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McNeese State University
Motto Excellence With A Personal Touch
Established September 1939
Type Public
President Robert Hebert
Faculty 302 full-time faculty
Staff 848 full-time & part-time employees
Undergraduates 8645 (Fall 2009)
Postgraduates 1042 (Fall 2009)
Location Lake Charles, LA, USA
Campus Urban
Colors Blue & Gold          
Mascot Cowboys
Website www.mcneese.edu

McNeese State University, founded in 1939, is a university located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA. Originally called Lake Charles Junior College, the name became John McNeese Junior College in 1940; the school was part of the Louisiana State University system. In 1950, the school parted from the LSU system and became McNeese State College; in 1970, the institution gained university status. The university draws in students from Lake Charles as well as the surrounding five parishes.

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

Contents

History

McNeese State University was founded in 1939 as a division of Louisiana State University, offering only the first two years of higher education. Originally called Lake Charles Junior College, the name became John McNeese Junior College in 1940 by resolution of the University Board of Supervisors in honor of a pioneer Southwest Louisiana educator.

Advanced to four-year status and separated from L.S.U. in 1950, the University was renamed McNeese State College; and its administration was transferred to the Louisiana State Board of Education. Act 138 of the 1970 Louisiana Legislature gave the institution its present name, McNeese State University. McNeese was first accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 1954.

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 addition to the Graduate School, McNeese State University's academic organization includes the colleges of Business, Education, Engineering and Technology, Liberal Arts, Nursing, Science, the Division of Continuing Education, and the Division of Basic Studies.

McNeese opened its doors in 1939 on an 86-acre (350,000 m2) tract donated by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury with a physical plant of two buildings: the former Administration Building (Kaufman Hall) and the McNeese Arena (Ralph O. Ward Memorial Gym). The Main Auditorium, now Francis G. Bulber Auditorium, was completed in 1940 as the third building on the campus. The three structures are still in use today. In 1989, the auditorium was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.

McNeese has had ongoing legal problems in recent years over allegations that it discriminates against the disabled.[1] In 2008, a Louisiana appeals court blasted McNeese for its discriminatory attitude toward the disabled in the case of Covington v. McNeese. [2] In the case, McNeese's president testified that McNeese would not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act because allowing the disabled access to the McNeese campus was not "fundamentally important." The United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division launched a simultaneous investigation into McNeese's treatment of the disabled, and a full report is expected to be released in early 2009. [3]

University leadership

  • Dr. Joseph T. Farrar (1939-1940)
  • Dr. William B. Hatcher (1940-1941)
  • Dr. Rodney Cline (1941-1944)

(Prior to 1944, University leadership were called deans. After 1944, the term President came to designate the universities' head individual)

  • 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 Hebert (1986-present)

Campus

The McNeese State University main campus occupies 121 acres (0.49 km2) in south Lake Charles along the Contraband Bayou. The main campus also includes 68 main buildings. In addition to the main campus, the physical plant also includes the 503-acre (2.04 km2) McNeese Farm, a 65-acre (260,000 m2) Athletic plant, the Burton Coliseum, and nearly 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) of donated farm property.[4]

Academics

McNeese State University offers 83 degree programs under the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering and Technology, Liberal Arts, Nursing and Science, the Division of General and Basic Studies, and the Doré School of Graduate Studies. It is the first university in the state of Louisiana to offer a concentration in Forensic Chemistry, and was one of the first schools in the nation to offer a concentration in Terrorism, Preparedness and Security.

Joe Gray Taylor, distinguished historian of Louisiana and the American South, was the chairman of the McNeese history department and later the dean of the College of Liberal Arts prior to his death in 1987.

The English department, 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.

Despite a 12-hour teaching load requirement and ongoing financial problems with programs and support systems, a significant number of McNeese faculty have received Fulbright Awards. Faculty members in Engineering, Music, Social Sciences and English have taught in Rwanda, Romania, Greece, Korea, and Wales, among other countries. In the Department of English alone, four faculty members have received Fulbrights.

Athletics

MSU basketball

McNeese State University's teams are nicknamed the Cowboys and Cowgirls.

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Football

Their football team plays at Cowboy Stadium, also known as "The Hole", on the edge of 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.

Basketball

The Cowboy basketball teams play at Burton Coliseum, to the south of campus. In 1956 the Cowboy's 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 twice, the most recent invitation being in 2001.

Baseball

The baseball team hosts 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 organizations

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 alumni

Notable faculty

References

  1. ^ "House District 36". enlou.com. http://enlou.com/officeholders.housedistrict36.htm. Retrieved December 10, 2009.  
  2. ^ ""Louisiana House District 37"". enlou.com. http://enlou.com/officeholders/housedistrict37.htm. Retrieved October 14, 2009.  
  3. ^ "House District 35", Louisiana Encyclopedia (1999)

External links

Coordinates: 30°10′47″N 93°12′58″W / 30.179758°N 93.21604°W / 30.179758; -93.21604


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