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TRIO McNair Scholars Program

Dr. Ronald E. McNair Bio

Dr. Ronald E. McNair

  • Born October 21, 1950 in Lake City, SC
  • Attended North Carolina A&T University
  • Graduated magna cum laude with a B.S.  in Physics in 1971
  • Earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976
  • Presidential Scholar
  • Ford Foundation Fellow
  • National Fellowship Fund Fellow
  • Omega Psi Phi Scholar of the Year
  • Friend of Freedom Award
  • Distinguished National Scientist by the National Society of Black Professional Engineers
  • Nationally recognized for his work in the field of laser physics
  • One of 35 applicants selected from 10,000 for NASA’s space shuttle program
  • Assigned as a mission specialist aboard the 1984 flight of the shuttle Challenger
  • Orbited the earth 122 times aboard Challenger
  • Second African American to fly in space
  • Sixth degree black belt in karate
  • Accomplished jazz saxophonist
  • Married with two children

On the morning of January 28, 1986, Ronald E. McNair lost his life along with his six crew members when the space shuttle Challenger exploded during its ascent to space.