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Last Updated: May 25, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

McNeese 75th Anniversary Print Page


McNeese State University was established by the Louisiana Legislature in 1939. The institution was first named the Lake Charles Junior College, and was a division of Louisiana State University with the opening session beginning on September 11, 1939. The following fall, the school changed its name to John McNeese Junior College to honor John McNeese, a renowned Southwest Louisiana educator and the first superintendent of schools in Imperial Calcasieu Parish. In 1950, McNeese became a four-year college in its own right and came under the authority of the Louisiana Board of Education. Finally, in 1970, McNeese State University became the official name of the school.

McNeese achieved Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation in 1954 and maintains its regional accreditation status as a Level IV institution authorized to award associate, bachelor, master, and specialist degrees. The University also provides opportunities for continuing education in support of its mission to value lifelong learning. As a member of the University of Louisiana System and a selective admissions institution, McNeese offers programs through the department of general and basic studies and six academic colleges: Business, Education, Engineering and Engineering Technology, Liberal Arts, Nursing, and Science. McNeese’s student body is comprised of students from throughout Louisiana, the United States, and approximately 50 countries. McNeese’s athletic programs are NCAA-certified for competition at the Division I level.

The McNeese State University campus in Lake Charles, Louisiana, features 88 buildings on 500 acres dotted with live oak trees and azalea bushes. The McNeese community continues to use three original structures - Kaufman Hall, Ralph O. Ward Memorial Gym (the Arena), and Francis G. Bulber Auditorium. Bulber Auditorium, a striking example of Art Deco architecture, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

McNeese State University upholds a long tradition of service to the Southwest Louisiana community and the nation. The University motto of “Excellence with a Personal Touch” extends beyond the classroom. During World War II, the campus was the headquarters of the Louisiana Maneuvers, an extensive military exercise to prepare American soldiers for battle. In 1957, the McNeese community gave aid and comfort to the victims of Hurricane Audrey and served as the National Guard’s base of rescue operations. Recently, McNeese provided shelter for New Orleans residents and university students fleeing from Hurricane Katrina. McNeese faced one of its greatest challenges when Hurricane Rita struck in the fall of 2005. The storm caused devastating damage to campus facilities and infrastructure. The recovery effort after Hurricane Rita demonstrated the resilience and commitment of the McNeese faculty, staff, and students to higher education and to moving forward in support of the core values of academic excellence, student success, fiscal responsibility, and university/community alliances.


McNeese Archives Collections

McNeese State University/Academic Advisory (University Council, Deans' Council) Collection

McNeese State University/Alumni Association Records

McNeese State University/Artifacts Collection

McNeese State University Asbestos Inspection Records

McNeese State University/Athletics Collection

McNeese State University/Banners Series Records

McNeese State University/Black History Month Committee Records

McNeese State University/Bookstore Records

McNeese State University/Burton College of Education Collection

McNeese State University/ Chapter of the National Collegiate Association for Secretaries

McNeese State University/College of Business Collection

McNeese State University/College of Engineering and Technology Collection

McNeese State University/College of Liberal Arts Collection

McNeese State University/College of Nursing Collection

McNeese State University/College of Science Collection

McNeese State University/Department of Mass Communications Records

McNeese State University/Faculty Publications Collection

McNeese State University/Faculty Senate (Council) Collection

McNeese State University/Faculty Wives Club Collection

McNeese State University/Fiftieth Anniversary Collection

McNeese State University/Film Collection

McNeese State University/Foundation Records

McNeese State University/Frazar Memorial Library Records

McNeese State University/Log and Catalog Collection

McNeese State University/Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Academic Support

McNeese State University/Office of Media Services Photograph Collection

McNeese State University/Office of the President Records

McNeese State University/Panhellenic Council Collection

McNeese State University/Phi Chi Theta, Beta Upsilon Chapter

McNeese State University/ROTC Collection

McNeese State University - St. Andrew Presbyterian Church Childcare Center Records

McNeese State University/Scrapbook Collection

McNeese State University/60th Anniversary Oral History Collection

McNeese State University/Smith Hall Files Collection

McNeese State University/Theatre Collection


General Resources

The McNeese Encyclopedia has short entries about various McNeese subjects.

The McNeese Timeline has a list of significant events in McNeese history.

McNeese State University, 1939-1987: A Chronicle by Joe Gray Taylor



McNeese Images


Digital Library

The LOUISiana Digital Library has many (but not all!) cataloged images of McNeese. Click here for McNeese's collection. Do an Advanced Search for "McNeese" in the Subject field to find images about McNeese.


Other Archives Collections

Mack Abraham/Board of Trustees Collection
Kathleen Allums Papers
American Association of University Women-Lake Charles Branch/Lake Area University Women Collection
Dr. Karl Everett Ashburn Collection

William Walker Ayer, Jr. Papers

Board of Trustees for State Colleges and Universities/Board of Supervisors Collection
Dr. Francis G. Bulber Collection
Allen Commander Collection
Nathan Curtis Interviews
Michael K. Dees/Board of Regents Collection
Jack V. Doland Papers
Andre Dubus Collection
Dunn and Quinn Collection
Dr. C. W. Fogleman Collection
Dr. G. Thomas Fox Photograph Collection
Lether E. Frazar Collection
William Lee "Bill" Gabbert Photographic Collection
The Gay Gomez Wetland Biography Collection
Greater Lake Charles Chamber of Commerce Collection
Betty Harless Papers
Rosa Hart Papers
R. Gordon Holcombe/Friends of the Library Collection
Robert Jordahl Music Collection
Tony Kushner Collection
Lake Charles Area Audio Collection
Lake Charles Community Concert/Southwest Louisiana Concert Association Collection
Lake Charles Little Theatre Collection
Dr. Thomas S. Leary Papers
Lions Club District 8-0 Collection
Samuel J. Marino Collection
Oscar Maxfield/Lake Charles Lions Club Collection
The John McNeese Collection
The McNeese Alumni Association Collection
Dr. Donald J. Millet Collection
The Stella Nesanovich Papers
The SWLA Oral History Collection
The SWLA Presentations Collection
Frank O. Pruitt/Board of Regents Collection

Ruth C. Reedy Collection
The Raleigh A. Suarez Papers
The Joe Gray Taylor Papers
Margery Parsons Wilson Collection
The Dr. John A. Wood Papers

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