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 magna cum laude in Physics from North Carolina A&T University in 1971 and received his PhD in Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976 at the age of 26. He was also the recipient of honorary doctorate of science degrees from Morris College and the University of South Carolina.
He was a mission specialist on the successful February 3, 1984, Challenger flight. He died in a space shuttle accident on January 28, 1986, at the age of 35.
Dr. McNair was the first in his family to graduate from college, as well as to 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, may feel that graduate education, and particularly, the doctoral degree, are inaccessible.
Last updated: October 25, 2016 1:25 pm EST