McNair Scholars


The McNair Scholars Program, made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, supports undergraduate students’ scholarly activities throughout the academic year and summer.  Harding University has been funded at $230,000 annually and will serve 27 students per year.

The objective of the program is to provide academically enriching experiences and mentoring to prepare students for graduate school admission and eventual doctoral study.

Special Aspects of the Program

Workshops and Activities.  McNair Scholars will participate in workshops, seminars, classes, and other scholarly activities designed to enhance their academic abilities.  They will also complete a research course prior to a summer research internship. In addition, they will participate in activities designed to build personal skills that will facilitate their transition to graduate school.

Research and Mentorships.  Each McNair student will select a faculty mentor from the discipline in which he/she hopes to pursue graduate study and will receive a stipend after conducting research under the guidance of that mentor.  Students may also have the opportunity to attend professional conferences with their mentors, where they may meet distinguished scholars and learn more about their chosen fields.

Graduate School Admission Preparation
McNair Scholars will receive individual and group services to facilitate their successful entry into graduate school.  Included in this will be extensive Graduate Record Examination preparation and help with the graduate school application process.  Scholars will also receive financial aid counseling, career counseling, and personal counseling.

Letters of recommendation from faculty mentors and research experiences listed on the resumé will enhance the student’s standing in the competition for graduate school admission.

Many graduate schools waive application fees and offer special fellowships to McNair Scholars.

McNair the man

Ronald E. McNair, Ph.D.

Dr. Ronald E. McNair was America’s second black astronaut in space and one of seven crew members killed in the space shuttle Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986.

Ronald McNair graduated as valedictorian from Carver High School in Lake City, South Carolina, in 1967; graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in physics from North Carolina A & T State University in 1971; and received a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976, at the age of 26.

His academic and professional achievements are many.  He was a Presidential Scholar, Ford Foundation Fellow, National Fellowship Fund Fellow, and Omega Psi Phi Scholar of the year.  He was also the recipient of many honorary degrees and numerous commendations.

As the first in his family to graduate from college, his academic and career successes serve as a shining example to the current generation of college students who, for many reasons, may feel that graduate school and a doctoral degree are inaccessible.

To honor his lifetime of accomplishments, the U.S. Department of Education, with funding from Congress, established the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. This program is dedicated to instilling in college students the high standard of achievement represented by the life of Ronald E. McNair.

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Location: Student Center 219