McNeese State University Encyclopedia

Patricia A. Threatt, Editor
Mary Jane Bloomquist, Jade Francis, Jennifer Garner, Miguele Guillory, and Jim Spears, Contributors
Last updated: January 25, 2018

The McNeese State University Encyclopedia is a compendium of narrative and descriptive essays about persons, places, events, institutions, and ideas relating to the history of the University. The Encyclopedia is planned as a cumulative and ongoing research and writing project. Contributors to the Encyclopedia gathered information from several sources. Please contact the editor with submissions, errors, or broken links.

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Alexander, Robert. Alexander was the first supervisor of buildings and grounds of Lake Charles Junior College when it began in 1939.


Allums, Kathleen. Allums, a music professor, was a member of the first faculty of Lake Charles Junior College when it began in 1939. Allums received her bachelor's degree at Northwestern State College and her master’s degree at Louisiana State University.  She studied music in Mexico City, Rochester, New York City, and Paris.  She was the pianist for the Messiah Chorus beginning in 1940. In 1946, Allums was a charter member of the Alpha Gamma chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society, an organization for women educators. Allums received the McNeese Alumni President’s Cup in 1968 and retired from McNeese in 1979.

Alma Mater. Kenneth L Gaburo composed McNeese's alma mater in 1950.

We hail our Alma Mater,
with hearts full of gratitude;

Where knowledge dwells with friendship,
and all that is right and true.

Our mem’ries here will linger,
with faith in all you do;

McNeese, McNeese, may glory reign here, too--
All Hail! All Hail! McNeese, we are proud of you.

Alpha Lambda Delta.  Membership in this honors society requires superior scholastic achievement during the first year in college. Members must carry a full load of classes (usually 12 hours) and rank in the top twenty percent of freshman.

Alumni.  The McNeese Alumni Association, founded in 1947 and incorporated in 1960, is composed of graduates as well as former students who express an interest in supporting the University. Those alumni who contribute to the annual fund are considered active members and are entitled to vote, hold office, and receive invitations to alumni events. The purpose of the organization is to stimulate and nurture alumni interest in McNeese State University and to promote a working relationship among alumni, faculty, students, and community. The association sponsors class reunions, chapter activities, recruiting programs, Distinguished Recognition Awards, Homecoming activities, annual phone-a-thon, Grad Fest, student scholarships, publication of The Roundup newsletter, and maintenance of the 30,000 plus alumni data records. The Alumni Association is housed in the William Gray Stream Alumni Center located at 600 E. McNeese Street and the web address is

Alumni Association Presidents:

1947-1948 Robert Wheeler   1970-1971 William Fontenot   1993-1994 Dr. Larry DeRouen
1948-1949 James St. Dizier 1971-1972 Gene Booth 1994-1995 Dr. Larry DeRouen
1949-1950 Robert Miller   1972-1973 Fred Nodier   1995-1996 Charles Timpa
1950-1951 Ernest Schindler   1973-1974 Charles Bellon   1996-1997 Joyce Patterson
1951-1952 Horace Lyons   1974-1975 Charles Goen     1997-1998 Tim Woods
1952-1953 Frank Salter, Jr.   1975-1976 D. C. Green   1998-1999 Dr. David Kestel
1953-1954 Gerald Sinitiere   1976-1977 Pat Quirk   1999-2000 Mike Terranova
1954-1955 John Eckhardt    1977-1978 Roy Moore   2000-2001 Mike Terranova
1955-1956 Jimmy Whitehead   1978-1979 Richard Guillory   2001-2002 Marty Chehotsky
1956-1957 Lloyd Jones   1979-1980 H. Gayle Marshall   2002-2003 George Paret
1957-1958 Calvin Billings   1980-1981 Dick Miller   2003-2004 Kaye Billeaudeaux
1958-1959 Freddie LeBlanc   1981-1982 Anthony Zaunbrecher     2004-2005 Joyce Patterson
1959-1960 Alfred E. Flores   1982-1983 Dr. Lee J. Monlezun, Jr.   2005-2006 Roxie Boxie
1960-1961 Fred Godwin   1983-1984 Zeb Johnson   2006-2007 Lonnie Fisette
1961-1962 William T. Clarke   1984-1985 Nancy Morris   2007-2008 Scott Liggio
1962-1963 Lloyd Hennigan   1985-1986 Paul Hebert   2008-2009 Mike Doland 
1963-1964 Al Newlin II   1986-1987 Ann Hurley   2009-2010 Moby Goodwin
1964-1965 Max Jones   1987-1988 Norman Robinson   2010-2011 Pat Hay
1965-1966 William F. Gossett   1988-1989 Dennis Donald   2011-2012

Cheryl Fuselier

1966-1967 Larry A. Roach   1989-1990 Robert E. Guillory Jr.   2012-2013 Dr. Ken Moss
1967-1968 Daniel Ieyoub   1990-1991 Dr. Emma DiCarlo-Vincent   2013-2014 Blake McCaskill
1968-1969 Bobby Gauthreaux   1991-1992 Monte Hurley   2014-2015  
1969-1970 Leland Parra   1992-1993 Dan Eason   2015-2016  

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients (The year in parentheses is the recipient's graduation date. The other year is the date of the award.):

WILLIAM F. “BILL” GOSSET (1956) 1983. For two decades of unselfish dedication and guidance as Director of McNeese State University Alumni Affairs.  For tireless work during construction and fund raising resulting in the William Gray Stream Alumni Center debt retirement.

DR. JOHN R. “MICKEY” ROYER  (1954) 1984. Awarded for bringing recognition and distinction to McNeese State University through his long successful career as one of the country’s outstanding plastic surgeons.  Also awarded for his contributions to his community as an active civic leader.  And especially for his continued interest and support of McNeese State.

DR. CECIL CYRUS VAUGHN (1954) 1986. Awarded for bringing recognition and distinction to McNeese State University through his pioneering research in cardiovascular medicine and artificial heart transplant surgery.  Also awarded for his contribution to humanity as a leading author and educator in his field and for his generosity in support of McNeese.

KENNETH S. SWEENEY (1950) 1988. Awarded for his leadership and integrity which have helped to strengthen McNeese State University during the past 30 years.  His unselfish devotion and untiring loyalty to the University and its employees have set an example for all others to follow.

BESSIE JEAN KEARNS (1957) 1989. Awarded for her international work with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank and the Board of International Food and Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr. Kearns’ work in the fields of agriculture and human development has improved the quality of life for people in many of the world’s developing nations, and thus, has brought distinction to her alma mater, McNeese State University.

JUDGE EARL VERON (1958) 1990. Awarded for his record of achievement as a lawyer and jurist and for his service as U.S. District Judge.

R.L. “BUBBA” NELSON (1964) 1991. Awarded for his outstanding achievements as a businessman and for earning national recognition as founder of Allwaste, Inc. an environmental services company, his company was ranked  number two on Forbes Magazine’s 1989 list of the best managed American companies with revenue under $350 million.

