Houston Treasures for 2011
Photo by: Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design
Janice and Robert C. McNair have been champions of philanthropy for over 50 years, giving generously to many deserving causes, while making education and medical research the cornerstone of their philanthropic giving. They are founders of the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, the Houston Texans Foundation, and the Robert and Janice McNair Education Foundation in Forest City, North Carolina.
Robert McNair, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Houston Texans, is best known in the business community as the founder of Cogen Technologies which was the largest privately-owned cogeneration company in the world when it was sold in 1999. He serves as chairman of The McNair Group and owns Palmetto Partners, Ltd., and RCM Financial Services, L.P., private investment entities. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where he served as student body president. McNair was named Entrepreneur of the Decade by the Houston Technology Center and was awarded the James A. Baker III Prize for Excellence in Leadership by the Baker Institute at Rice University. He was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, the Texas Business Hall of Fame, the Houston Hall of Fame, and was presented with an honorary doctorate of humanities from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of South Carolina.
Janice McNair, a graduate of Columbia College, shares her husband’s vision and passion for helping the underserved. She was honored by Child Advocates at their 2009 Angels of Hope luncheon and the Girl Scouts at their 2005 Urban Campout Gala. Together, the McNairs have established significant McNair Scholars Programs at the University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Baylor College of Medicine, M.D. Anderson, Menninger Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital and Texas Heart Institute. In 2007, the McNairs gave a transformational gift to Baylor College of Medicine to recruit top physicians/scientists in the fields of juvenile diabetes, breast and pancreatic cancer and the neurosciences.
The McNairs gave major gifts to the Janice and Robert McNair Hall at Rice University, the Janice Suber McNair Asian Elephant Habitat at the Houston Zoo, the McNair Hall at Houston Baptist University, and McNair Baseball Field in Forest City, North Carolina. They have four children and twelve grandchildren.