McNeese State University, 1939-1987
A Chronicle


(Transcribed by Leora White)


by Joe Gray Taylor

Edited by Cheryl Ware and Tom Fox




I. The Beginnings

1880 – 1902
1902 – 1938
1938 – 1940
1940 – 1941

II. War and Survival

1941 – 1942
1942 – 1943
1943 – 1944
1944 – 1945

III. The Junior College: Glory Years

1945 – 1946
1946 – 1947
1947 – 1948
1948 – 1949
1949 – 1950
1950 – 1951

IV. Crises, Changes, and Growth

1950 – 1951
1951 – 1952
1952 – 1953
1953 – 1954
1954 – 1955

V. Growing Pains

1954 – 1955
1955 – 1956
1956 – 1957
1957 – 1958

VI. Bigger and Perhaps Better (1958 – 1961)

1958 – 1959
1959 – 1960
1960 – 1961

VII. Struggling On

1961 – 1962
1962 – 1963
1963 – 1964

VIII. Hard Times

1964 – 1965
1965 – 1966
1966 – 1967

IX. Growing Ambitions

1967 – 1968
1968 – 1969
1969 – 1970

X. Interesting Times

1969 – 1972
1970 – 1971
1971 – 1972

XI. Holding On

1972 – 1973
1973 – 1974
1974 – 1975

XII. Marking Time

1975 – 1976
1976 – 1977
1977 – 1978
1978 – 1979

XIII. A Change of Pace

1979 – 1980
1979 – 1980
1980 – 1981

XIV. Hitting a Peak

1981 – 1982
1982 – 1983

EPILOGUE (1983 – 1987)


APPENDIX: Student and Alumni Leaders


Unfortunately, Dr. Joe Gray Taylor, who persevered in completing the manuscript of this book in spite of terminal illness, did not live to provide a conventional preface, which provides background to the publication and acknowledges the good services of people who have been particularly helpful to the author. The author no longer present to see the book through the process of editing, printing, and marketing, his friends and colleagues have to a great extent turned the publication of the book into a labor of devotion.

A true scholar of the history of the southern United States, Dr. Taylor undertook the project to research and write a history of McNeese State University at the request of former university president Dr. Jack V. Doland and then vice-president, now president, Dr. Robert D. Hebert. The author of such an institutional history must choose an approach to the task – to make the history, for example, basically a picture book, a narrative of the accomplishments of academic leaders who built edifices and increased curricula, or a chronicle of the names and deeds of students and faculty members. Dr. Taylor’s use of the word chronicle in the title of this history indicates clearly the approach he chose, which emphasizes the roles played by many students, members of faculty and staff, and administrators in the life of the university for its first fifty years.

To assist readers, many of whom will be alumni perhaps more interested in the years they spent at the university than in the complete story, the book includes a table of contents which gives the years serving as subheadings of chapters and the numbers of pages upon which the accounts of the years begin. In addition, the appendix provides lists of selected campus leaders by year for the past fifty years, and the book concludes with an index of persons’ names. (Note from transcribers: Since there are no page numbers in this transcribed text, the index to persons' names is not included. Names can be searched using the find key.)

The financial assistance of two different groups on campus has made the printing of the book possible at a time when the university could hardly otherwise have underwritten the expense of the project. Contributions by the Friends of the Library have helped support this project and other aspects of the celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary. And by generously recommending that certain unclaimed student assessment money be made available to support the celebration, the Student Government Association provided moral and financial support vital to the occasion. The students of McNeese are underwriting most of the cost of the anniversary celebration.

For assistance in the preparation of the text of this book, a number of people deserve credit.

Five longtime members of the McNeese community have contributed significantly to the book project. Dr. Francis Bulber, longtime dean and still valued cultural leader, served as an important source and later read the manuscript. Miss Dolive Benoit, esteemed by generations of students of French at McNeese, also suggested revisions. And Dr. Thomas Watson, Head of the Department of History and longtime resident of Lake Charles, has helped find errors in names. Miss Audrey Louviere, visiting lecturer in English and secretary in the Department of Military Science, has helped make sense of apparent inconsistencies in records concerning student leadership in the corps of cadets. Mr. Benjamin Harlow, Executive Director of Community and Educational Services, has been a worthy advocate of the project in his capacity as chairman of the committee in charge of organizing the celebration of the 50th anniversary.