CARLOS PEREZ (1962) 1993. Awarded for his remarkable accomplishments as a leading manufacturer, industrialist and civic leader in Mexico and Central American.  He was director of the largest manufacturer of ice cream and dairy products in Mexico.  He is very active in recruiting citizens of Mexico to attend McNeese.

RICHARD IEYOUB (1968) 1994. Awarded for his distinguished career as Louisiana Attorney General, his local, state and national service in the legal profession and for his enthusiastic support of McNeese.  Was a former President of the National District Attorneys Association.

WILLIAM J. DORE (1965, 1966) 1995. Awarded in recognition of his success.  He served as Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Global Industries, Ltd. which offers solutions to worldwide offshore needs.

ANDRE DUBUS (1958) 1996. Awarded for his accomplishments as a noted author who is hailed by critics as one of American’s greatest storytellers.  His work was featured in Time Magazine, The New Yorker, Publishers Weekly, New York Times Book Review, and People Magazine.

JOE DUMARS (1985) 1997. Awarded to an outstanding athlete who displays unique courage, ethical behavior and personal integrity on and off the court.  A true sportsman, generous philanthropist and successful businessman.  Currently the Detroit Pistons’ President of Basketball Operations.  Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.  First recipient of the NBA Sportsmanship Award which has been named the “Joe Dumars Trophy”. 

SHERYL R. ABSHIRE (1972, 1976, 1988) 1998. Awarded in recognition of having achieved national prominence in the field of education, as one of the first five inductees into the National Teacher Hall of Fame and a Christa McAuliffe Fellow.

ROBERT F. NASH (1971) 1999. Awarded in recognition of over 26 years of extensive global experience with Halliburton Energy Services, with successful service as a member of their senior executive management team.

BRIGADIER GENERAL JOE G. TAYLOR, JR. (1974, 1983) 2000. Given in recognition of distinguished service to his country and for being the first McNeese graduate to attain the rank of Brigadier General in the United States Army.

R.C. SLOCUM (1968, 1970) 2001. Given in recognition of his role as one of the premier NCAA Division 1 football coaches in the nation based on his long-standing record of wins at Texas A&M University.

DR. MARK OTTENWELLER (1972, 1974) 2002. Given in recognition of his worldwide leadership role in community based Aids support, prevention, and childcare programs while serving as the Director for Africa, HOPE worldwide.

REBECCA BROWN ROBERTS (1973) 2004. Given in recognition of her contribution in the development and production of worldwide energy resources as President of the Global Power and Generation division of ChevronTexaco, Inc.

WILLIAM A. “BILL” OLIVER (1971) 2005. In recognition of his rise from engineer to President of Louisiana Operations of AT&T, his leadership role in numerous civic organizations, and his long-standing loyalty and support of McNeese.

PHIL D. CONWAY (1977)  2006. Recognized for his achievements in banking as President of JPMorgan Chase, Houston and also managing Director and Head of Capital Advisory in the United States for the JPMorgan Private Bank as well as for his extensive civic leadership.

JOHN WARNER SMITH (1976)  2007. Served as Secretary of Labor for the State of Louisiana, improving the quality of the workplace and labor force, while helping workers and businesses successfully compete in the new global economy.  Now heads up New Horizons which works towards improving education in the state of Louisiana.

SAMUEL S. ANDREWS, M.D. (1973)  2008. Given in recognition of his extensive research and accomplishments in the field of endocrinology, his work in performing pancreatic transplants, and for co-authoring the best-selling Sugar Busters diet books.

MICHAEL A. CREEL (1975)  2009. President and Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Products Partners LP, one of the largest publicly traded energy partnerships with an asset base of $18 billion.

GRANT T. CARDONE (1981)  2010. Given in recognition of his success as an international sales expert, sales trainer, motivational speaker, and best-selling author, while also managing three multi-million dollar companies.

LARRY GARNER (1961)  2011. Is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame and served as head athletic trainer for two Super Bowl World Championship teams, the Seoul Olympic Games, and the FIFA World Cup Venue in Dallas.

J. DOUGLAS THORNTON (1980)  2012. A dynamic force in Louisiana’s tourism and sports industry who spearheaded and supervised the $85 million rebuilding of New Orleans Superdome following Hurricane Katrina and who continues to manage professional sports venues and events nationwide.

DR. TIMOTHY A. DEROUEN (1967) 2013. Recognized for his international oral health research; developed and currently directing internationally renowned research training for dental faculty; Principal Investigator for $45.7 million in research grants at the University of Washington; and will serve as President of the American Association for Dental Research.

 Ambassadors. Dr. Don Lyons founded the McNeese Ambassadors during Jack Doland's Presidency. The Ambassadors were a group of approximately twenty students who served as the official hosts for the McNeese President. The Ambassadors assisted with public events as ushers, hosts, or greeters. They also assisted with graduation ceremonies. Later the Ambassadors merged with the Peer Leader Group.

American Association of University Professors. 
AAUP began at McNeese on December 12, 1962 when the national organization extended recognition to the McNeese State College Chapter.

Athletics Department. The athletics program fields teams in the NCAA for both men and women. The University is also a member of the prestigious Southland Conference, and competes for championships in football, basketball, indoor track, cross country, outdoor track, baseball and golf for the men and cross country, indoor track, outdoor track, tennis, golf, volleyball, basketball, softball and soccer for the women.

MSU Encyclopedia Index

Baker, Curtis C.  McNeese named Baker Auditorium in Farrar Hall after Dr. Baker, a Special Education Department Head. In 1960, Baker served on the Graduate Council which organized the graduate school at McNeese.

Band.  The McNeese Band made its public debut October 26, 1940 at a football game against Louisiana CollegeDr. Francis Bulber directed the 24-member band. Later, during Kelly Love's tenure as Director, the band became informally known as "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show."

Band Directors.


Francis G. Bulber


Edward Allen (Interim Director)


Francis G. Bulber


Edward See


Brad Daigle


Norman Smith


Albert Stoutamire


Norman Smith


Kelly Love


Earl Parquette


Terrance Mahady


Dennis Hopkins


David Waybright


Harvey Benstein


Jeffrey Lemke

2007-present Jay N. Jacobs

Banners is the McNeese Arts and Humanities Program Series. In addition to its public events, Banners provides programs to K-12 school children at no cost. Banners also provides special opportunities for young artists in the community to interact with the national and international artists who come to Lake Charles to perform in the series. Click here for more information.
Basic Studies, Division of.  All first time freshmen at McNeese enter into the Division of Basic Studies. After completing 30 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of at least a “c,” students may enter one of McNeese’s six colleges.

Basketball Coaches (Men's).

1940-1952 Wayne Cusic
1952-1971 Ralph O. Ward
1971-1975 Bill Riegel
1975-1978 E.W. Foy
1978-1987 Glen Duhon
1987-1995 Steven Welch
1995-2002 Ron Everheart
2002-2006 George “Tic” Price
2006-Present Dave Simmons

Bel, Della Goos.  McNeese named Bel Hall after Della Goos Bel, the daughter of Captain Daniel J. Goos, founder of the Calcasieu lumber industry, and the wife of John Albert Bel, a pioneer lumberman, industrialist, and civic leader.  Many credit Mrs. Bel with bringing culture, refinement, and social graces to the frontier community known as "Charlie's Lake."

