N.C. A&T to Honor and Celebrate Late Astronaut, Physicist and Alumnus Ronald McNair

By Staff / 01/24/2024 Student Affairs, Alumni

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Jan. 24, 2024) – Former astronaut, trailblazing physicist and alumnus Ronald E. McNair ’71, Ph.D., will be honored and celebrated by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University during the 14th Annual Research Symposium, Saturday, Jan. 27, through Monday, Jan. 29, and the 38th Commemorative Luncheon on Monday, Jan. 29.

This year’s celebration, themed “Honoring the Life and Legacy of Dr. Ronald E. McNair: Precision, Performance and Exploration,” acknowledges the trailblazing, ingenious and fearless mentality McNair possessed and encouraged.   

Reinstated this year following a hiatus, the research symposium will provide a platform for undergraduate and graduate students to present their research through posters and oral presentations.

Additionally, the symposium will feature a graduate fair with more than 20 guest universities; and a graduate school panel discussion focusing on preparing for, identifying and applying for graduate school.

The commemorative luncheon, traditionally held Jan. 28, will be Monday in the Student Center’s Deese Ballroom on campus. The event will include remarks and presentations by university administrators, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughn, A&T McNair Scholars, members of Omega Psi Phi – McNair’s beloved fraternity – and recorded messages from his loved ones, including his wife and others. Many will elaborate on the inspiration and impact of McNair on their lives.

Prior to this event, attendees are invited to review the historic Ronald E. McNair Exhibit Tour of artifacts from McNair’s undergraduate experience.

The guest speaker will be Diamond Mangrum ’20, a former Miss North Carolina A&T State University and biomedical engineering doctoral student studying at the University of Southern California-Los Angeles. With the goal of becoming an astronaut, Mangrum has participated in coveted internships at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Langley Research Center.

McNair graduated from A&T with a B.S. in physics and went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his Ph.D. in physics five years later.

One of the first African American astronauts, McNair, was selected as a mission specialist astronaut for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program in 1978. He was aboard the Challenger for his second mission Jan. 28, 1986, when it experienced catastrophic malfunctions upon takeoff, killing all seven crew members.



Media Contact Information: uncomm@ncat.edu

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