Through their special fields of expertise, three other members of the campus community aided Dr. Taylor and the editors who have completed preparation of the manuscript for the press. Mr. Dwayne McCoy of University Computer Services has provided valuable technical information and customized programming. Mrs. Kathie Bordelon, archivist at Frazar Memorial Library, has provided access to and assistance with source materials and has shown uncommon concern for accuracy in her reading of the manuscript. Miss Linda Finley, registrar, has helped promptly and cheerfully to verify names and dates.

Especial favorites of Dr. Taylor, two gracious and talented members of the McNeese staff have done much work of many kinds in order to help carry work on the project forward. Mrs. Arleen Cutrera, secretary to the Department of History, entered persons’ names for the index and helped the editors cheerfully in many ways. Mrs. Wanda Stanton, secretary in the College of Liberal Arts, not only assisted Dr. Taylor from day to day as he made time to complete the manuscript in spite of a busy schedule, but also did most of the initial typing of the book.

The cover design, colorfully based upon a computer-enhanced photograph of John McNeese, was done by Professor Martin Bee of the Department of Visual Arts.

Finally, the editor and the coeditor have gone far beyond the normal requirements of their positions in order to prepare the manuscript of an author who, regrettably, could not be present to see the history through the printing process. The modesty of the two editors, incidentally, caused this preface to be written by a third party able to give due credit. Dr. Cheryl Ware, Associate Professor of English, was named by Dr. Taylor to edit the text for style and content. Dr. Thomas Fox, Associate Professor of History, was asked by Dr. Taylor to provide the necessary computer skills to index the names in the book and to place the completed manuscript on diskettes as well. The two editors have performed their assigned tasks and probably surpassed Dr. Taylor’s expectations through their concern for good form and accuracy.

Finally, if Dr. Taylor had lived to write this preface, he very likely would have concluded with thanks to Mrs. Helen Taylor, for whose constant support he seemed always grateful.


John McNeese was born July 4, 1843, to parents who had emigrated from Scotland to the United States and settled in or near Baltimore, Maryland. They had three children, two boys and a girl, when both parents died of tuberculosis. The little girl was sent back across the Atlantic to be raised by relatives in Scotland; the two boys became the wards of a Dr. Andrew Stafford of Baltimore. (1) Dr. Stafford saw to it that his wards got the best education available in Maryland at the time, and it is significant that this education included instruction in music. The brother, unfortunately, succumbed to the same dread disease that had taken his parents.

Maryland was a state of mixed sympathies in 1861, but John McNeese, eighteen years of age, enlisted in the Union Army. He served one three-year enlistment and was one of those proud Union veterans who opted for a second enlistment because they knew they were needed to finish the war. Not many details of McNeese’s military career are available, but he was definitely part of the Union line at Gettysburg during the decisive first three days of July 1863. In Southwest Louisiana in the late nineteenth century he probably did not talk a great deal about his Union Army service.

He came out of the Civil War with his health damaged, apparently suffering from an incipient case of the disease that killed his parents and his younger brother. Electing the best treatment known at the time, a dry climate, he moved to Menard County, Texas, where he was successful at cattle grazing and in a mercantile business. His neighbors thought well enough of him to elect him clerk of the county court. This prosperity did not last. Like hundreds of thousands of others, he was financially ruined by the Great Panic of 1873, which was the beginning of a depression to rival those of 1837 and 1929.