Benoit, Dolive. Benoit, a French professor, was a member of the first faculty of Lake Charles Junior College when it began in 1939. Benoit was one of the only two women to enroll in an airplane pilot training course in 1940. She received the McNeese Alumni President’s Cup in 1971. In 1981, when Benoit retired, she was the last remaining original faculty member at McNeese.  Benoit received her bachelor's degree from Newcomb College at Tulane University and her master's degree from Louisiana State University.  She did graduate work at Columbia University, the University of Mexico, The University of Michigan, and the Sorbonne University of Paris.

Big Lake Road. [see Ryan Street]

Blair, A. Farnell. Blair's company constructed the McNeese Arena for the Lake Charles Junior College when it began in 1939.

Blue Key Honor Society. Recognizes college students at senior institutions of higher education for balanced and all-around excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. See for more information.

Boales, Hubert. Boales was the head football coach in 1982.

Bookstore.  McNeese’s own bookstore on campus helps provide books and other supplies to students and teachers. The Bookstore also carries a wide selection of McNeese memorabilia and clothing. Bookstore homepage.

Bradford, William H.
Bradford was born August 14, 1912 to Charles and Lency Bradford in Newton, Mississippi. He received his bachelor's degree from Mississippi Southern in Math and Science in 1936. He received his master's degree in 1939 from Louisiana State University and his doctorate from the University of Texas in 1953.

He begin at McNeese as a math instructor in 1939.and later was head of the math and science dept from 1942 to 1950. From 1950 to 1957 he was Dean of Liberal Arts. He and his wife Edna Mae (Shaw) helped students set up the first alumni assoc. and opened their home to many of the first meetings. Bradford was instrumental in many changes during his tenure, including starting the Nursing Department, helping the school become a four-year institution, and in opening the door for the first black students to attend McNeese.

In 1957 he was offered a position at Sandia Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico to develop and design missile guidance systems. Bradford died February 7, 1981 from heart problems in Winnfield, Louisiana and is buried in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show [See Band].

Bulber, Francis Gerard (1909-1992). Bulber joined the John McNeese Junior College faculty in the fall of 1940. Before coming to McNeese, Bulber taught music at Louisiana State University. Bulber received the McNeese Alumni President’s Cup in 1959. During Bulber's career at McNeese, he served as Head of the Music Department, the Dean of Fine Arts, and the Academic Dean of the University.  Bulber
started the long-running tradition of performing Handel’s Messiah at McNeese every December.  In 1954, Bulber received the McNeese Award for Cultural Leadership. He received the Alumni President’s Cup in 1959.  Upon his retirement in 1974, he was awarded Dean Emeritus.  Bulber's academic career began at the Sacred Heart High School in Biloxi, Mississippi.  He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Louisiana State University.  He did post-graduate work at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and received his doctorate in Music Education from Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee.  Bulber founded the Lake Charles Civic Symphony and the Lake Charles Messiah Chorus.  He taught at Pearl River Junior College before coming to McNeese.  He died on June 24, 1992 at the age of 83.  In 1992, McNeese renamed the McNeese Auditorium the Francis G. Bulber Auditorium.

Burton, Alice Evelyn Smith. Mother of W.T. Burton. McNeese named Burton Hall, a dormitory, after Mrs. Burton.

Burton, William T. McNeese named the Burton Business Center and Burton Coliseum after W.T. Burton, a major benefactor.  Burton was born on September 25, 1884 in Orange, Texas, where he attended school until the seventh grade.  He moved to Sulphur, Louisiana at the age of 17 and for a short time worked for his uncle who was postmaster and railroad agent.  In 1914, he was involved in both the mercantile and oil businesses.  In 1916, he started in the shell business and began buying land, planting rice, building roads, and running a ferry while rebuilding a sugar mill and farm.  He liquidized the old Calcasieu National Bank and formed the Calcasieu-Marine National Bank.  He valued education a great deal.  Every year he gave a financial gift to each graduating senior of Sulphur High School.  He established the William T. and Ethel Lewis Burton scholarship program in which he presented a full four-year college scholarship valued at $4,000 to one graduating senior in each of the public and private high schools in Calcasieu, Cameron, Jeff Davis, and Allen parishes.  In 1968, he donated $65,000 to McNeese’s new computer center.  He also provided gifts in the medical fields and other civic and cultural activities in the Southwest Louisiana area. Burton is the son of Alice Evelyn Smith Burton.

Butler, Robert Olen Butler was an McNeese English professor from 1985 to 2000.  In 1993, Butler won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his work, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, a collection of short stories about Vietnamese expatriates living in Louisiana.  He served with the United States Army in Vietnam in 1971 as a Vietnamese linguist and counterintelligence agent and then as the administrative assistant to the American foreign service officer who was the advisor to the mayor of Saigon.  Currently, Butler teaches at Florida State University.

MSU Encyclopedia Index

Caldwell Brothers and Hart. This company built the “college building” (now Kaufman Hall) and the McNeese Auditorium of Lake Charles Junior College in 1939.

Callender, Ruth Miriam. Callender was a member of the first faculty of Lake Charles Junior College when it began in 1939. Callender taught Health and Physical Education for women.
She coached a women’s basketball team in 1945-1946 and was the advisor to the Women’s Intramural Association. In 1969, Callender became a full professor. She retired in 1977.  Callender received her bachelor's and master's degrees at Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee.  She did graduate work at the University of Texas and Louisiana State University.


Clark, Jim. Clark was the head football coach from 1966 to 1969.

Cline, Rodney. Cline succeeded Dr. Hatcher as Dean of John McNeese Junior College in 1941. Cline was a Lake Charles native and a graduate of Lake Charles High School. Cline received his master’s degree from Louisiana State University and his doctorate degree from Peabody College. Cline began his teaching career at Central (Elementary) School in Lake Charles. In 1940 Cline was a bass soloist in the first performance of Handel’s Messiah in the McNeese Auditorium. After presiding as Dean of John McNeese Junior College, Cline became Dean of Northeastern Center, now the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

Code of Student Conduct.  This publication is a codification of existing rules and regulations that pertain to students and student life. The Office of Student Services designed the code to enforce and uphold the purposes, goals, and processes of the University. Read the code here.

McNeese consists of six colleges:  Business, Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Nursing, and Science.

Collette, Ida King
(1872-1956). Mrs. Collette was the wife of a Lake Charles pioneer and the daughter of Simpson Methodist Church's founder. Collette taught in the Calcasieu Parish school system. McNeese named Collette Hall, a dormitory, after Mrs. Collette.  Collette was born in Schuyler, Nebraska on July 24, 1872.  She moved to Lake Charles with her family in 1890 at the age of 17.  That year she entered the old Congregational College which was located on the site of the present Lake Charles-Boston High School.  Two years later, she began to teach, first at Oberlin, then in a lumber camp.  She then taught at Central (Elementary) School and later Fourth Ward (Elementary School).

