During the 160th McNeese State University commencement ceremony May 12 at the McNeese Legacy Center, the university conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on McNeese alumnus Charles E. “Chuck” Kleckley, a partner at the Picard Group, a governmental affairs firm with offices in Louisiana and Washington, D.C.
“This is the highest honor that the university can bestow upon an individual,” said Dr. Daryl V. Burckel, McNeese president. “Mr. Kleckley represents his alma mater with distinction. His substantial professional achievements, his passion for service and his ardent support for McNeese State University clearly warrant the granting of the honorary doctorate.”
A native of Lake Charles, Kleckley received his Bachelor of Science degree in finance in 1993 from McNeese. He is a recipient of the 2018 McNeese Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award.
He previously served as a state representative from District 36 from 2005-2016. From 2012 through 2016, Kleckley served as the 67th Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives–the first House Speaker from Calcasieu Parish.
During his tenure in the Louisiana House of Representatives, he chaired the House Insurance Committee and was a member of numerous commissions, councils and committees including the State Bond Commission, Revenue Estimating Council, Joint Committee on the Budget and Joint Capital Outlay and House Executive Committees.
Kleckley was a strong supporter of road improvements in Southwest Louisiana and worked to improve the transportation system. He was also an advocate of higher education and he worked to improve Louisiana’s insurance and business climate and to protect health care funding. He was also focused on Louisiana’s coastal issues from natural resources to conservation.
Kleckley was a champion for McNeese and Southwest Louisiana. He led efforts to secure state funding for a new Health and Human Performance Education Complex at McNeese that opened in 2018.
During his legislative career, Kleckley received several recognitions including the Louisiana Distinguished Civilian Service Medal and Louisiana State Troopers Association Legislator of the Year Award.
Prior to his election to the Louisiana House of Representatives, he served on the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury from 2000-2005 and as its president in 2003. He has supported and served as a member of numerous civic and business organizations and economic development initiatives.