Prior to entering college, Drake McGruder looked for certain criteria when considering which school he would attend. Ultimately, a strong family connection, a chance to feel independent, a school within driving distance of home and a love for the Razorbacks all helped him to select the University of Arkansas as his school of choice.
While working towards his Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Engineering, McGruder met his wife, Kelly, formed friendships and established connections with faculty and alumni. Dr. Charles Robinson became an influential figure for McGruder, both inside and outside the classroom. “I first met Dr. Robinson in a history class during my sophomore year. While his class was not the easiest I took in college, he made learning fun and was always willing to help.” He learned that they shared a love for working out and soon found his professor not only encouraging him in the classroom, but in the weight room as well.
During this time, McGruder also became involved in numerous clubs and organizations, including serving as Vice President of Outreach Programs for Student Alumni Board, a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity and a participant on the Judicial Board. The experience he gained helped him to become “a better creative decision-maker, a better leader and to not be anything but the best I can be.”
One of his fondest memories is when Elizabeth Underwood, Associate Director with the Arkansas Alumni Association, asked him to accompany former Chancellor John White, his wife, herself and other Alumni staff members on the University plane and fly to Memphis to listen to the Chancellor speak about the Campaign for the 21st Century. “The experience of flying aboard the University plane, getting to meet and talk with the Chancellor of the University and being selected as a representative of the students at the U of A is one I will never forget,” he said.
McGruders’s involvement with the University of Arkansas did not stop when he graduated in 2006. He now serves on the Young Alumni Board of the Arkansas Alumni Association and provides “insight and my opinion on how the Alumni Association can better serve young/recent alumni.” Being a Recent Grad member of the Alumni Association has allowed him to “stay connected” and “give back to the University of Arkansas,” he said. He has also served on the Department of Biological Engineering Advisory Board. McGruder is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Engineering at the University of Arkansas, while working as a Process Engineer/Spoilage Coordinator at Georgia-Pacific, in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Although he stays busy with work, school and organizational involvement, he continues his efforts to attend as many Razorback sporting events as possible. After all, it allows him to show his support for just one of the things that initially drew him to the University of Arkansas—his love for the Razorbacks.