Colors.  Today, the official colors of McNeese are blue and gold.  The original colors of John McNeese Junior College were red and gold.  In 1943, the student body voted the colors to be purple and gold.  The colors were changed to blue and gold in 1972.

Contraband. The Contraband is McNeese's weekly student newspaper, named after Contraband Bayou which runs through campus. Click here for an image of the first Contraband. Contraband Editors:

1939-1940 G. W. Ford   1975-1977 Ann Murchison
1940-1941 Orville Emmett   1977-1979 Kevin Troutman
1941-1942 Tommy Ford and Robert Lemoine, co-editors   Fall 1979 Jan Morgan
1942-1943 Juanita Greene and Gene Dietz      Spring 1980 Cindy Oliver
1943-1944 Jean Goforth, Melda Faye Dietz, and Nancy Shindler   1980-1981 Jan Morgan
1944-1945 Pat Ford   1981-1982 Kathryn Kingery
1945-1946 Marilyn Managan   1982-1983 Etta Smith
1946-1947 Patsy Heidt   1983-1984 Marsha Montgomery
Fall 1947 Bob Hennigan   1984-1985 Etta Smith
Spring 1948 Fred Horne and Patsy Bertrand   1985-1986 Brett Downer  
1948-1949 Pat Bertrand and Charles Force   1986-Fall 1987 Pam Breaux
1949-1951 Sherrill Milner     Spring 1988 Brett Downer
Fall 1951 Gene Booth   1988-1989 Fran Dickey
Spring 1952 William Buck   1989-1990 Jessica Potts
Fall 1952 Davey Herbert   1990-1991 Jessica Potts and Mike Duhon
Spring 1953 Fred Thomas   1991-1992 Mike Duhon
1953-1954 Carolyn Pulliam   1992-1994 Mark Fleniken
1954-1955 Merlene Mertena Trahan and Charlotte Doane   1994-1995 Seth Hopkins
1955-1956 Emogene Lanier   1995-1996 Catherine Bonds
1956-1957 Leneta Doucet   1996-1998 Jared Manuel
1957-1958 Charlotte Clarke   1998-2000 Todd McCardle
1958-1959 Rex O. Miller Jr.   2000-2001 Jeremy Harper
1959-1960 Robert Houston and C. H. Seiber    2001-2002 Johnny Jarrell
1960-1961 C. H. Seiber, Rochelle Kristal, and Tony Darby   2002-2003 Allysa Sellars
1961-1962 Linda Mixon   2003-2005 Anthony Ray
1962-1963 Tillie Coffey   2005-2006 Michael Rivers, Alicia Hewett
1963-1964 Ronald Walker   2006-2007 Sarah Puckett
Fall 1964 Tillie Coffey   2007-2008 Ryan Brossette
Spring 1965-1966 Richard Kucner   2008-2009 Jesse Davis
1966-1969 Jim Stacey   2009-2010 Robert Teal
1969-1970 Paul Martin and Randy Soileau   2010-2011 Jesse Davis
1970-1972 Bill Pardue   2011-2012 Brad Robichaux, Erwin Cutwright
1972-1973 Kirk Warner and Rose Wilson   2012-2013 Erwin Cutwright
1973-1974 Smitty Midkiff and David McCain   2013-2014 Chris LeBlanc
1974-1975 David McCain    2014-2015  

Contraband Bayou.  Contraband Bayou, which runs through the McNeese campus,  is so named because many believe it is the site of the famous pirate Jean LaFitte’s buried treasure, or contraband. Click here for a bibliography of Jean LaFitte sources.

Cornett, Donald Charles.  Former McNeese student killed in action in the Ia Drang Valley in South Vietnam in 1965. Cornett was the McNeese ROTC cadet commander and student body president 1962-1963. He was also a member of the Pershing Rifles, Scabbard and Blade, Blue Key, and Kappa Sigma fraternity. He graduated in 1964 and joined the Army. He rose to the rank of First Lieutenant and received the Silver Star. The 1966 Log was dedicated to his memory.

Cowboys.  Many factors influenced the naming of the McNeese sports teams "Cowboys."  When McNeese was founded in 1939, it was through a joint effort between the Southwest Louisiana Cattleman's Association, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, and the Works Progress Administration.  The Cattleman's Association wanted an arena, the Police Jury wanted a college to educate its citizens, and the WPA wanted an auditorium to stage performances.  In the early days, cowboys figured prominently in the culture of McNeese.  Rodeo was a major activity in the area.  Some students rode their horses to campus.  McNeese soon became known as the "Cow College" because cows roamed freely on the campus.  In 1940, the basketball team (the only official sports team on campus at the time) chose "cowboys" as their team name from several choices, including Broncos, Bucs, and Eagles.  Around this time, some members of the University community felt that McNeese should choose either "nautical" themes (like the yearbook, The Log, and the newspaper, The Contraband) or "cowboy" themes for the University's activities, but nothing ever came of that movement.  In the late 1940s and 50s, sports fans began using the name "Cowpokes," which was soon shortened to "Pokes." See also Mascots.

Cowgirl Kickers. The Cowgirl Kickers Dance line began in 1980. It consists of 25-27 highly talented dance members who meet strict criteria for dance skills, academics, community service, and overall representation of the team and McNeese. The Kickers perform for football, basketball, volleyball, and many other athletic games for McNeese. They also perform for community events, such as Mardi Gras balls, charity events, community celebrations, and visits to local schools. In the past, the Kickers have received formal invitations from Nice, France; Walt Disney Word; Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets Basketball teams; the New Orleans' Saints football team, and the Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii.

Cowpokes. [see Cowboys]

Cusic, Wayne N.  Cusic was a basketball coach and the second president of McNeese.  He was born in Griggsville, Illinois in 1905.  He attended Girard High School in Illinois where he was a two-year all-state football halfback.  He played football, basketball, and baseball at Illinois College.  His first school job was a coach and science teacher at Minden High School in Louisiana. Cusic moved from Minden to Kentucky where he coached four championship basketball teams at Stanford High School and top football teams at Lynch High School.  He came to McNeese in 1940 as an instructor in Health and Physical Education and an athletic coach.  He later served as counselor to men, Director of the Department of Education, Director of Athletics, and Dean of Men. He became McNeese's second president on October 15, 1955 when Lether Frazar left McNeese to run successfully for Lieutenant Governor. In 1959, Cusic was awarded an honorary doctorate by Illinois College, where he had earned his bachelor’s degree. Cusic died in Lake Charles in 1993.

MSU Encyclopedia Index

Daboval, Jeanne.  Dr. Daboval became Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost of McNeese in 2001.  She began her career at McNeese in 1988 as a Graduate Assistant in the Burton College of Education.  In the past, Daboval has served as an Instructor in the Management & Marketing Departments, the Director of Institutional Effectiveness & Planning, the Dean for Enrollment & Institutional Planning, and as an Assistant Professor in Office Systems.

