McNeese has received a lot of national attention lately for its academic excellence, student success and fiscal responsibility and I cannot think of a better way to launch our 2014 yearlong 75th anniversary celebration!
For the second consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranked McNeese in the top tier of regional universities in its 2014 Best Colleges publication.
Adam Johnson, a 1996 graduate of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for fiction with his novel, "The Orphan Master's Son," set in North Korea. Adam studied under former McNeese MFA professor Robert Olen Butler who won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for fiction while teaching at McNeese.
Poets and Writers magazine moved the McNeese MFA program up to #22 in the nation. It has been nationally ranked among 25 programs in the nation for two consecutive years.
McNeese is recognized as one of the top public institutions for offering affordable tuition and high average salary earnings for its graduates.
The 15th McNeese faculty member has received a Fulbright Award to teach or conduct research at a university on another continent.
A visual arts major won the University's first national student Addy Award presented by the American Advertising Federation and the prestigious Rising Star Student Award presented by the Lake Charles chapter of the AAF.
And, on August 31, 2013, in Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the McNeese Cowboys recorded the University's first ever win over an automatic qualifying Bowl Championship Subdivision (BCS) team with a 53-21 win over South Florida. That is the most points ever scored by a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team over a BCS school in college football history!
The campus is undergoing a transformation as well. Since April, we have opened a new state-of-the-art residence hall, three-story student parking garage and the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Center. The SEED Center is home to the University's Innovation Lab and student business and idea incubator. McNeese is one of two universities in the nation to offer courses in the Innovation Engineering Management System that teaches students in all majors how to be flexible and adapt to changing business environments.
We are growing our community partnerships by formalizing agreements with SOWELA Community and Technical College to provide courses and space in residential halls and with Folk Polk to allow McNeese to provide academic degree programs and educational services to active duty service members, their families and civilians employed at Fort Polk.
There are many reasons to be positive about our future and excitement is building for the events and activities that will occur in 2014.
Our 75th anniversary slogan, "Celebrating the Past~Pioneering the Future," captures the essence of the University's transformation from its beginning as a junior college to a regional university of national prominence. I invite you to be a part of the 75th anniversary celebration and to continue being champions for McNeese.