Kendarius McGruder grew up in Sharon, Mississippi, where he developed a deep interest in the military at an early age.
“Growing up, I had a passion for serving,” remembers McGruder. “I wanted to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves.”
By the time he was 12, McGruder knew he wanted to someday serve in the United States Marine Corps. When he arrived at the University of Mississippi in 2014, he immediately started working toward that goal.
He joined the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) during his freshmen year and has been a member for his full tenure at the University. While in the NROTC, McGruder has served as First Sergeant, Drill Team Commander, Color Guard, and Conduct Officer.
McGruder has also integrated his interest in the U.S. Marine Corps into classroom work. He is currently a senior Criminal Justice major with an emphasis in homeland security and a minor in naval sciences.
McGruder will commission on December 9, 2017, and after earning his BA (also in December), he will serve in the U.S. Marine Corps. full time.
McGruder joined the Eta Beta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. during the spring semester of 2015. He says that he was drawn to the chapter because he saw in them a work ethic and community presence not unlike his own. “I saw the chapter doing stuff in the community when I first got to Ole Miss. I saw them taking care of each other and their fellow man. I could just see the brotherhood. I’m sure other organizations were doing that too, but I saw the Sigmas doing it the best, and that’s what I wanted to be a part of.”
Of the best characteristic of the chapter, McGruder notes, “I think the thing we do the best is try to be the best. We are constantly striving to be the best that we can be. That’s our Steph Curry 3-pointer: constantly striving for improvement.”
While in the fraternity, McGruder has served as Chapter President, First Vice President, Corresponding Secretary, and Historian. McGruder has also received numerous awards and honors at the state, regional, and national level. He is a two-time winner of the Phi Beta Sigma State of Mississippi GPA Award; he placed third in the State Oratorical Context; and he is a two-time winner of the Phi Beta Sigma National Scholarship.