Ronald E. McNair was born October 21, 1950, in Lake City, South Carolina. He attended North Carolina A & T State University and
graduated Magna Cum Laude. He earned his Ph.D. and soon became recognized as an expert in laser physics. In 1986, the U.S. Congress provided funding for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program in recognition of McNair, who lost his life in the Space Shuttle Challenger accident in January of that year.
There are several universities that offer McNair Programs across the country. Each program honors his memory and his dedication to the pursuit of scientific knowledge and personal excellence.