McNeese State University was established by the Louisiana Legislature in 1938 and opened its doors for its first fall session on September 11, 1939, with 140 students and just three buildings. The institution was first named the Lake Charles Junior College and was a division of Louisiana State University. The following fall, the school changed its name to John McNeese Junior College to honor 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 in its own right and came under the authority of the Louisiana Board of Education and would receive accreditation in 1954 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Finally, in 1970, McNeese State University became the official name of the institution.
McNeese, located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, consists of the 122-acre main campus, the 65-acre Doland Athletics Complex that includes the state-of-the-art Legacy Center, the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Center, the Center for Advancement of Meat Production and Processing, KBYS 88.3 FM Radio Station and three working farms with over 1,200 acres of property used for research, farming, and ranching. The main campus comprises over 50 buildings including the three original structures – Kaufman Hall, Ralph O. Ward Memorial Gym (the Arena), and Francis G. Bulber Auditorium, a striking example of Art Deco architecture listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For over eight decades, the institution has been recognized as one of the finest regional universities in the South. McNeese is a dynamic, student-centric university comprised of students from throughout Louisiana, the United States, and over 50 countries.
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