McNeese State University Encyclopedia
Patricia A. Threatt, Editor
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.
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.
We hail our Alma Mater,
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 http://www.mcneesealumni.com.
Alumni Association Presidents:
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
DR. JOHN R. “MICKEY” ROYER
(1954) 1984 .
.Awarded for bringing recognition and distinction to
CYRUS VAUGHN (1954) 1986 .
.Awarded for bringing recognition and distinction to
KENNETH S. SWEENEY (1950) 1988 .
.Awarded for his leadership and integrity which have helped to strengthen
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
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
JOHN WARNER SMITH (1976)
.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)
.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.
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.
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.
Banners. 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.
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 www.bluekey.org for more information.
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, 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.
Caldwell Brothers and Hart.
This company built the “college building” (now
and the McNeese Auditorium of Lake Charles Junior College in 1939.
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.
Colleges. 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:
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 graduated in 1964 and joined the Army. 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.
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.
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.
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]
Foundation. 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.
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.
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.
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.
MSU Encyclopedia Index
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
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
Hall to house the
College of Nursing and the
Dr. Hatcher served briefly as
Dean during the 1940-1941 school year replacing
Farrar. He went on to be President of
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:
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: http://ereserves.mcneese.edu/depts/archive/audrey.htm . 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).
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.
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.
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