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Founder of McNair Foundation Visits Bloomfield College, Meets McNair Scholars

mcnair scholars at bloomfield college

By Alicia Cook

On October 21, Bloomfield College held its 2nd McNair Research Symposium in the Shelby Art Room.  Seven McNair Scholars presented posters of their findings to members of the Bloomfield College community and their peers.

October 21 also marked the 66th birthday of the Program’s namesake, Dr. Ronald E. McNair, the second African-American astronaut to fly into space who tragically lost his life on January 28, 1986 when the Challenger space shuttle exploded.

In honor of the occasion, the College welcomed to campus Carl McNair, Ronald’s brother, Founder and CEO of McNair Achievement Programs, LLC, and Founder of the Dr. Ronald E. McNair Foundation.

The McNair Scholars Program, also known as the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program has been a part of Bloomfield College for seven years.

The program helps to place students in undergraduate research summer programs, with students being expected to present their findings at conferences nationwide. The program also assists students with graduate record exams preparation and applications to graduate school. The overall mission of the McNair project is for its participants to complete doctoral degrees and serve as professors to help diversify the academy.

As McNair Scholars presented their research, McNair greeted and got to know the students.

Following, many attended McNair’s presentation in the Library Screening Room where he told the Scholars and their guests that nothing honors his brother and family more than to see the McNair Scholars achieve.

“This [Challenger] was going to be Ronald’s last mission, since he had accepted a professorship,” McNair explained. “We wanted to carry his legacy of scholarship forward by establishing the McNair Scholars Program. Bloomfield College truly represents the mission of the program.”

Since its inception in 1987, the McNair Scholars Program has graduated over 60,000 Scholars to-date and currently resides at 151 colleges nationwide, down from 201, as some institutions lost government funding for the Program. More than 600 McNair Scholars have gone on to earn doctoral degrees and thousands have earned masters and/or professional degrees.

“As you go through life, remember that you are Bloomfield College McNair Scholars and that makes you better than good enough,” he said, in closing, with a big smile.

The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

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