This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program at NDSU. The brother of the program’s namesake is scheduled to visit campus to celebrate the milestone.
Carl McNair will provide campus with an inspirational and motivational message about his brother’s legacy, according to Anna Sheppard, director of the McNair Scholars program at NDSU. He is scheduled to hold a public presentation Wednesday, Feb. 5, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Century Theater.
Ronald McNair was resilient and passionate about education. He overcame an impoverished upbringing and a segregated educational system to earn a doctorate in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He became the second African-American in space while serving as a NASA mission specialist in 1984.
While Ronald McNair’s return to orbit ended tragically with his death aboard the Challenger Space Shuttle in January 1986, his legacy lives on in the scholarship program that carries his name. Established by Congress and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, it provides undergraduate research opportunities to first-generation, income-eligible and underrepresented students who are pursuing graduate education, a doctoral degree and a career where a doctorate is a prerequisite.
NDSU is one of the original 14 universities to host the program. Since the program’s inception, NDSU has served 287 scholars. Of them, 44 have earned a doctorate and 40 have earned a professional doctoral degree. In addition, 100 scholars have earned master’s degrees.
Carl McNair is an educator and consultant in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as STEM. He also is a technologist, NASA ambassador, author and advocate for the McNair Scholars program. While on campus, he will meet with 26 scholars.
NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.