McNair was named Entrepreneur of the Decade by the Houston Technology Center and a Man of Distinction by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston 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 and 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.
Committed to bringing a National Football League team to Houston, McNair was awarded the 32nd NFL franchise in 1999, and the Houston Texans debuted in 2002. In 2011, 2012 and 2015, the Texans won the AFC South Division Championship. Active in NFL affairs, McNair serves as chairman of the NFL’s Finance Committee and is a member of the Audit and Los Angeles Expansion committees. McNair’s leadership led the NFL to award Houston, Texas, as host city for Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and again in 2017, for Super Bowl LI. McNair is credited with reviving Houston’s collegiate bowl game in 2006 and presently serves as founder and chairman emeritus of the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. McNair was honored by the bowl as a Gridiron Legend in 2011 for his impact on football at all levels in Houston.
Janice McNair, a graduate of Columbia College in Columbia, S.C., shares her husband’s vision and passion for helping others. She has been honored by numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Salvation Army in 2014, Child Advocates in 2009 and the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council in 2005. Together, the McNairs have established McNair Scholars programs at the University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, M.D. Anderson, the Menninger Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital and the Texas Heart Institute. In 2007, their transformational gift to Baylor College of Medicine enabled the recruitment of world-class research physicians and scientists in the fields of Type 1 diabetes, breast and pancreatic cancer and the neurosciences.
In 2015, they began establishing McNair Centers for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, the University of St. Thomas Houston, Houston Baptist University, the University of South Carolina, Northwood University in Midland, Mich., and Columbia College.
The McNairs’ generosity hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2014, they received the Crystal Eagle Award from the Houston Community College Foundation, the inaugural Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award from UNICEF and the President’s Award from Houston Baptist University, and they were honored by the Houston Zoo. In 2015, Bob McNair was honored as a Living Legend by M.D. Anderson and NBC’s Tom Brokaw. The McNairs chaired the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge Houston capital campaign and are currently co-chairing Texas Children’s Hospital’s Promise Campaign.
Bob and Janice McNair’s transformational gifts helped establish the Janice and Robert McNair Hall at Rice University, the Janice Suber McNair Asian Elephant Habitat at the Houston Zoo, Houston Baptist University’s McNair Hall and McNair Plaza, the AD Players’ Lorraine M. George Theatre in Houston, Texas, and the McNair Baseball Field in Forest City, N.C.
The McNairs have been residents of Houston since 1960. They have four grown children, 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.