Daigle, Brad. Daigle was the director of the Cowboy Marching Band from 1951 to 1954.



Deacons, The.  The Deacons Club consisted of a group of 19 male students and was organized in the spring of 1941. The purpose of the club was to further social activities on campus. The Deacons sponsored the first dance in honor of the first class to graduate from McNeese.

Deans [see also Presidents].  From 1939 to 1950, the Dean was McNeese's highest ranking official.  After 1950, the President presided over the university. Deans of McNeese:

Joseph Farrar May 29, 1939 - January 16, 1941
William Hatcher January 16, 1941 - August 15, 1941
Rodney Cline August 15, 1941 - December 1, 1944
Lether Frazar December 1, 1944 - August 15, 1950
Devall, Les. Devall was the head football coach from 1957 to 1965.

Doctorate Degrees. Mrs. Mary Landers, wife of Robert Bruce Landers, Dean of the School of Education, received McNeese's first doctorate degree in August, 1969. In 1982, the Education Doctorate program ended. This was the only time that McNeese offered a doctorate degree.

Doland, Jack V. (1928-1991)  Doland served as the McNeese football coach from 1970-1978 and had a record of 63-32-3.  He was a native of Lake Arthur, La. and played football and basketball at McNeese Junior College from 1946-1947.  He then went to Tulane University and played football and baseball.  After graduating, he played professional baseball for two years, the first at Crowley, Louisiana, then in the Tri-States and Hickory leagues in North Carolina. He was head coach at DeQuincy and Sulphur High Schools and won a state championship at Sulphur.  He was assistant coach under Charlie McClendon at Louisiana State University before becoming head coach at McNeese.  He was instrumental in McNeese’s admission into the Southland Conference in 1972.  In 1977, he received a doctorate from Louisiana State University in Education Administration. In the fall of 1979, he became president-elect of McNeese while President Thomas Leary was on sabbatical. On July 1, 1980, he officially became President and served until 1987 when he retired to successfully run for the Louisiana State Senate.  He died in April 1991 after a long bout with cancer. McNeese named its Athletic Complex in his honor.

Drew, Harrison Chelsey (1838-1916).  Drew was born in Maine on January 14, 1838.  As a young man, he became involved with the railway business in Texas.  He served on the side of the Confederacy in the Civil War, in the engineering corps building bridges, forts, and roads.  After the war, he settled in Lake Charles and devoted himself to the harvesting and sale of long-leaf pine timber.  He was a partner in the Lake City Sawmill on the south shore of the lake.  In 1892, he sold his interests to J. B. Watkins.  In 1898, he retired from the timber industry and bought 14,000 acres of land in West Calcasieu to experiment with rice farming.  Within a few years, 8,000 of those acres were under cultivation making it the largest rice farming operation in the United States.  In 1898 he served as a member of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention. He died on September 3, 1916, leaving half of his estate in trust for the education of the young people in Southwest Louisiana.  During his life, he also set up Drew Park, organized Calcasieu State Bank in 1892, organized the Vinton Lumber Mill in 1893, and served as a state senator from 1900 to 1912. Drew was one of the prime movers behind establishing Lake Charles as a center for the lumber, rice, and cattle industries in Southwest Louisiana.  His foundation awards at least 200 scholarships to McNeese students each year.  On January 12, 2000, the Drew Estate established a $5.25 million endowment at McNeese to support economic and workforce development, the largest single gift ever received by the McNeese Foundation. McNeese named Drew Hall after him.

Dubus, Andre.  Dubus was a writer of contemporary fiction novels and short stories.  Dubus was born August 11, 1936 in Lake Charles, Louisiana to Andre and Katherine Dubus.  He was educated at Christian Brothers Catholic schools and received his bachelor's degree from McNeese State College.  He spent five years in the Marine Corps and then spent two years at the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa.  His first novel, The Lieutenant, was published in 1967.  He has written several novels, novellas, and short stories.  He has been published in Sewanee Review, Midwestern University Quarterly, Sage, New Yorker, Carlton Miscellany, Northwest Review, North American Review, Viva, Southern Writing in the Sixties, and Ploughshares. [See also Alumni]

Duhon, Glenn. Glen Duhon was the head basketball coach from 1978 to 1987.

Dumars, Joe.  Dumars is McNeese's all-time leading scorer in basketball.  Dumars went on to enjoy an illustrious career with the Detroit Pistons.  Read more here about Dumars on the National Basketball Association's website. [See also Alumni]


Duplechin, Ernie. Duplechin was the head football coach from 1979 to 1981.

MSU Encyclopedia Index

Everheart, Ron. Everhart was the head basketball coach from 1995 to 2002.


Farrar, Joseph T.  Dr. Farrar was the first Dean of Lake Charles Junior College. McNeese named Farrar Hall after him. Before serving at McNeese he was a Professor of Education and the Director of Student Teaching at Louisiana State University. After leaving Lake Charles Junior College, he went on to become the President of Louisiana State Normal College, now Northwestern State University, in Natchitoches.  

Football Coaches

1946-1954 A.I. Ratcliff
1955-1956 John Gregory
1957-1965 Les DeVall
1966-1969 Jim Clark
1970-1978 Jack Doland
1979-1981 Ernie Duplechin
1982 Hubert Boales
1983-1986 John McCann
1987-1989 Sonny Jackson
1990-1998 Bobby Keasler
1999 Kirby Brucchaus
2000-2006 Tommy Tate
2006-Present Matt Viator

The McNeese State University Foundation is a voluntary, non-profit organization of business and professional leaders. It was incorporated in 1965 to establish scholarships for McNeese students. The Foundation's total assets exceed $62 million. The Foundation annually awards over $2 million in scholarships, faculty development awards and academic enhancements. Foundation homepage.

Frasch, Herman (1852-1914).  Frasch was born in 1852 in Gaildorf, Wuertemberg, Germany.  In 1868, he became a citizen of the United States and began a practice in pharmacy.  Frasch researched improvements in the refining of petroleum and its byproducts, the manufacturing of carbon for electric lighting, and the mining of gold and other metals.  He came to Louisiana about 1890 and invented a method of sulfur mining and refining where many previous fruitless attempts had been made.  He died on May 6, 1914.  McNeese named Frasch Hall, the science building, after him. 

Frazar, Lether Edward (1904-1960).  Frazar graduated from Merryville High School in 1922, where he played football and was an honors graduate.  He attended Centenary College for a short time and then transferred to Southwestern Louisiana Institute (SLI, now the University of Louisiana-Lafayette) where he graduated in 1928 with a degree in history. He was a school principal in Beauregard Parish from 1928-1937.  He received a master's degree in government from Louisiana State University in 1932.  He was president of SLI from 1938-1941. He became an Administrative Assistant with the Office of Price Administration in Washington D.C. during the beginning of the United States' participation in World War II.  He then became the Louisiana Director of the Office of Price Administration until 1943. In 1944 he became Dean of McNeese Junior College.  In 1949, Frazar presided over the transition of McNeese from a junior college to a four-year institution and was named its first President on August 15, 1950.  He retired from McNeese in 1955 in order to run successfully as Lieutenant Governor on the Earl Long ticket. He passed away in 1960 just five days after his term as Lieutenant Governor ended.  On November 11,1961, McNeese dedicated Frazar Memorial Library in his honor.

