McNair in 2012
December 31, 1937|
|Education||University of South Carolina|
|Known for||Owner of the Houston Texans|
|Net worth||$3.3 billion (September 2015)|
|Spouse(s)||Married, 4 children|
Early life and education
McNair grew up in Forest City, North Carolina, a town of about 7,500 in the foothills of western North Carolina, where he attended East Rutherford High School. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where he was initiated into the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree. His wife, Janice, attended nearby Columbia College.
The McNairs have been residents of Houston, Texas since 1960. He founded the cogeneration company Cogen Technologies, which was sold in 1999 to Enron and CalPERS. Today, McNair retains ownership of power plants in New York and West Virginia. McNair now serves as chairman and chief executive officer of The McNair Group, a financial and real estate firm that is headquartered in Houston, Texas. He is also the owner of Palmetto Partners, Ltd., a private investment company that manages the McNairs' public and private equity investments, and is Chairman of The McNair Foundation. In June 2000, McNair formed a biotechnology investment firm, Cogene Biotech Ventures, where he serves as company chairman.
He has been rumored to be interested in buying a soccer club in the UK, and has twice been to visit St Andrews, home of Championship team, Birmingham City who have been up for sale for the past two years. On January 3, 2014, a consortium headed by McNair made a bid to purchase Reading F.C. of the Championship.
Houston Texans owner
Committed to bringing a NFL team to the city of Houston, McNair formed Houston NFL Holdings in 1998. On October 6, 1999, the NFL announced that the 32nd NFL franchise had been awarded to McNair.
On October 29, 2017, in a game against the Seattle Seahawks, the majority of the Texans' players kneeled during the national anthem after McNair had commented about having the "inmates running the prison" during a league owner meeting regarding the ongoing protests by NFL players during the anthem. McNair had apologized, stating that he was not referring to the players, but rather to the "relationship between the league office and team owners."
Public service and recognitions
Robert McNair is a member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame and is a current or past member of the Boards of Trustees of a number of institutions including Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Grand Opera, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Center for the American Idea, and other Houston area organizations. On September 12, 2007, McNair gave $100 million to Baylor College of Medicine to recruit top scientists and physicians. He is a recipient of the Anti-Defamation League's Torch of Liberty Award. McNair is a primary backer of Sigma Chi's Horizons leadership institute. McNair donated over $1 million towards the completion of McNair Field, which hosts his hometown Forest City Owls, a collegiate summer wooden bat team in the Coastal Plain League. McNair threw out the first pitch in the stadium's opening night (May 29, 2008), and the Owls beat the Gastonia Grizzlies, 4–2, even turning a triple play in the 6th inning. In 1998, the McNairs established the McNair Scholar Program at the University of South Carolina. In 1999 Robert McNair received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the university.
Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation
In 1989, he and his wife established the Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation. The goal of the foundation was to remove some of the financial barriers that were preventing Rutherford County High school graduates from attending college. The first beneficiaries were the class of 1990. To date, the McNair foundation has awarded approximately $2.6 million in financial aid.
Robert and Janice McNair Foundation
The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, established in 2015, provides gifts to create centers for entrepreneurship at universities throughout the US. In September 2016 the foundation had established entrepreneurship teaching centers at Columbia College, Northwood University, Houston Baptist University, the University of St. Thomas, and the University of South Carolina, as we well as a research center at Rice University's Baker Institute.
According to one tally, McNair was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's largest donor from the period from January 1, 2009 to September 30, 2015, contributing $1,502,500. He has also donated to several Republican Party candidates.
- "Robert McNair". Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- Barshop, Sarah (October 29, 2017). "Texans' Duane Brown on kneeling for anthem: Team felt sense of unity playing for each other". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on October 30, 2017.
- Wickersham, Seth; Van Natta Jr., Don (October 27, 2017). "Gaffes, TV ratings concerns dominated as NFL, players forged anthem peace". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on October 29, 2017.
- "Board of Trustees". Center for the American Republic. Retrieved January 11, 2012.,
- "McNairs give Baylor College of Medicine $100 million to recruit world's top scientists, physicians". Baylor College of Medicine. September 12, 2007. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- "The Carolina and McNair Scholars". University of South Carolina. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- Loftus, Tom. "UPDATED: McConnell's Biggest Donors". Courier-Journal. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
- "NFL Owner Donates $10K to Houston's Anti-LGBT Referendum". October 16, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "Houston Texans Owner Bob McNair Shells Out Major Bucks To GOP Candidates". October 14, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2017.