The McNair Scholars Program at West Virginia University will honor the life and legacy of astronaut Ronald E. McNair Wednesday, Jan. 28, with an open house and graduate education forum from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in Hatfields B of the Mountainlair.

McNair was the second African-American to fly in space and one of seven astronauts who died in the space shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986. The McNair Scholars Program, which bears his name, recognizes low-income, first-generation and minority students for their academic achievements and assists them in their pursuit of graduate degrees.

Interested WVU students should plan to attend one of two sessions11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or 12:30-1:30 p.m. Each will include a free lunch and helpful information for undergraduate students considering a graduate education, said Dr. Betty Mei, McNair Scholars Program coordinator.

Students interested in liberal arts and sciences, health sciences, engineering and education are especially encouraged to attend as faculty representatives will be on hand to meet with them one-on-one.

“The purpose of the event is to offer an overview of graduate education, including the advantages of getting a graduate degree and the how-to’s, such as how to apply to graduate school and who to contact. I’m sure students will also want to know how to finance their graduate education. It has been our experience that students have no knowledge that graduate education can be free,”Mei added.

Student who plan to attend should R.S.V.P. by e-mailing by Friday, Jan. 23.

The McNairs Scholars Program, federally funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, provides stipends, graduate school and GRE preparation, and research and internship opportunities. The program is currently accepting applications through Saturday, Jan. 31. For more information or to download an application, go to click on”prospective students.”