Huy Huynh is one of the 20 Founding Charters of the Sigma Chapter at the University of Florida. Throughout his undergraduate years, he held leadership positions within and outside of his chapter- ranging from being President of Sigma Chapter to gaining membership into prestigious organizations, such as the leadership honorary Florida Blue Key and Florida Cicerones. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Human Nutrition, he pursued a Master’s in Food Science, and then got accepted into the University of Florida College of Dentistry. After he graduated as a Doctor of Dental Medicine, he began working in Orlando, Florida for 2 years before he was diagnosed with a very rare form of brain cancer. He is one of the most influential brothers of his chapter and continues to be a role model for all of our brothers.
From Asian American Greek Interest Group (AAGIG) to Pi Delta Psi
Coming from a small town in Winter Haven, Florida, where the Asian demographic is slim, Huy felt a sense of opening himself to the world as he stepped foot on campus. Graduating from a high school of 32 students and going to a university of over 50,000 students was a big change. So, he chose to embrace the future and became involved within the Asian American Student Union (AASU) at the University of Florida.
One day, he was approached by early members of AAGIG and was asked if he wanted to join. At first, he refused after much persistence. Then, in his fall semester of his 2nd year, Huy was offered a free t-shirt by one of the members of AAGIG before standing on stage next to the men who would later become his pledge brothers. AAGIG was officially introduced on campus.
Under the guidance of Brother Hubert “Optimus” Ho from the Mu Chapter at the Ohio State University, Huy and members of AAGIG became heavily involved with the Asian American community on campus. And, because of the lack of Asian American representation in the community, Huy found a purpose to stay committed to AAGIG. After years of dedication to promoting cultural awareness, Huy, along with 19 gentlemen, became the newest addition to Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Incorporated at the University of Florida. During his years as an active brother, he became President and Step Master of his chapter from 2004 to 2006. His presidency created opportunities to build relations with other Greek and non-Greek organizations on campus, as well as promote philanthropic and cultural awareness events, which set an impressive image for his chapter.
After Pi Delta Psi
Not only was Huy an exemplary leader of Pi Delta Psi, he was an exemplary leader in the field of dentistry as well. During his high school and early college years, Huy worked for Walt Disney World at Space Mountain. Though the fantasy job was fun at the time, Huy was taught a great lesson of personal interaction and care. As he continued college, his interests guided him to pursue a career as a general dentist at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, where he graduated as a Doctor of Dental Medicine in 2013.
On June 9, 2015, two years after he started establishing himself in his career, Huy was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer. He underwent surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to fight against the cancer. But, 3 months later, the cancer metastasized and spread to other parts of his brain and spinal cord. As a result, he had to stop working as the illness would affect his vision and motor skills. Having to halt his career and feeling defeated by the tumors, he went through a period of loneliness, anger, and depression. To him, he felt he went “0 steps forward and 100 steps back”.
After 2 months, he regained his mentality with the support of his family and friends, realizing that he was never alone in his battle with cancer. He accepted the challenges at hand, but he did not accept losing to it. Each day he wakes up, he tells himself that it’s a success because he was able to stand up, put his feet on the ground, and walk out the front door. Despite the disabilities, he has made the choice to push forward, and accept that fact that even there may be one step backward, there will be progression with 10 steps forward. To Huy, he is now fighting back.