Freshmen Court Queens.


Edwina Riquelmy


Deb Faiszt


Elizabeth Goodly 2010 Lauren Devillier


Gloria Broussard


Vicky Barkate


Kimberly Watts 2011 Heather Morrisey


Sarah Ann Monticello


Ginger Brown 1992 Shandolyn Arline 2012  


Annette Landry


Jan Hardy


Evelyn Ellis 2013  


Sheila Breaux


Jean Ann Fogleman


Shamon Ecung 2014  


Julie Christ


Patti Gain


LaDonna Randle 2015  


Sarah Quinn


Stacy Thetford 1996 Toni Renee Pete 2016  


Pat Lowe


Karen Fox


Emily Ortego 2017  


Janette Carney


Mariet Lester


Ronotta Guillory 2018  


Beverly York


Nancy Cassell


Katie Redlich 2019  


Betty Wills


Monica Declouette 2000 Allison Bruchhaus 2020  


Barbara Saucier


Jodi Wright 2001 Gequincia Polk 2021  


Sandra Price


Angie Crawford 2002 Rameka Cuba 2022  


Sonja East


Renee Fruge 2003 Ne'Andrea Riggins 2023  


Joyce Wyninger


Michelle Polito 2004 Varsha Jones 2024  


Renee Collet


Kem Joubert 2005 Morgan Verrette 2025  


Sandy Kendrick


Shawn Reed 2006 LaTesha Holmes 2026  


Dianne Dunphy


Paula Conner 2007 Kristin Fry 2027  


Rita Coker 1988 Becky LaPointe 2008 Claire Poche 2028  


Letitia Goodwin 1989 Tammy Lowe 2009 Kelley Verrette 2029  

MSU Encyclopedia Index

Gates, Keith Robert. Gates was born in Johnstown, Pa., on Sept. 29, 1948. His family moved in November 1952 to Lake Charles. He spent his senior year of high school at North Carolina School of the Arts, where he continued his college education, later moving to New York, where he graduated with a bachelor and masters of music from the Juilliard School.

Gates began teaching music theory, ear training, composition, and piano at McNeese in 1984, where he taught for 22 years until he retired in 2006. Gates composed symphonies, operas, concertos, choral music and chamber works. Gates’ best-known works and collaborations included “Evangeline,” “The Hollow,” “Tom Sawyer” and “The Christmas Coin.” He also acted and sang in local stage productions such as “The Mikado,” “Amadeus” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
Gates composed “American Requiem,” a piece he wrote in memory of the Sept. 11, 2001, victims using selections from hymns, psalms, and prayers in the lyrics.  

In addition to his McNeese classes, Keith directed drama for the Governor’s Program for Gifted Children, actively participated in both the Lake Charles Little Theatre and ACTS, played the piano for the Bethel Presbyterian Church, and served as organist and choir director for St. Andrew Presbyterian Church and Temple Sinai.

Gates began teaching music theory, ear training, composition, and piano at McNeese in 1984, where he taught for 22 years until he retired in 2006.
He was diagnosed with cancer in August 2006, and was immediately given chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Gates died May 22, 2007. For more information about Gates and his work, please visit

Gayle, Arthur L., Sr.  Gayle was a Lake Charles businessman who was instrumental in founding McNeese.  Gayle was born on February 22, 1882 in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana.  He graduated from Lake Charles High School and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.  He then joined the firm of Kelly, Weber, and Company, Inc., where he had first worked at the age of thirteen.  He was subsequently named Manager of the company and in 1907 was given the position of President and General Manager.  He later served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company.  He was a charter member of the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association in which during his presidential terms, he worked to eradicate the cattle-fever tick from Louisiana.  At the time of McNeese’s founding, he was president of the Association of Commerce.  McNeese named Gayle Hall after him.

Girard, Clet A. Girard was a member of the first faculty at Lake Charles Junior College.  He began as an English professor and retired as the Dean of the Graduate School at McNeese.  When McNeese was a junior college, Dr. Girard was the Log and Contraband advisor.  He received his bachelor's degree at Loyola University in New Orleans and his master's degree and doctorate from Louisiana State University.  He did graduate work at Harvard University, the Sorbonne University of Paris, and the Institute Catholique de Paris

Governor’s Program for Gifted Children.  In 1959 McNeese established the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) with fifteen middle school students from throughout Southwest Louisiana. The SEP began accepting students from other sections of the state in 1962. In 1964, the SEP became the Governor’s Program for Gifted Children (GPGC) when Governor John McKeithen approved a petition for the state to provide funds for its continued operation. Today, McNeese conducts the program for six weeks each summer. The program accepts approximately 30 children each summer through the Special Education Department of McNeese.  GPGC Homepage.

Gregory, John. Gregory was the head football coach from 1955 to 1956.

MSU Encyclopedia Index

Hall of Fame. The following are members of the McNeese State Hall of Fame and the year inducted. For more information about members of the Hall of Fame, please visit the website.