John McNeese sold out his mercantile business for what it would bring and joined five other cattlemen in driving their cattle to New Orleans by way of the Old Spanish Trail. Drouth afflicted Texas in 1873, and the cattle, not fat at the beginning of the drive, were almost literally no more than hide, horn and hoof by the time they reached the Sabine. There most of the unfortunate beasts foundered themselves eating switch cane that they could not digest. The drovers herded the few head they had left across the Sabine and the Calcasieu and sold them to Captain Daniel Goos, who operated a sawmill and grazed cattle on the side. McNeese and several of the other drovers decided to stay in Calcasieu Parish. This was, of course, "Imperial Calcasieu," including the area that now makes up Beauregard, Jeff Davis, and Allen parishes. Lake Charles was the parish seat, but it was only a village; in fact, it had been incorporated only six years before McNeese arrived. Louisiana had done little for the education of its people before the Civil War; public schools had hardly existed. During Reconstruction there was an effort to establish public schools, but little was accomplished. John McNeese decided that he could support himself as a teacher of penmanship and singing, so he offered his services.

The young man must have been an excellent teacher, because he not only made a living but also by common consent earned for himself the title of "professor." He apparently began in the northern part of the parish, because he courted Susan Bilbo, daughter of William Bilbo, a prosperous landowner of the Ragley area. The couple was married on July 4, 1876, McNeese’s thirty-third birthday. They made their first home in Lake Charles (actually near Lake Charles in those days, between the present Southern Pacific Railroad and the Calcasieu River about the line of Moss Street). There he continued his career as a subscription teacher of penmanship and music; taught regular "terms," usually three months each year, in public schools at Mermentau, Dry Creek, Barnes Creek, Welsh, and Lake Charles; and also read law in the office of Judge G. A. Fournet. In 1886 he and his family moved to New Orleans so that he could study law at Tulane University. He apparently finished in 1887, because he returned to Lake Charles and entered the practice of law for a brief period.

The earnings of a man only a few months out of law school were probably inadequate to support the six children that had been born to John McNeese and Susan Bilbo by this time. He had been elected to the parish school board in 1883 and soon had become the secretary of the board, so it was not a great surprise when the office of superintendent of education was created that he was elected unanimously. For better or worse, he was to be intimately connected with Louisiana education for the rest of his life.

Calcasieu schools were, to say the least, primitive. In 1890, when McNeese made his first report as superintendent, there were 24 schools in the parish, and their average cost to the parish was $35.00 a month each. The exact number of children attending is not known, but it was not much more than 500. Most children, if they attended any school at all, attended a private or church school. In the beginning, someone in the community provided a building and the parish school board provided a teacher for public schools, but under McNeese the community had to provide an acre of land, and the building constructed on that land had to meet minimum standards set by the school board, including a well and privies.

By increasing the number of public schools, McNeese effected a virtual revolution in attendance. By 1892 the parish had 114 schools employing 185 teachers. This averaged out to about 40 children per school. The new superintendent had demonstrated that people would send their children to public schools if decent public schools were available. In 1892 the one-room school was still prevalent, but there were some schools with two or more teachers. "Normal schools," held in the summer months, improved the quality of instruction.

McNeese had become superintendent of education just as the nature of Calcasieu Parish in general and Lake Charles in particular was changing drastically. Lake Charles had begun as a minor mercantile center for an agricultural area producing cotton, cattle, and sheep for sale. Then during the 1870’s a major lumbering industry, one that would last into the 1920’s, developed. Finally, as a result of the North American Land and Timber Company’s employment of Seaman A. Knapp, during the 1880’s rice cultivation took over the prairies of Southwest Louisiana. Southerners did not have enough capital to develop a new type of farming, and they had no knowledge of the machinery used in grain cultivation; therefore most of the original rice farmers came from the Middle West. These were people accustomed to public education, men and women who would support Superintendent McNeese’s efforts to improve the schools.

There can be no question that he made the effort and he did not confine himself to letters and memoranda, much less directives. He spent no more than ten days a month in his office; the remainder of his working time was taken up visiting the schools under his supervision. To have been a teacher in Calcasieu Parish, earning from $30 to $50 a month for three or four months a year, and to never know when Superintendent McNeese was going to drop in and observe one’s conduct of the classroom must have been somewhat conducive to anxiety, to say the least.

