McNeese State University
MottoExcellence With A Personal Touch
EstablishedSeptember 1939
PresidentPhilip C. Williams, J.D., Ph.D
Academic staff302 full-time faculty
Admin. staff848 full-time and part-time employees
LocationLake Charles, Louisiana, United States
CampusUrban, 2,289 acres (10 km2)
ColorsRoyal Blue & Sunflower Gold         

McNeese State University is a public university located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in the United States. Founded in 1939 as a junior college, McNeese experienced growth due to economic activity in the region. It adopted its present name in 1970.

McNeese is part of the University of Louisiana System and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Master's University.[1] U.S. News and World Report designates McNeese as a Tier One Regional University.[2] The selective admissions university consists of six colleges and the Doré School of Graduate Studies. McNeese is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and all programs of study are accredited by their respective national boards.


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McNeese State University was founded in 1939 as a division of Louisiana State University and was originally called Lake Charles Junior College. It offered only the first two years of higher education. McNeese opened its doors on an 86-acre (350,000 m2) tract donated by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury with two buildings: the former Administration Building (Kaufman Hall) and the McNeese Arena (Ralph O. Ward Memorial Gym). The auditorium, now Francis G. Bulber Auditorium, was completed in 1940 as the third building on the campus. These three buildings are still in use today. The name became John McNeese Junior College in 1940 by resolution of the University Board of Supervisors in honor of this pioneer educator of Lake Charles.

The college advanced to four-year status and separated from Louisiana State University in 1950 and was renamed McNeese State College. Its administration was transferred to the Louisiana State Board of Education. The Legislature authorized McNeese to offer curricula leading to the master's degree in 1960, and to the degree of Educational Specialist in 1966. In 1970 its name changed to McNeese State University. McNeese was first accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1954.

University leadershipEdit

  • Dr. Joseph T. Farrar (1939–1940)
  • Dr. William B. Hatcher (1940–1941)
  • Dr. Rodney Cline (1941–1944)
  • Dr. Lether Edward Frazar (1944–1955) Retired in 1955, became lieutenant governor of Louisiana thereafter.
  • Dr. Wayne N. Cusic (1955–1969) Retired in 1969.
  • Dr. Thomas S. Leary (1969–1980) Resigned from presidency.
  • Dr. Jack Doland (1980–1986) Resigned in order to run for state office.
  • Dr. Robert Hébert (1986–2010)
  • Dr. Philip C. Williams (2010–present)


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The main campus occupies 121 acres (0.49 km2) lined with live oak trees in the heart of south Lake Charles. Contraband Bayou flows through the campus. The main campus includes 68 main buildings. In addition, the physical plant also includes the 503-acre (2.04 km2) McNeese Farm, a 65-acre (260,000 m2) Athletic plant, Burton Coliseum, the Louisiana Environmental Research Center, and nearly 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) of donated farm property used for research, farming, and ranching.[2]

A renovation of the quadrangle was recently completed to relieve the flooding that plagued students during rainy days. The Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center is under construction on the university campus to allow local business leaders and McNeese students to work in tandem.[3] The newly renovated Jack V. Doland Field House, which now houses offices for all of the football coaches, equipment manager, conditioning and strength coach and members of the athletic administration as well as the ticket office, held its official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony September 9, 2011.[4] A commemorative statue of John McNeese has recently been placed near Smith Hall, and new decorative signs have been built on each corner of the main campus. Also, a recent $16 million annex to the Shearman Fine Arts Center has been completed and renovations have begun on the older sections of the facility.

The McNeese Recreation Complex includes two weight rooms, basketball courts, tennis courts, an indoor track, and an Olympic-size swimming pool.[5]


McNeese State University offers 83 degree programs in its eight colleges and divisions:

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-The College of Business

-The Burton College of Education

-The College of Engineering and Engineering Technology

-The College of Liberal Arts

-The College of Nursing

-The College of Science

-The Division of General and Basic Studies

-The Doré School of Graduate Studies.

McNeese is the first university in the State of Louisiana to offer a concentration in forensic chemistry. It is one of the first schools in the nation to offer a concentration in terrorism, preparedness and security.[6]

The College of Nursing and the Department of Mass Communications are housed in the Juliet Hardtner Hall, named for a McNeese donor and daughter of the Louisiana timber magnate and conservationist, Henry E. Hardtner of La Salle Parish.

