Rae Ann Gruver is a sorority woman, wife and mother. She’s also an anti-hazing advocate. Rae Ann and her husband, Steve, became prominent anti-hazing advocates after the untimely death of their son, Max in 2017.
Max was a freshman at Louisiana State University where he was majoring in political journalism. Those who knew Max say he was a generous man who loved his friends and family. After Max’s passing, Rae Ann and Steve were empowered by words their son wrote in his journal, “God works in funny ways. He does bad things sometimes because, in the end, they are good. Something bad may happen to you, but it may happen because it will make you better. He does bad to ultimately create good.” Those words gave Max’s parents the strength to start the Max Gruver Foundation aimed at putting an end to hazing-related deaths.
Furthering their effort, Rae Ann and her husband joined other parents who lost their sons to hazing, the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) and the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) in a partnership in 2018. Together, they focus on strengthening state hazing laws and significantly expanding education and training for high school and college-aged students. While the partnership is still relatively new they have already worked with lawmakers in several states to have conversations about and introduce anti-hazing legislation. They have also begun traveling to college campuses and member organization meetings to share the stories of their sons and how hazing can be eradicated.
Rae Ann spoke at NPC’s annual College Panhellenic Academy in 2019. She shared Max’s story and stressed the importance of hazing prevention. She encouraged the women attending to care for one another and said, “No organization you are in is more important than someone else’s life.”
Rae Ann is a member of Alpha Delta Pi giving her the opportunity to know the profound impact the fraternal experience can have on members. After Max’s passing her sisters were there to support her. In a continuation of that support, Alpha Delta Pi announced a partnership with Steve and Rae Ann and the Max Gruver Foundation. Members of Alpha Delta Pi now support this organization that strives to eradicate hazing in all organizations.
NPC and its member organizations are committed to end hazing by encouraging legislation, implementing education and providing resources. Hazing is something to take very seriously. No member of a sorority should be hazed at anytime. The legislation Rae Ann and Steve are working to implement would be a large step toward protecting members and ending hazing once and for all. With the support of sorority women, we can support their work and end hazing once and for all.