Like many another educator, before and since, John McNeese found that his biggest problem was finance. Louisiana wanted good education, but Louisianans were most reluctant to pay for it. State appropriation during the 1880’s dropped below the $500, 000 a year that had been appropriated during the years of Reconstruction. Divided among the parishes, these state funds were only a pittance. Parish schools got the proceeds from certain fines, from a poll tax that was poorly collected, from section-sixteen funds when there were any, a dollar from each family with a child in school, and such funds as the parish police jury or city councils might reluctantly provide. It was not nearly enough.

In 1898, for reasons that had nothing to do with education, a convention met to draw up a new state constitution. The governor at the time was Murphy J. Foster of St. Mary Parish, an acquaintance, perhaps a personal friend, of John McNeese. First in Calcasieu Parish, then at a state meeting of parish superintendents in New Orleans, McNeese argued for giving local governmental units the power to levy property taxes for the support of the schools. He then called on the governor and asked for such a clause in the new state constitution. The governor was persuaded, and the authorization went into the new basic law. The Louisiana Constitution of 1898 did not have much to recommend it, but it did provide a financial foundation for public education in the state.

With this new financial support, McNeese, no longer young, could institute procedures that he had long advocated. For example, the system of school reports he devised was adopted for statewide use. For the first time, a system of uniform textbooks became the rule, though, since parents had to buy these books, they were a burden to poor families. Most important, McNeese was now able to pay higher salaries, though certainly not extravagant ones, and to bring in better qualified teachers for the parish schools. His own pay, incidentally, rose eventually to slightly more than $600 a year.

Year by year John McNeese oversaw the parish schools, but in time the years themselves became a vexation to him. In 1913, his seventieth year, he reluctantly informed the school board that he had to give up the burdens of his office. He was not a man to rest long. He died less than a year after beginning his retirement. With the possible exception of T. H. Harris, no man has contributed more to the development of education in Louisiana. It is fitting that McNeese State University should bear his name.


The Beginnings

Through the last twenty years of the nineteenth century there were those who wanted higher education available to the people of Lake Charles. One "college," Lake Charles College, actually existed for at least three years. This school, located on the present site of Lake Charles-Boston High School, was sponsored by the Congregational Church. It boasted a faculty of eight, including the Reverend Doctor Henry L. Hubbell, a graduate of Yale University who came to Southwest Louisiana from Amherst. This school at one time had as many as 120 students, but most were in the preparatory classes. A few were, however, reported to be taking college-level courses. (1) Lake Charles College was defunct by 1898, and in that year an effort to revive it, led by Reverend Joel T. Davis, a pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, came to nothing. (2) Likewise an effort to get the Southern Baptist Convention to take over the operation failed. In 1900, however, Acadia College, which had been established earlier in Crowley, came to Lake Charles and operated a secondary school on the site. The commencement exercise for 1902 was the last for Acadia College, however. (3)


The idea of higher education in Southwest Louisiana did not die, though it barely remained alive during the first decade of the twentieth century. The coming of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal encouraged new ideas and new ventures all over the United States, and Calcasieu Parish was no exception. Three factors came together to make Lake Charles Junior College, as McNeese was first called, possible. The parish police jury, representing the people of the parish, wanted a school. The Southwest Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association wanted an exhibit area for livestock shows and rodeos. And finally, the federal government, through the Public Works Administration and the Works Progress Administration, was making funds available for the construction of worthy public facilities. (4)

The parish police jury was in a position to take action first, because it owned an eighty-six acre tract of land south of Lake Charles on an extension of Ryan Street variously known as Poor Farm Road, Kent Corner Road, and Big Lake Road. As the first name suggests, this land had been the site of the Parish Poor Farm, though it also contained, after the war against tick fever had begun, a cattle-dipping vat. The New Deal welfare and work-relief programs had ended the need for a poor farm, so this tract was available for a junior college.

