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McNeese State University started as the Lake Charles Junior College and was established by the Louisiana Legislature in the opening fall session on September 11, 1939, with a first class of 140 students. The McNeese campus had just three buildings: Kaufman Hall, Ralph O. Ward Memorial Gym, and Francis G. Bulber Auditorium. The following fall, the university’s name was changed to John McNeese Junior College in honor of John McNeese, a renowned Southwest Louisiana educator and the first superintendent of schools in Imperial Calcasieu Parish. In 1950, McNeese became a four-year college and came under the authority of the Louisiana Board of Education. Finally, in 1970, McNeese State University became the official name of the school.
From these humble beginnings, McNeese State University has grown to over 6,000 students from throughout Louisiana, the United States, and over 50 countries.
Our 121-acre main campus has grown from the original three buildings to over 50, including Chozen, Gayle, Drew, and Farrar Halls, the Shearman Fine Arts Annex, and our new Health & Human Performance Complex. Bulber Auditorium, a striking example of Art Deco architecture, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Beyond our main campus, McNeese’s satellite facilities cover a further 1,400 acres, including the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center, the Center for Advancement of Meat Processing and Production (CAMPP) and three working farms.
McNeese State University is a student-centric university whose mission is to change the lives of students through quality education and to provide services to the employers and communities in its region. McNeese uses a traditional admissions process based on courses completed, grade point average (GPA), and standardized test scores.
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