Dr. Robert E. McNair Memorial, Greensboro
A bronze bust of Dr. Ronald E. McNair wearing a NASA jumpsuit rests atop a rectangular granite column on a single base. A bronze tablet with the inscription is on the column front. Shrubbery has been planted around the memorial which stands alone in a large lawn area.
Images: Bronze bust | Front view | Bronze plaque | Memorial in front of the McNair Hall (School of Engineering) on the campus of N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, NC | Far-off view of the landscape
DEDICATED / IN / MEMORY / OF / DR. RONALD E. MCNAIR / 1950 – 1986 / ASTRONAUT / SCIENTIST / HUMANITARIAN / “A GENUINE AMERICAN HERO WHO / CARRIED THE NAME OF A&T STATE / UNIVERSITY MAGNIFICENTLY TO THE / FAR CORNERS OF THE UNIVERSE.”
DONATED BY / RALPH CLAY & JANIE PACE PRICE / SCULPTOR / JANOS FARKAS
N.C. A&T State University
June 12, 1987
36.071830 , -79.776020 View in Geobrowse
Newsom, John. “Fallen Aggie: N.C. A&T Remembers Ronald McNair,” News and Record (Greensboro, NC), greensboro.com, January 28, 2016, (accessed August 25, 2021) Link
Schlosser, Jim. “AT&T’s Dedication of New Hall for McNair Angers Brothers,” News and Record (Greensboro, NC), June 13, 1987
Schlosser, Jim. “Hero, A&T Praised at Dedication,” News And Record (Greensboro, NC), June 13, 1987
“Dr. Robert E. McNair, The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.com, (accessed August 25, 2021) Link
“Ronald E. McNair,” The Astronauts Memorial Foundation, amfcse.org, (accessed August 25, 2021) Link
Cast bronze, granite
Ralph Clay and Janie Pace Price
The memorial to McNair was unveiled during ceremonies dedicating McNair Hall, a newly constructed building for the School of Engineering on the campus of N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, NC. Cheryl McNair, Ronald’s widow, presented an A&T patch to the university that her husband had carried into space aboard the Challenger space shuttle. It had been pulled from the Atlantic Ocean along with other debris recovered after the fatal explosion.
Born in Lake City, South Carolina, Ronald E. McNair attended N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, NC where he received a degree in Physics in 1971. McNair then earned his doctorate in physics at MIT and was chosen as a NASA astronaut in 1978. He was the nation’s second black astronaut and in 1984 made his first flight into space aboard the Challenger space shuttle. Two years later McNair and six other NASA crew members were killed when that same shuttle exploded 73 seconds after launch. Another North Carolina native Captain Michael J. Smith was also aboard the doomed flight.
A new engineering building was under construction on the A&T campus at the time of the Challenger disaster and a decision was quickly made to name it after McNair. This angered some who pointed out that McNair majored in physics and not engineering. They felt the building should have been named after Jerald Marteena who had founded the School of Engineering, was its first dean and taught at the university for over 40 years. Ironically the physics and math building on campus had previously been named after Marteena.
The memorial is located in front of McNair Hall on the campus of NC A&T University. The street address is 1117 E Market St, Greensboro, NC 27401.
The memorial stands in an open lawn outside of McNair Hall.