In 1935 the Association of Commerce made a project of the proposed junior college, and this movement gathered momentum during the next few years. Soon after New Year's Day in 1938 President James Monroe Smith of Louisiana State University told the Rotary Club of Lake Charles that he would fully support local efforts to establish a junior college, but he made it clear that it was up to local people to get the necessary legislation passed and to raise the money that would be needed. The pages of the Lake Charles American Press for the next few weeks make it clear that community leaders conducted an organized campaign to drum up support for the project. Among those who announced support were Arthur F. Gayle, president of the Association of Commerce, Sheriff Henry A. Reid, Senator Sidney W. Sweeney, attorney E. R. Kaufman, and such businessmen as T. L. Huber, Rupert F. Cisco, C. M. Colyer, George W. Law, and Adolph S. Marx. (5)

Obviously the police jury could not operate a junior college; nor was the Calcasieu Parish School Board prepared to do so. Ouachita Parish had opened Ouachita Parish Junior College under the parish school board in 1931, but had turned it over to Louisiana State University in 1934. (6) The new Lake Charles Junior College would be under LSU administration from the beginning. It had been the assumption of the Cattlemen’s Association that there would be only one building, with the exhibit area on the ground floor and classrooms above. Fortunately, President Smith of LSU vetoed this unhappy idea. (7) Final plans called for a classroom building, and auditorium, and the Arena.

The parish police jury called an election to authorize a bond issue for March 15, 1938. It is interesting that a series of editorials supporting the project and urging a favorable vote emphasized the services that would be provided by the Arena far more than they proclaimed the virtues of a junior college. More important is the fact that the campaign was highly successful. A bond issue of $250,000 was authorized by an overwhelming vote. In fact, the only box with a negative vote was at Starks. Has it not been for the publicity, the voters might have thought they were voting to finance only a "stock exhibit pavilion," because the junior college project did not appear on the ballot. There was a reason for this. Had the junior college been mentioned, the bonds would have had to come from the parish school board, which could not issue obligations for longer than ten years. The police jury could authorize an exhibit area and could issue twenty-year bonds. (8)

Soon the Louisiana legislature authorized the police jury to donate the poor farm land for a junior college and authorized the establishment of such a college. (9) The bill passed the House of Representatives by unanimous vote on June 5, 1938, passed the Senate on June 28, and was signed by Governor Richard Leche on July 6. (10)


These bills and an appropriation to aid in the construction were shepherded through the legislature by Senator Sidney Sweeney and Representative Robert Mutersbaugh of Lake Charles with strong support from Senator Ernest S. Clements of Oberlin and Representatives David Cole of Oberlin, Henry D. Larcade of Opelousas, P. B. Manouvrier of Jennings, J. M. Meaux of Cameron, Roland Reed of Ville Platte, and Dr. J. W. Shaw of Vinton. (11)

Funds for the new institution came from three sources, the first being the local bond issue referred to above. The federal Public Works Administration provided $405, 000. The total amount of the bond issue and the federal grant - $655, 000 - was the estimated cost of the Arena and a classroom-administration building, but the Auditorium was not provided for. Therefore the legislature appropriated an additional $250,000 to build the Auditorium. (12)

Apparently the successful bidder on the Arena project was A. Farnell Blair of Lake Charles. Caldwell Brothers and Hart were awarded the contract for the "college building," now Kaufman Hall, on December 14, 1938, for a bid of $277, 313.13. The same company won the contract for the Auditorium with a bid of $293, 913.13. Even before contracts were awarded, then Colonel Troy H. Middleton, substituting for President Smith of LSU, had turned over a shovel full of earth to signal the beginning of construction. Incredible as it may seem to those who have watched the agonizingly slow progress of projects let on state contract in recent years, Kaufman Hall was ready for registration of the Lake Charles Junior College’s first class on September 11, 1939, only nine months after the letting of the contract. The cafeteria was still not quite ready, so students and faculty had to "brown bag" lunch for six weeks. The building was accepted on January 2, 1940. The Auditorium came along just as rapidly; it was dedicated on January 19, 1940. Those who have observed state contracts in recent years will not be surprised to learn that the parish police jury soon authorized the college authorities to sue the contractor for faulty construction. Water was seeping through the walls of both Kaufman Hall and the Auditorium. (13)

