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John Onslow & Kate Dalton McNairy Endowed Excellence in Education Fund

The following biography was written at the time of this scholarship establishment; some information may not be up to date:

John McNairy’s ancestors were among the early settlers of Guilford County, and Francis McNairy, of whom John McNairy was a direct descendent, built an early house in the county that now stands on the grounds of the Greensboro Historical Museum. Kate Dalton was born in Rockingham County but moved to Greensboro before the turn of the century. She and John McNairy were married in 1901 and together raised two daughters and five sons on a farm just north of Greensboro.

John and Kate McNairy shared the conviction that there are few things in life more important than a good education. Prior to the birth of her first child in 1903, Kate McNairy taught at a small rural school in Guilford County. At that time, the school year lasted four months. She was paid $25/month. John McNairy attended Guilford College for one year before an illness forced him to withdraw. From then on, he stayed home to work the family farm. Although not in business himself, he was an astute businessman, and he parlayed several business arrangements into funds sufficient to send all of his children to college during the 1920’s and 1930’s. His two daughters attended North Carolina College for Women (now UNC Greensboro). Four sons went to Duke University, and the fifth spent a year at the Citadel before returning home to run the family farm when his father became ill..

The McNairys’ love of education was not lost on their oldest daughter, Julia. She graduated from North Carolina College for Women in 1927, majoring in education and minoring in English. In 1945, she earned a master’s degree in elementary education from UNCG (at this time called Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina), a degree that included a minor in supervision and administration. Julia’s career in education spanned 41 years and five cities. She retired from teaching and public school administration in 1969.

John McNairy died in 1932 at the age of 58; Kate McNairy passed away in 1952 at the age of 79 ;Julia McNairy Grady passed away in 2001.