About the Program

Who was Dr. Ronald E. McNair?

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Ronald Ervin McNair was born October 21, 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina. In 1971, he went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in physics, magna cum laude, from North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro). In 1976, Dr. McNair received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following the attainment of his Ph.D., Dr. McNair was selected out of a pool of 10,000 applicants to train at NASA. In 1984 he went on to be the second African American to go up in space. Two years later on his second mission to space, Dr. McNair was one of seven crew members killed in the space shuttle Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986. Following the untimely death of Dr. Ronald E McNair, the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program was created in his honor by the US Department of Education in 1989. Inducted under the Federal TRIO Programs, the program now serves a mass number of low-income, first-generation and historically underrepresented students all across the country.