McNeese State University started as the Lake Charles Junior College and was established by the Louisiana Legislature in the opening fall session on September 11, 1939, with a first class of 140 students. The McNeese campus had just three buildings: Kaufman Hall, Ralph O. Ward Memorial Gym, and Francis G. Bulber Auditorium. The following fall, the university’s name was changed to John McNeese Junior College in honor of 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 and came under the authority of the Louisiana Board of Education. Finally, in 1970, McNeese State University became the official name of the school.
From these humble beginnings, McNeese State University has grown to over 6,000 students from throughout Louisiana, the United States, and over 50 countries.
Our 121-acre main campus has grown from the original three buildings to over 50, including Chozen, Gayle, Drew, and Farrar Halls, the Shearman Fine Arts Annex, and our new Health & Human Performance Complex. Bulber Auditorium, a striking example of Art Deco architecture, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Beyond our main campus, McNeese's satellite facilities cover a further 1,400 acres, including the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center, the Center for Advancement of Meat Processing and Production (CAMPP) and three working farms.
McNeese State University is a student-centric university whose mission is to change the lives of students through quality education and to provide services to the employers and communities in its region. McNeese uses a traditional admissions process based on courses completed, grade point average (GPA), and standardized test scores.
McNeese is responsible for serving:
- Residents of southwest Louisiana who have completed high school and are seeking either a college degree or continuing professional education;
- Two-year college transfer students, particularly those from SOWELA Technical Community College;
- Employers in the region, both public and private, school districts, healthcare providers, local governments, and private businesses;
- Economic development interests and regional entrepreneurs; and
- The area community, by providing a broad range of academic and cultural activities and public events.
Array of Programs and Services
- An array of liberal arts programs at the baccalaureate level—arts and humanities, social sciences, natural sciences—appropriate to a teaching institution with a predominately undergraduate student body.
- Baccalaureate programs in education, engineering, business, nursing, selected allied health fields, mass communication, and criminal justice.
- Master’s programs primarily related to education, engineering, arts, sciences, nursing, and business.
- Doctoral programs in professional fields.
- Support for area K-12 schools seeking college general education courses for advanced students and assistance in ensuring that their graduates are college- and career-ready.
- Services specifically designed to meet the needs of regional economic development, such as small business development, support for entrepreneurs, and problem solving.
- Programs in entrepreneurship and small business development supported by the Southwest Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center.
- Agricultural and related sciences with opportunities for experiential learning at three working farms and the Center for Advancement of Meat Processing and Production (CAMPP).
- Custom academic programs and professional certifications integrated with area business and industry.
- Applied undergraduate research partnerships in engineering, sciences, and allied health.
- Cultural events designed to connect McNeese with the regional arts community and K-12 education.
The Value of an Education at McNeese
For over 75 years, McNeese State University has been trusted and respected as an institution of innovation and academic excellence. Ranked as one of the top public universities in the United States and one of the finest regional universities in the South, our university is also recognized as having one of the best returns on investment for tuition and high average starting salaries for its graduates.
Our low tuition rates, combined with high-quality curricula developed and taught by experienced faculty, plus a thriving on-campus community, means that students receive a high value education for a fraction of the cost of larger universities. With over 100 undergraduate academic programs and 36 graduate programs to choose from, a thriving athletics tradition and vibrant campus life, McNeese offers all the benefits of a large university with a personalized touch.
McNeese achieved Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation in 1954 and maintains its regional accreditation status as a Level V institution authorized to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees and undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, and post-master’s certificates. We also provide opportunities for continuing education in supporting our values of lifelong learning.
As a member of the University of Louisiana System and a selective admissions institution, McNeese offers programs through the William J. Doré, Sr. School of Graduate Studies and six academic colleges: Agricultural Sciences; Business; Education; Liberal Arts; Nursing and Health Professions; and Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. Many of our colleges and degree programs have been awarded additional accreditation from professional and industry organizations.
Located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, McNeese serves as an economic and workforce development partner for Southwest Louisiana employers. Located in one of the fastest growing areas in the state, McNeese provides well-qualified employees for the local petrochemical, agricultural and hospitality industries, as well as hospitals and public and private schools throughout SWLA. Our graduates also go on to successfully start their own businesses, from law offices to veterinary practices. Throughout the U.S. and abroad, McNeese alums are changing lives and making valuable contributions. Graduates have gone on to become successful CEOs and lawmakers, pioneering doctors and scientists, groundbreaking entertainers and professional athletes, and award-winning artists and authors.
But our impact stretches beyond preparing students to enter the workforce or continue their education as graduate students and doctoral candidates. McNeese, through partnerships with local industry, organizations, and government, provides enrichment opportunities for the Southwest Louisiana community and beyond, including our on-campus radio station KBYS, our cultural Banners season, the Kay Doré Counseling Clinic, the McNeese Autism Program, our Heifer Development Program, our summer STEM academy, and our partnership with the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center.
Meet the President
Welcome to McNeese State University, one of the top regional universities in the south. McNeese was my first choice to earn both a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and a Master of Business Administration. I have always believed that the people of McNeese are what set this university apart from the rest. I think you will find this to be true as well.
The dedicated faculty of our six colleges and graduate school are world renowned and make lifelong connections with our students. They not only prepare our students to have successful careers, they provide mentorship to our students long after graduation.
McNeese is in the heart of Lake Charles. Our graduates are leaders around the world and our nurses, educators and engineers are the first choice of area hospitals, schools and refineries. Outside of the classroom, our campus has over 100 student organizations that promote leadership and community service and help improve the lives of those in Southwest Louisiana.
McNeese is the first choice for thousands of new students every year, and we hope to see you on campus soon.
Dr. Daryl V. Burckel