Texas A&M University-Kingsville


Ronald McNair Scholars Program

Ronald McNair Scholars

Dr. Ronald E. McNair was born on October 21, 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina. He graduated as valedictorian from Carver High School in 1967. In 1971 he received his bachelor's degree magna cum laude in physics from North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro). He received his Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976.

Dr. Ronald E. McNair was nationally recognized for his work in the field of laser physics and was the recipient of many honorary degrees, fellowships and commendations. He was an accomplished saxophonist and a sixth degree black belt in karate. He was married to Cheryl Moore and had two children, Reginald Ervin and Joy Cheray.

He was selected for the astronaut program in 1978 and was the second African-American astronaut to travel in space. He logged a total of 191 hours in space as a mission specialist. On January 28, 1986, Dr. McNair along with six other astronauts died in a fiery explosion aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

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This page was last updated on: March 10, 2014