McNair Scholars Program Administrative Roles
Patricia Spaniol-Mathews, Ph.D.
Phone: 361 825-3163
Location: GLASSCOCK 151A
Areas of Responsibility:
Graduate School Recommendations
Phone: 361 825-3835
Location: GLASSCOCK 150
Areas of Responsibility:
Academic Advising & Counseling
Coordination of Research Presentation
Coordination of Seminars/Workshops
Financial Aid/Financial Literacy Assistance
Graduate School Admission Assistance
Graduate School Placement
Individual Educational Plans
Scholar File Documentation
Phone: 361 825-3687
Location: GLASSCOCK 151D
Areas of Responsibility:
Data Input & Student Tracking
Student Access Database Documentation
Dr. Ronald E. McNair
HE OVERCAME OBSTACLES.
Dr. Ronald Erwin McNair, Physicist & Astronaut,
dared to dream. As an African-American growing up
in a poor community in the South, he encountered
discrimination early in his youth.
Yet this did not stop him from pursuing his dream
of becoming a scientist.
HE ACHIEVED ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE.
In 1971, he graduated magna cum laude from North
Carolina AT&T State University with a B.S. degree
in physics. Ronald McNair then enrolled in the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1976, at the
age of 26, he earned his Ph.D. degree in laser physics.
HE BECAME A LEADER IN HIS FIELD.
Dr. McNair soon became a recognized expert in laser
physics while working as a staff physicist with Hughes
Research Laboratory. He was selected by NASA for the
space shuttle program in 1978 and was a mission
specialist aboard the 1984 flight of the shuttle Challenger.
HE WAS RESPECTED AND COMMENDED.
For his achievements, Ronald McNair received three
honorary doctorate degrees and many fellowships
and commendations. These distinctions include:
Presidential Scholar, 1967-71; Ford Foundation
Fellow, 1971-74; National Fellowship Fund Fellow,
1974-75, Omega Psi Phi Scholar of the Year, 1975;
Distinguished National Scientist, National Society of
Black Professional Engineers, 1979; and the Friend
of Freedom Award, 1981.
HE EXCELLED IN MANY ASPECTS OF LIFE.
Ronald McNair also held a fifth degree black belt
in karate and was an accomplished jazz saxophonist.
He was married and was the dedicated father of a
daughter and a son.
After his death in the Challenger explosion in January
1986, members of Congress provided funding for the
Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement
Program to encourage college students with similar
backgrounds to Dr. McNair to enroll in graduate
studies. Thus, the program targets students of color
and low income, first-generation college students.
This program is dedicated to the high standards of
achievement inspired by Dr. McNair’s life.
Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program
THE NATIONAL MCNAIR SCHOLAR PLEDGE©
I ______________________ will strive to honor and respect the legacy set forth by Dr.
Ronald E. McNair and former McNair scholars I will work earnestly toward the
realization of my educational goals I will embrace the challenge of attaining
baccalaureate and post baccalaureate education through hard work, perseverance, and
persistence. I will strive to overcome any obstacles, barriers and limitations that might
hinder, derail, or prevent my educational attainment.
I will endeavor to achieve excellence by conceiving of and believing in excellence in my
personal, professional and academic endeavors. I will observe high ethical, moral and
I understand that I must be trustworthy, honorable and noble Respect myself, my peers,
and the people who contribute to my personal and academic success I will graciously
extend myself and service to the uplifting of future TRiO students and promising
scholars I will be a part of the solution and not the problem;
I am a McNair Scholar and I believe in the words of Dr. McNair: “Whether or not [I]
reach [my] goals in life depends entirely on how well [I] prepare for them and how badly
[I] want them.”
With this pledge, I hereby accept the responsibilities and privileges of induction into the
Ronald E. McNair Post baccalaureate Achievement Program.
Conceived and Authored by Wallace Southerland III, Ph.D., Associate Director, McNair
Program at the University of Maryland, College Park and Cheryl Bailey Gittens, Director
McNair Scholars Program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with
contributions by members of the national McNair Scholars community
©May 2009 University of Maryland, College Park and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
State University McNair Scholars Programs
The Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi McNair Scholars Handbook is for your
informational use and is a basic tool to ensure that you have a guide that describes the
policies, services, benefits, expectations, and resources of the Ronald E. McNair Post-
Baccalaureate Achievement Program at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi (McNair
This handbook has been designed in a chronological fashion for ease of use and is by no
means exhaustive, as many policies, procedures, and rules will be provided as needed
during McNair monthly meetings and in written announcements, bulletin boards,
electronic-mail messages, and telephone calls. This handbook is subject to modifications
as needed. It is important that you keep your handbook as up-to-date as possible.
The McNair Scholars Program will give you new opportunities and adequate support to
help you reach your academic and professional goals. The success of the McNair
Scholars Program is based on a collaborative effort of faculty mentors, program staff, and
of course you.
The McNair Scholars Program is designed to help high-achieving, motivated, historically
disadvantaged low-income and first-generation college students and underrepresented
students in graduate school receive a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. in their field of study. McNair
Scholars are given the opportunity to collaborate with a faculty mentor on a research
project of their choosing.
McNair Scholars are expected to represent academic excellence by achieving to the best
of their ability in academic and professional endeavors and engaging in community
service to help others attain success.
The McNair & TRIO Connection
In the middle to late 1960’s, Congress established a series of programs to ensure equal educational
opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstance.
These programs, funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, are referred to as the
TRIO Programs. Legislation was established for TRIO programs to provide assistance to students
who are low-income, first generation, and underrepresented in higher education. The original
TRIO programs were Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services. The name
TRIO has been retained even though three additional programs (Educational Opportunity Centers,
Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Programs, and training programs for TRIO
staff) were later added. McNair Programs joined the TRIO family in 1986 in memory of Dr.
Ronald E. McNair, a gifted scientist from an underprivileged background who rose to achieve the
highest academic distinction possible, and to become one of the first African Americans in the
NASA program. All TRIO Programs are funded by the United States Department of Education.
Today, more than 2,800 TRIO programs serve 850,000 students. Over 1,200 colleges, universities,
and agencies in the nation currently house TRIO programs. There are numerous McNair programs
in operation at various universities throughout the United States. In 2007, Texas A&M University-
Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) was selected as one of two hundred institutions to host a McNair
Scholars Program. TAMUCC also has a Student Support Services Program. These programs
operate under the guidance of Dr. Gerardo Moreno, the Assistant Vice President for Student
Overview of the McNair Scholars Program
The goal of the Mc