Press Release

NASA Celebrates Legacy of Challenger Astronaut Ronald McNair

By SpaceRef Editor
March 12, 2004
Filed under ,

NASA officials will join others in ceremonial events of
remembrance and celebration of the legacy of Challenger
astronaut Dr. Ronald E. McNair. The events are Monday, March
15, in McNair’s hometown, Lake City, S.C.

Lake City recently relocated McNair’s remains to the Dr. Ronald
E. McNair Memorial Park. The city is hosting a series of
special events to mark the 18th anniversary year of the
Challenger accident and to acknowledge the new resting place.

“Dr. McNair embodied everything that we all strive to be,” said
Larue Alford, mayor of Lake City. “He showed us all there is no
limit to our dreams and there is no obstacle that can’t be
overcome. To all of us in Lake City and around the country, he
is a true American hero,” she added.

The events include educational programs at Ronald E. McNair
Middle School and Lake City High School attended by thousands
of students from Florence County School District Three. An
inspirational event targeting high school girls and an evening
candlelight service at the Lake City Presbyterian Church round
out the day’s events. Several members of the McNair family,
including his widow Cheryl McNair, will attend the events on

“I look at this day as a celebration of my husband’s life and
his achievements, and as the continuation of his desire to
inspire and motivate the youth of this nation and all who wish
to fulfill their dreams despite life’s obstacles,” said Mrs.

McNair was a 1967 graduate of Carver High School in Lake City.
In 1986, the school was renamed Ronald E. McNair Junior High
School and is known as Ronald E. McNair Middle School. McNair
was among the first graduates inducted into Florence County
School District Three’s Alumni Hall of Fame when it was created
in 1993. NASA selected McNair as an astronaut candidate in
January 1978.

He died on January 28, 1986 in the Space Shuttle Challenger
accident, that also took the lives of the Shuttle commander,
Frances (Dick) R. Scobee, the pilot, Commander Michael J. Smith
(USN), mission specialists, Lieutenant Colonel Ellison S.
Onizuka (USAF), and Dr. Judith A. Resnik, and payload
specialists, Gregory B. Jarvis and S. Christa McAuliffe.

“As NASA moves forward to carry out the agency’s vision for
space exploration, we’ll continue to reflect on the
contributions of our pioneers in space,” said NASA’s Associate
Administrator for Education Dr. Adena Williams Loston. “Ronald
McNair truly exemplified what it means to be an astronaut, an
explorer, and a timeless role model. The NASA family will never
forget the impact that his work will have on the future of
space exploration,” she added. Loston will attend memorial

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet,

For more information about Dr. Ronald E. McNair on the
Internet, visit:

For more information about the memorial events in Lake City,
S.C. on the Internet, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.