The McNair Program

The McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement program is named in honor of Dr. Ronald Erwin McNair, a renown laser physicist and astronaut. Dr. McNair's life was cut short due to a tragic accident aboard the USS Challenger space shuttle in January 1986. Dr. McNair graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1971 and received his Ph.D. at the age of 26 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976.

After his death, memebers of Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program to encourage ethnic minorities, women and other underrepresented groups to pursue graduate school opportunities, in particular doctoral studies. It is one of the five(5) federally funded TRIO programs which provide direct services to low-income and/or first generation college students. These programs are designed to help students overcome class, social, and cultural barriers to higher education.

During the academic year of 1989-90, the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program had its humble beginning with fourteen (14) projects. As of 1995-96, there are ninety-six (96) projects located in 39 of the 50 states (including the District of Columbia).

More information about the man behind the name