Center for Access & Attainment > TRIO McNair > Program Details
Ronald E. McNair, an African-American engineer, scientist and astronaut, was born on October 12, 1950, in Lake City, S.C. He attended North Carolina A&T State University where he graduated magna cum laude with a BS degree in physics in 1971. McNair then enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1976, at the age of 26, he earned his PhD in physics.
McNair soon became a recognized expert in laser physics while working as a staff physicist with Hughes Research Laboratory. He was selected by NASA for the space shuttle program in 1978 and became the second African-American in space between February 3-11, 1984; on his second shuttle flight, he served as mission specialist aboard the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger mission. McNair received three honorary doctorate degrees and many fellowships and commendations.
After his death in the USS Challenger Space Shuttle accident on January 28, 1986, members of Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, under the umbrella of Title IV TRIO Programs, to encourage minority, low-income and first-generation college students to expand their educational opportunities and pursue graduate studies.
For more information, contact:
McNair Scholars ProgramSchmitt Academic Center, Suite 1662320 N. Kenmore Ave.Chicago, IL 60614(773) 325-4743 | firstname.lastname@example.org