Mr. William “Bill” R. McNair ‘68
“Philanthropy is what it’s all about. People less fortunate than us, they need our help.”
McNair earned his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1968 and went on to earn a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1971 and a MBA from Auburn University Montgomery in 1977. Bill’s 33-year career in the telecommunications industry began as an engineer with South Central Bell in 1968. He held positions in the company’s engineering, operations, human resources, and marketing organizations before retiring from BellSouth as vice president of network operations. Bill played a critical role in obtaining BellSouth’s funding of Auburn’s Minority Engineering program, which was designed to increase the recruitment and retention of minority engineering students.
McNair and his wife, Lana, established the McNair Auburn Creed Scholarships and the McNair Distinguished Professorship in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. His contributions have supported the construction of the Shelby Center for Engineering Technology, created scholarships for students, created an endowed professorship to recruit and retain the brightest faculty, helped launch the Engineering Academic Excellence Program for Auburn’s underrepresented students and was instrumental in establishing the new Office for Academic Advising in the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center.
McNair has served on the Auburn University Foundation Board, the BITA Campaign Executive Committee, the BTIA Engineering Campaign Committee and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Council. For his professional achievements and commitment to engineering education, McNair was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2010. He has also received the Distinguished Auburn Engineer award–the highest honor given by the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering–and the Department of Electrical Engineering Outstanding Alumni award. He is a member of the 1856 Society, Petrie Society, AUM 1967 Society, the Shug Jordan Society, Ginn Society Keystone Society, Foy Society and a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association. The McNairs have two children, Kelly and William, a 1992 Auburn graduate.