Robert Evander McNair

78th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1965 to 1971

Date Born: December 14, 1923

Date Died: November 17, 2007

Place Born: Cades, SC (Williamsburg County)

Place Buried: Ballsdam Plantation, Berkeley County, SC

Residence: Allendale, SC, then Columbia, SC

Occupation: Lawyer, US Naval Reserve ('42-'26)


University of South Carolina, A.B.: 1947, LL.B.: 1948

South Carolina House of Representatives: 1951-1962

Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina: 1962-1965

1965 - Lieutenant Governor McNair succeeded to office following the resignation of Gov. Donald Stuart Russell.

1966 - Governor McNair defeated Joseph O. Rogers, Jr. in the general election for office of governor


Robert Evander McNair was born on December 14, 1923 in Cades, SC, the son of Daniel Evander McNair and Claudia (Crawford) McNair.

On May 30, 1944, Robert Evander McNair married Josephine Robinson, daughter of William Henry Robinson and Corinne (Calhoun) Robinson of Allendale, SC, and they had four known children.

McNair served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, having been awarded a Bronze Star. After the war, he completed his bachelors degree in 1947 at the University of South Carolina, followed by a law degree at the same school in 1948. While attending USC, McNair served as the first Governor of the South Carolina Student Legislature and was initiated into the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

McNair practiced law in Moncks Corner and Allendale, SC.

In 1950, Robert Evander McNair was elected to represent Allendale County in the House of Representatives of the:
- 89th General Assembly that met from 1951-1952
- 90th General Assembly that met from 1953-1954
- 91st General Assembly that met from 1955-1956
- 92nd General Assembly that met from 1957-1958
- 93rd General Assembly that met from 1959-1960
- 94th General Assembly that met from 1961-1962

In 1962, Robert Evander McNair was elected Lieutenant Governor and served under Gov. Donald Stuart Russell. On April 22, 1965, Gov. Russell resigned with the understanding that McNair would appoint him to a then-vacant U.S. Senate seat. McNair won the 1966 general election over State Representative Joseph O. Rogers, Jr., of Manning, the first Republican gubernatorial nominee in South Carolina in the 20th century. McNair was a pro-education governor.

After his term as governor, he originated McNair Law Firm, P.A. in Columbia, SC. He was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame, and awarded an honorary doctorate in 2005 by the Francis Marion University, a school which he signed into creation while governor in 1970. On May 21, 2009, after his dearth, Robert Evander McNair was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame.

Robert Evander McNair died of brain cancer on November 17, 2007 in his apartment in Charleston, SC. He was buried at the family farm, Ballsdam Plantation, in Berkeley County.


Robert Evander McNair was born in Cades, SC. He received an A.B. and an LL.B. from the University of South Carolina in 1947 and 1948, respectively. McNair served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as Lieutenant, J.G., spending twenty-two months in the Pacific Theater. He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives from Allendale County in 1961. In 1963 he was elected Lieutenant Governor and served in that post until he succeeded Donald Stuart Russell as governor, winning election as governor in his own right in 1966. During his gubernatorial administration, McNair saw the state through a turbulent period of school desegregation and civil unrest in the late 1960s while leading major initiatives in education reform and industrial recruitment. He chaired the southern Regional Education Board, the Education Commission of the States, the Southern Governors' Association, and the Democratic Governors' Association. He was also Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee in 1969 and 1970. After leaving public office, he became a partner in a law firm. McNair's other private sector positions included President of the Investors Heritage Life Insurance Company, Director of AIRCO, Inc., Director of the Southern Railway System, and Director of the R.L. Ryan Company.

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