Contact: Deborah Baness, 277-3096 or
Carolyn Gonzales 277-5920

Jan. 23, 2001


The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program at the University of New Mexico will commemorate the 15th anniversary of the death of Ronald E. McNair in the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster on Monday, Jan. 29, 2001 at 3 p.m. at the new Special Programs offices located at 1921 Las Lomas NE on the UNM campus.

The dedication of a tree and plaque honoring McNair will take place in front of the Special Programs offices with approximately 30 UNM McNair scholars in attendance.

The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program also celebrates both its first anniversary at UNM and its recent move. UNM President William C. Gordon and Provost Brian Foster are the scheduled guest speakers. UNM's McNair Scholars Program, within Special Programs, helps prepare undergraduate juniors and seniors who aspire to study at the graduate level. Applications from low income, first generation college students, or students underrepresented in graduate education are invited to submit an application by Sept.15.

Ronald Ervin McNair was the second African-American to fly in space. Although from a poor background, he worked hard and was valedictorian of his high school class. In 1971, he graduated magna-cum laude in physics from North Carolina
A & T State University. He was the first in his family to graduate from college. McNair received a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

His tragic death on Jan. 28, 1986 aboard the space shuttle Challenger was watched live on television by millions of viewers around the world. His hard work and dedication to education and service to his country inspired the federal government to create a program in his name to help others achieve their dreams of earning a Ph.D.

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The University of New Mexico
Public Affairs Department
Hodgin Hall, 2nd floor
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0011
Telephone: (505) 277-5813
Fax: (505) 277-1981