Ronald E. McNair was the unlikeliest of heroes. As an African-American growing up in rural Lake City, S.C., in the 1950s and '60s, nothing was simply handed to him - quite the opposite. In fact, he needed an undeniable resolve just to gain access to the local library.
As a young man, Ron exhibited courage and tenacity, as well as a love of learning that would take him far beyond the limits of his environment. After earning a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he was selected by NASA as the first black civilian astronaut.
Although McNair's inspiring career was cut short in the Challenger space shuttle tragedy in 1986, his legacy continues in many ways, including at the University of South Carolina's McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research.
Today, we recruit scientists like Ron: sharp minds who push boundaries. Their work will help transform South Carolina into a national hub for the aerospace industry. Our goal is to make dreams like the one he had come true.
At the McNAIR Center, our innovation has No Limits.
Ron McNair speaks at 1984 commencement