McNair Scholars Program

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at Our Lady of the Lake University is a federally funded TRIO program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The program was established in memory of astronaut-physicist and Challenger crew member Dr. Ronald E. McNair, who passed away in the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle explosion. After his death, members of Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, which is dedicated to the high standard of achievement that Dr. McNair represented.

The overall goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to provide encouragement and services to limited-income and first generation college students, while also increasing the participation from underrepresented minority groups pursuing doctoral study by providing enriching experiences, support and guidance to program participants.

About Dr. Ronald E. McNair

Dr. Ronald E. McNair was the second African American astronaut to travel to space. He came from a low income family in South Carolina. He graduated with a degree in physics magna cum laude from North Carolina A&T University in 1971. He was also the recipient of honorary doctorate of science degrees from Morris College and the University of South Carolina. McNair was a mission specialist on the successful Challenger flight that took place on Feb. 3, 1984. He passed away in the Challenger explosion on Jan. 28, 1986. He was 35.

Dr. McNair was the first in his family to graduate from college as well as earn a PhD. His academic and subsequent career successes, dimmed only by his untimely death, serve as a beacon to the current generation of college students who, for many reasons, feel that a graduate education, and particularly a doctoral degree, is inaccessible.