The Department of English and Foreign Languages, in conjunction with the local chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, publishes The Arena, which is an annual collection of art, essays, fiction, and poetry by students, regardless of major.

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A significant number of McNeese faculty have received Fulbright Awards. Faculty members in the Departments of Engineering, Performing Arts, Social Sciences and English and Foreign Languages have taught in Rwanda, Romania, Greece, Korea, and Wales, among other countries. In the Department of English and Foreign Languages alone, four faculty members have received Fulbrights.

McNeese is the only institution in the state of Louisiana to have a Kodály Certification Program as part of its Music Education degree.

The College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Less than 5% of the world's business schools are accredited by this prestigious association.[7]

The College of Engineering and Engineering Technology offers a multi-discipline curriculum to all students with majors in chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. That is, students in these individual disciplines are taught by faculty of other disciplines in certain classes. In addition to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Engineering, the college also offers the Master of Engineering degree in chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering and engineering management. The Department of Engineering Technology offers bachelor degrees in process plant technology, instrumentation, and electronics. The College of Engineering and Engineering Technology is closely linked to the nearby petrochemical industries and refineries through the Industrial Advisory Board and Lake Area Industry Alliance/McNeese Engineering Partnership. Many students participate in internships with the related industries.

McNeese recently formed an Institute for Industry-Education Collaboration that will offer training courses as well as continuing education courses for local Lake Area industries and graduates of McNeese.[8]


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McNeese's colors are blue and gold. The men's sports teams are known as the Cowboys, while the women's athletic teams are the Cowgirls. McNeese State sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA) for football) in the Southland Conference.


The football team plays at Louis Bonnette Field at Cowboy Stadium, which seats 17,000 fans. It is also known as "The Hole" and is located near campus. The team played in the inaugural Independence Bowl game in 1976, a 20–16 victory over Tulsa. They would go on to make two more appearances in 1979 and 1980. The Cowboys football team have more recently played in two Division I-AA Finals, in 1997 and 2002.


The Cowboys basketball teams play at Burton Coliseum, to the south of campus. In 1956 the Cowboys won the NAIA Division I Men's Tournament. It was the only appearance the Cowboys made in the NAIA tournament. McNeese State defeated Texas Southern 60 to 55. The men's basketball team has made two appearances in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, most recently in 2002, and the team has qualified for the NIT three times, the most recent invitation being in 2011. The women's basketball team earned their first invitation to the "Big Dance" in 2011, by sweeping the Southland Conference Tournament. In 2011, both the men's and women's basketball teams claimed the Southland Conference title in their respective divisions, marking the first time in the 25 year history of the Southland Conference that the men's and women's teams from the same school have won regular-season titles in the same year.[9]


The baseball team plays games at Cowboy Diamond. The Cowboys' baseball teams have made several appearances in the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship, most recently in 2000 and 2003.

Student organizationsEdit

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McNeese State University's speech and debate team is recognized as a national powerhouse and boasts numerous national championships over the last 40 years. The McNeese State University newspaper is The Contraband, a weekly publication which has existed since 1939. The university's award winning student yearbook is The Log. It was first published in 1941.

Notable facultyEdit

Notable alumniEdit

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  6. Retrieved Sept. 11, 2010
  8. Retrieved September 27, 2010
  10. "Zack Bronson". Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  11. "Ben Broussard Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  12. "Tierre Brown". Basketball-Reference.Com. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  13. "Joe Dumars". Basketball-Reference.Com. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  14. "House District 36". Retrieved December 10, 2009.[dead link]
  15. "Ray Fontenot Stats". Basketball Almanac. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  16. "Bob Howry Stats". Basketball Almanac. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  17. "Luke Lawton". Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  18. "Louisiana House District 37". Retrieved October 14, 2009.[dead link]
  19. "Keith Ortego". Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  20. / "Kavika Pittman". /. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  21. "House District 35", Louisiana Encyclopedia (1999)
  22. [1]
  23. "John Thomson Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 26, 2012.

External linksEdit

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