night when she looks at the moon, she would say ‘That’s the same moon that my Uncle Chad is looking at,” Conn said.
Meredith’s closest friends at UM were his soon-to-be fraternity brothers of Kappa Sigma, however, he had made ripples throughout his residential college also.
“Chad was polite, sweet. He always asked how you were going, how classes were going. We all spoke to him at one point or another,” said freshman Amanda Hoyos, who lived two suites across from Meredith in Mahoney Residential College.
“He was always very popular in school,” Conn said.
From day one, Meredith exhibited all the qualities of a Kappa Sigma brother, said Travis Montgomery, fraternity president.
“He filled all the requirements for a Kappa Sig brother. We look for gentlemen-men of honor, men of courage,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery and Meredith became friendly when they realized they were from the same hometown.
“We had a lot to talk about. We even worked in the same country club back home,” Montgomery said.
Meredith was over at the Kappa Sigma house every night, Montgomery said. He knew every fraternity brother.
“He just had a personality that attracts people. He was everything I wanted in a friend. After 3 months we were already best friends,” Williamson said.
Alumni and fraternity brothers alike were impressed with Meredith’s compelling personality, Montgomery said.
The Kappa Sigma pledge group this semester was smaller than usual-9 pledges, Montgomery said and the alumni were not pleased at the small turn-out.
“The alumni were giving us heat about it. I told them that even though it was a small group, they were really quality guys,” Montgomery said.
“I chose to take Chad as the representative pledge to go to dinner with the alumni and afterwards one of them told me, ‘If the other pledges are half as good as this one, we’ll be fine,” Montgomery said.
“He bought into everything about Kappa Sig. Chad told me after the pledging ceremony, ‘I like hanging out, I like having fun, but I wanted something more and this is it,” Montgomery said.
“To be a Kappa Sig brother is to be a best friend throughout life. We wanted him badly to be a brother and would never have done anything intentionally to hurt him,” Montgomery said.
“He was a natural leader,” Williamson said. “The media has tried to make him out to be an easily-influenced weak, little kid. He was really strong-willed and had a good head on his shoulders,” Williamson said.
“You don’t make Chad do stuff. He was a wrestler and could beat us all up! It was just a stupid thing that four guys did,” Montgomery said, becoming somber.
Williamson and Montgomery said that Meredith was very excited about swimming in the late.
Freshman Nick Cooksley told Williamson that Meredith had said that before the end of freshman year he had to swim in the lake, Williamson said.
“We want him to be remembered as the bright, funny kid he was. He was light-hearted and really intelligent,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery, Williamson and Dave May, the other student who went with Meredith to swim in the lake that day have had plenty of good times with their friend to cherish.
“We went to the FSU game, we went up to UF. Chad was all about the road trips,” Montgomery said.
“His car got towed in Tallahassee and he didn’t even get mad. We just went and had fun trying to find it all around town.”
“He always wore that baseball cap,” Williamson said, smiling.

November 13, 2001

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.