Charles Allen 2010 Les DeVall 1983 Nick Hebert 2005 Tangela McAlister 2006 John Rudd 1986
Kent Andrews 1998 Dr. David Drez 2010 Craig Henry 1998 Theron McClendon 1998 Curtis St. Mary 2003
Charles Ayro 2010 Jack Doland 1990 Vicente Hernandez 2004 Richard McNabb2008 Ruble Scarborough 2008
Bobby Barnes 1993 Ernie Duplechin 1995 Bob Howell 2008 Fanahan McSweeney 1997 Tom Sestak 1983
Jerome Batiste 2010 Joe Dumars 1994 Terry Irving 2009 Rabbit Manuel 1984 Artie Shankle 2005
Billy Blakeman 2009 Richard Ellenders 2003 Amos Ivey 1986 Carlos Medrano 2003 Jimmie Shields 1996
Hubert Boales 2005 Errol Eschete 1997 Pat Jean 1996 Dick Miller 1991 R. C. Slocum 2004
Louis Bonnette2002 Doug Farr 2006 Desmond Jones 1997 John Miller 2007 Leonard Smith 1996
Bud Bono 2005 Henry Fields 2009 Bill Jongbloed 1987 James Moore 1988 Neal Spencer 2010
Don Breaux 1984 James Files 1992 Buford Jordan 1993 Roy Moore 1987 Stephen Starring 2000
Clyde Briley 1989 Dowell Fontenot 1980 Kerry Joseph 2006 Dicky Morgan 1990 Charlie Stevenson 2003
Zach Bronson 2007 Ray Fontenot 1989 Lenny Kahn 2000 George Murphy 1992 Don Stump 2002
Ben Broussard 2007 Rocke Fournet 2001 Stan Kernan 1983 Carroll Neely 1983 Kenneth Sweeney 1992
Jim Brown 1991 Billy Gabbert 2008 Bobby Keasler 2006 Fred Norris 1996 Johnnie Thibodeaux 1997
Daryl Burckel 2002 Keri Ange Gilroy 2007 Glenn Kidder 1986 Pat O'Brien 1981 Kevin Toth2003
Terry Burrows 2009 Frank Glenn 1981 Wayne Kingery 1980 Pat O'Callaghan 2005 Don Troutman 2002
Dudley Carver 2004 Tim Graham 1995 Charles Kuehn 1980 Carlos Perez 2004 Nolan Viator 1998
Jesse Castete 1982 Ed Green 2000 Lester Landry 2001 Phillip Perry 1988 Merlin Walet 1994
Vicky Chapman1985 Larry Grissom 1985 Cherilyn Lantrip 2004 David Poche 1989 Ralph Ward 1982
Leonard Chisholm 2007 Evans Guidroz 1987 David Lawrence 1999 Jim Pousson2008 Sita Waru 2009
Gerald Conner 1995 Paul Guidry 1991 Edmond Lawrence 1988 Charles Powell 1999 Frederico Zarazua 1981
Brian Cooper 1999 Ellis Guillory 1994 Arthur Lee 1999 A. I. Ratcliff 1981  
Mike Croker 2006 Rusty Guilbeau 2001 Darrell Lester 2002 Henry Ray 1990
Wayne Cusic 1985 Rogers Hampton 1993   Bill Reigel 1980  
Charles Decker 1984 Bob Hayes 2000   Ann Roubique 2001  
Jules DeRouen1982        

Handel’s Messiah. The Messiah is an oratorio composed by G.F. Handel telling the story of the life of Christ. On December 15, 1940, Dr. Francis Bulber directed the first performance of the Messiah in the McNeese Auditorium. In that performance, the choir was 85 members strong and the only accompaniment consisted of two pianos. This oratorio has been performed every December since 1940 to the present day. Today, the choir consists of up to 200 members and the accompaniment consists of a full orchestra consisting of violins, violas, cellos, basses, bassoons, trumpets, a tympani, and a harpsichord.

Hardtner, Juliet E. Juliet Emily Hardtner was born in Alexandria, Louisiana on June 12, 1918. She was the daughter of Henry E. Hardtner, a lumberman known as the Father of Forestry in the South. Juliet Hardtner attended Stephens College, the University of Oklahoma, and Gaucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Following graduation, she joined the U.S. Navy and became a lieutenant. Stationed in New Orleans, her primary responsibilities were in the area of personnel. Ms. Hardtner was a member of W.A.V.E.S. (Women in the U.S. Navy Voluntary Emergency Service) and remained active until the end of World War II, when she moved to New York City. In 1990, Ms. Hardtner moved to Lake Charles to be close to her family. Juliet Hardtner left a $1.2 million gift to the McNeese Foundation to establish two endowed chairs in Science and in Arts and Humanities. In 1999, McNeese built Juliet Hardtner Hall to house the College of Nursing and the Department of Mass Communication.

Hargrove, Matthew Vernon.  Dr. Hargrove was born in Sugartown on November 22, 1880.  He graduated from the University of Tennessee at Memphis in 1909.  He began his medical practice about 8 miles from Oakdale.  In 1912, he moved to Oakdale.  In 1920, he built a five-bed clinic.  He held the office of City Alderman, City and Parish Health Officer, member of the Police Jury, Parish Coroner, and State Representative from Allen Parish. Hargrove was a one-time student of John McNeese.  He later became principal of Oakdale High School.  He presented the first of many portraits of John McNeese to the college. 

Hatcher, William B. Dr. Hatcher served briefly as Dean during the 1940-1941 school year replacing Dr. Joseph Farrar. He went on to be President of Louisiana State University.

Hebert, Robert D.  Dr. Hebert became the President of McNeese in 1987. Hebert was born in Meaux, La. He received his doctorate from Florida State University in 1966
and served on the faculty at Mississippi State University from 1962 to 1969. He began his career at McNeese in 1969 as an Associate Professor of History. Near the end of the 1978-79 academic year, Hebert established the Division of Basic Studies and became its first Director. Hebert served as Vice-President for Academic Affairs from 1980-1987. Hebert retired from McNeese on June 30, 2010 and died in 2016.

Holbrook, William E.  Holbrook was president of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury when McNeese was established in 1939.  He was a native of Holly Springs, Mississippi.  He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War during which he spent four years in Alaska.  After the war, he moved to Laredo, Texas and worked as a barber and then moved to DeQuincy in 1912.  He was mayor of DeQuincy from 1924 to 1928.  He was also a police juror from Ward 6 for 20 years.  He died in April 1955 in an automobile accident.  In 1957, McNeese named the Student Union [or "The Ranch"] after Holbrook.

Homecoming Queens and Kings. Homecoming, which includes traditional  festivities such as the parade, bonfire, & pep rally to support the football team, was originally called McNeese Day. In 1997, McNeese, in addition to naming a Homecoming Queen, began naming a Homecoming King. Former Homecoming Queens & Kings:

1946 Adrienne Managan 1972 Lana Brunet 1999 Summer Fryar and Heath Bryant
1947 Elizabeth Stark 1973 Rosanna Armand 2000 Jilliane Rapheal and Todd McCardle
1948 Barbara Helms 1974 Marcia Miller 2001 Lakisha Barber and Terry Armstrong
1949 Beatrice Teer 1975 Paula Shipp 2002 Candace McCullough and James Guillory
1949 Jennie Lee Bruno 1976 Pat Flavin 2003 Brandy Broussard and Buck Livingston
1950 Rose Richey 1977 Dianne Small 2004 Tiffany Bourque and Adam Benoit
1951 Geraldine Christ 1978 Janet Crowe 2005 Jennifer Guillory and Nick Kohrs
1952 Vernie Miller 1979 Jan Mitchell 2006 Jada Banks and Mike Strahan
1953 Ida Mae Bouquet 1980 Esther Schmid 2007 Jessica Small and Marcus Stein
1954 Alma Marie Rostrum 1981 Pam Moreau 2008 Stephanie Mead and Daniel Lavergne
1955 Jo Ann Medrano 1982 Lori Sutton 2009 Morgan Verrette, Kaitlynn Ackoury, Darnell Pledger, Travis Lavergne
1956 Sara Newman Meadows 1983 Laura Welsh 2010 Laura Dunnick, Donavan Anderson
1957 Jacqueline Bouquet 1984 Sandra Lee Canik 2011 Mathew Theriot, Danielle Morrissey
1958 Peggy Addison 1985 Phyllis Porter 2012
1959 Dena Christ 1986 Cindy McCullough 2013
1960 Anne Pellerin    1987 Pam Benoit 2014
1961 Suzanne Fuller 1988 Karen Karkalits 2015
1962 Rochelle Kristal 1989 Christiane Bono
1963 Diane Primeaux 1990 Shelly Lea Broussard 
1964 Nannette Benoit 1991 Becky LaPointe
1965 Becky Simpson 1992 Melanie Faulk
1966 Linda Kaye Smith 1993 Jennifer Romero
1967 Melissa Stewart 1994 Kelly LeBert
1968 Laura Faye Daigle 1995 Jennifer Buras
1969 Cathy Abelson 1996 Kimberly Habetz
1970 Willie Landry 1997 Christine Habetz and Jarvis Parsons
1971 Cindi Dyer 1998 Kristen Istre and Frances Wilson
Honors College. The McNeese State University Honors College was established to meet the needs of undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional ability and motivation. Students admitted to the Honors College pursue a traditional major and are provided an enhanced academic experience with unique intellectual opportunities. Honors College courses are taught by outstanding faculty who require students to explore topics in greater depth or at a higher level of sophistication than in ordinary classes.