In the meantime a faculty was being assembled. Dr. Joseph Farrar, Professor of Education and Director of Student Teaching at LSU, was chosen by the university as the first dean of Lake Charles Junior College. Farrar was from Union Parish and had been a high school principal for sixteen years before finishing his B.S. at LSU in 1922 and getting a Ph.D. from George Peabody College for Teachers. When he left Lake Charles Junior College, he became president of Louisiana State Normal College, now Northwestern State University. W. B. Nash, principal of Central School in Lake Charles, was named registrar. Robert Alexander was supervisor of buildings and grounds, and he had as his assistant a young man named Wallace Lee. Mrs. J. Lionel Farque, better known as "Aunt Myrtle," was in charge of the cafeteria. (14)

The faculty, in addition to Dean Farrar and Registrar Nash, was made up of thirteen dedicated and exceptionally able men and women. Some devoted the remainder of their professional lives to McNeese. Among them were Dolive Benoit, a noted teacher of French; Kathleen Allums, an outstanding musician; John Oakley, a fine chemist who arrived for second semester and who retired as purchasing agent of the university; Ada Sabatier, who made history meaningful to two generations of students; Clara Louise Jones, a biologist who began the superior pre-medical training that has distinguished McNeese to this day; R. Miriam Callender, who taught health and physical education to thousands of young women; and C. A. Girard, a man described by many McNeese alumni as "the best teacher I ever had," and who retired as dean of the Graduate School. Sybil Virginia Alexander, William H. Bradford, C. F. Tuttle, E. H. Crews, and George Johnson were just as well known and just as respected by the students they taught, but they were not on campus as long as those previously named. (15)

One hundred and forty young men and women took advantage of the opportunity to register at Lake Charles Junior College in September 1939. The faces of 110 students beam out from the pages of the simple yearbook, the Log, that was published the next spring, 38 women and 72 men. They were too numerous to be listed by name, but student officers were Clyde Ripley, president; G. W. Ford, Jr. vice president; Doris Drost, secretary; Burnell Pinder, treasurer; D. W. Herlong, reporter; and Preston Cutler, sergeant-at-arms. Halim Rahbany, a transfer from American University in Beirut, gave an international flavor to the student body. They had a basketball team that apparently played surrounding high schools, they had dances, dramatics, clubs, choral groups, and debates, and during the winter they had a snow heavy enough that a large snowman was built on campus. They elected five pretty young women as "favorites," but the Log does not reveal their names. (16)

Fees were $12.50 per semester in 1939-1940, and it was estimated that the average student would spend $12.50 to $25 a year on books. Only freshman classes were offered that first year. Every student had to take the History of Western Civilization for two semesters, two semesters of basic English, "Books and Libraries" for one-semester-hour credit, and two semester hours of physical education. All students were required to take at least six hours of mathematics or science, and earn at least six hours in French, music, or speech. Academic regulations were strict. A student who had not passed six semester hours at the end of the first six weeks was suspended, as was one who was not passing nine hours at the end of twelve weeks. If a student did not pass nine hours for the semester, he could not register for the following semester. (17)


There was no graduation in the spring of 1940; that would have to wait until those who entered in 1939 had completed their second year. In late March, however, a dedication of the new college was held. The Louisiana State University Symphony Orchestra played, directed by an LSU instructor named Francis Bulber. Bulber joined the junior college faculty that fall, and over the next 40 years he contributed at least as much as any other man to the academic and artistic development of McNeese. His coming heralded an increase in offerings in music. The LSU theater group put on a play, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, in the new Auditorium, and, naturally, President Paul Hebert of LSU made a speech. (18)