Hopkins, Dennis.  Hopkins received a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Baylor University, a master's degree from West Texas State University, and a doctorate (ABD) in Conducting from the University of Northern Colorado.  Before directing the McNeese Band, he was the band director at Memorial High School in Houston, Texas.  Hopkins' high school bands achieved many honors, such as Bands of America Regional Marching Champions and the Texas Music Educators Association’s State Honor Band of Texas.  Since leaving McNeese, Hopkins has directed bands at University of Mary-Hardin Baylor and the University of Wyoming.  He is currently the Administrative Supervisor of Fine Arts for the Austin (Texas) Independent School District.

Hurricane Audrey. Hurricane Audrey hit Cameron, Louisiana during the evening of June 27, 1957 as a Category 4 storm. 390-500 people died from the storm. McNeese served as the headquarters for the National Guard and Red Cross relief efforts. For digital images from the McNeese Archives & Special Collections Department, please visit the LOUISiana Digital Library (search for "Hurricane Audrey"). Bibliography available at: .

Hurricane Rita. On Wednesday, September 21, 2005, Hurricane Rita churned in the Gulf of Mexico, a Category 5 storm. The National Weather Service forecasted landfall around the central or northern Texas coast. McNeese officials decided to close the University for the remainder of the week, fully expecting to resume classes the following Monday. Most students, staff, and faculty left campus that Wednesday afternoon looking forward to an unexpected holiday, thankful for the extra two days to study, grade papers, or just relax.

Over the next two days, Rita changed course and struck the Texas-Louisiana border on Friday, September 23, 2005. Calcasieu and Cameron Parish officials called for a mandatory evacuation on September 22, 2005, which remained in effect until October 9, 2005.

Before the hurricane hit, the McNeese Information Technology Department re-located its operations to Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. This move enabled the Human Resources Department to distribute paychecks on time to displaced employees via Western Union. Moving the IT operations to Ruston also allowed McNeese administrators to provide regularly updated information to students and employees via the University’s webpage.

In the days just after the storm, McNeese set up a base camp for 1500 first responders from all over the country who came to the aid of the University and the entire Southwest Louisiana community. FEMA also used the camp as its headquarters. The base camp offered housing tents, medical facilities, a dining area, laundry, and showers. Almost immediately, the McNeese Facilities Department began clearing debris from the campus and assessing damages.

A Louisiana state policy requires that any state building without power for more than three days must undergo environmental testing. The McNeese campus, and most of the SWLA area, did not have electricity for approximately two weeks. Experts from the state Office of Risk Management conducted the environmental testing, which included architectural, mechanical, and engineering assessments. Due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina one month prior, state resources for performing environmental testing were stretched thin and the tests took longer than normal to complete.

On October 27, 2005, McNeese re-opened for some classes, a full five weeks after closing for the storm. Web classes resumed immediately and traditional classes resumed on a rolling schedule, as state inspectors cleared buildings for occupation. Farrar Hall was the first building opened on October 26, 2005. Administrators struggled to re-arrange class schedules and prepare temporary classrooms in five modular buildings assembled on the Intramural Field. To accommodate the lost class time, administrators added additional time to individual class periods and extended the semester schedule by two weeks. Approximately 700 students withdrew from McNeese due to Hurricane Rita. By November 2, 2005, almost all classes had resumed.

The older campus dormitories suffered major damage, with Burton Hall closed indefinitely. Students living in damaged dorms were excused from classes until they could move into newer dorm rooms or find other living arrangements. Some students and employees moved onto a U.S. Navy clipper ship docked at the Port of Lake Charles. The ship’s crew provided meals and the City of Lake Charles provided transportation to and from campus. Most dorms opened by November 11, 2005. McNeese completed the fall 2005 semester when Graduation was held on December 23, 2005.

In the end, 67 facilities, nearly every building on the McNeese campus, suffered damages. While the repairs and remediation continue today, McNeese expects the total damage to buildings, roofs, equipment, and landscaping to cost at least $30 million. On December 15, 2005, Dr. Hebert accepted a $1.5 million grant from the Bush-Clinton Katrina Relief Fund, a foundation created by the former presidents to help the recovery and rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region from hurricane damage. The State Insurer and FEMA will provide additional funds.

The spring 2006 semester began on January 18 with Burton dormitory, the Financial Aid office, the Recreation Center, Frazar Memorial Library, the Student Union, Gayle Hall, Frasch annex, Drew Hall, and Bulber Auditorium still closed. Bulber Auditorium, on the National Register of Historic Places, requires extensive repairs. Several of McNeese’s majestic oak trees suffered irrevocable damage and will necessitate replacement. To date, three buildings remain unusable. Due to the elevated cost of construction as a result of the storm, four previously-approved capital construction projects remain delayed (February 1, 2007).

MSU Encyclopedia Index

Jackson, Sonny. Jackson was the head football coach from 1987 to 1989.


Johnson, George. Johnson was the first librarian of McNeese. In April 1942, he was called to active duty in the United States Marines, where he served as a Lieutenant. He was killed in the South Pacific in the spring of 1943. He was the first McNeese faculty member to die in action in World War II.

"Jolie Blonde" [see also School Song].  "Jolie Blonde" (or "Joli Blon") is a popular Cajun waltz often referred to as the “Cajun National Anthem.” The song was made famous by Harry Choates in the late 1940s. The McNeese Band began playing the song in 1951 under Band Director Eddie See. In 1970, "Jolie Blonde" became the official school song.

Jones, Clara Louise.  Jones, a biology teacher, was a member of the original faculty of Lake Charles Junior College in 1939.  She became the head of the Biological Sciences Department in 1962. 


Jordan, Buford. Jordan was born in Iota, Louisiana and graduated from McNeese in 1984. Jordan played tailback on the football team and broke many records in rushing. He went on to play for the New Orleans Breakers (now the Saints) from 1986 to 1992.

MSU Encyclopedia Index

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