In the fall of 1940, no fewer than 242 students registered at what was now officially John McNeese Junior College of Louisiana State University. The faculty had to be enlarged to care for the additional students and the additional classes that had to be offered for the sophomores. Dean Farrar left for Northwestern during the year, and Dr. William B. Hatcher, soon to become president of LSU, came to Lake Charles and functioned as dean until the end of the spring semester. Wayne Cusic, one day to be president of McNeese, joined Callender and Crews on the Physical Education faculty and coached basketball. James E. Seay joined Girard in teaching English, Vestel C. Askew taught agriculture, and Freda Scoggins taught speech. Miller B. Clarkson was a new instructor who taught physics and aided William H. Bradford in the teaching of mathematics. Muriel Clare Rogers and Francis Bulber, already mentioned, joined Kathleen Allums in instructing students in music, a field in which McNeese has been distinguished from that day to this. Gertrude Palmer came as a teacher of office systems and business communication, known in those simpler days as typing and shorthand, and Sara Landau taught sociology. (19)

The second Catalogue stated the purpose of John McNeese Junior College:

It is the purpose of the President and the Board of Supervisors of the Louisiana State University to bring, through the junior college, the facilities of the University closer to the young men and women of Southwest Louisiana, and at a greatly reduced cost. The courses offered …. are there for primarily the same as those offered in the first two years on the campus of the University at Baton Rouge, although the college offers several terminal courses for those who do not expect to matriculate at senior colleges. High school graduates of Southwest Louisiana who plan to attend the University are urged to spend their freshman and sophomore years in the Lake Charles Junior College. (20)

One of the pioneer students at McNeese deserves special mention. Miss Geraldine Lowery, it was reported in 1940, used the "Easter recess" to invite her cousin, the Duchess of Windsor, in Havana, Cuba. During Miss Lowey’s sophomore year she enrolled in an aircraft pilot training course offered through the college. She and Dolive Benoit were the only women to do so. Miss Lowery successfully completed the course making her first solo cross-country flight from Lake Charles to Lafayette. In an interview afterward Miss Lowery, who was from Pensacola, said that she had planned to be a chemical engineer, but that her flying experience was inclining her toward a career as a flight instructor. Obviously, women’s activities were not unduly restricted. (21)

Activities expanded during the second year. A football team was added to the basketball team, and twenty-eight players, four cheerleaders, and four managers were awarded letters in February 1941. The sweaters were donated by Calcasieu Marine National Bank. In March Governor Sam Houston Jones, a citizen of Lake Charles, inspected the campus and agreed that a roof was needed over the Arena so that is could house basketball games, indoor tennis, and physical education classes. At some time during the 1940-1941 year, the Deacons, a social organization for men and the bellwether for the fraternities that came later, was formed. The climax of the social season came in February, when La Jeunesse, the French club, sponsored the Jean Lafitte costume ball; Horace Lyons and Marjorie North won first prize for best costumes. May brought a flurry of activity. In the new Auditorium, McNeese music students gave their first recital on May 15, and four days later Dr. M. V. Hargrove, principal of Oakdale High School and one-time student of John McNeese, presented the first of a number of pictures of that educational pioneer that have come to the university. Dr. Hargrove also expressed his hope that the "junior" would soon be bottled out of the college’s name. (22)

On December 15, 1940, Francis Bulber directed the first performance of Handel’s Messiah in the McNeese Auditorium. The idea has existed for several years, and choir directors from a number of churches had discussed the possibility. Now the college provided a director and a site. The 1940 choir had 85 voices, nearly all from local church choirs. In fact, a number of Lake Charles churches made the performance their evening worship service. Soloists were contralto Muriel Clare Rogers of McNeese; contralto Mrs. H. J. Wiedman, available because she was visiting Lake Charles from California; bass Rodney Cline, then at Louisiana Tech; sopranos Mrs. Claude Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Nate Marshall, and Mrs. Edwin Knapp; and tenors Harold Cline and Edward Knapp. The only accompaniment were the pianos of Kathleen Allums and private piano instructor Minerva Petty. No written evidence of the number attending this performance is available, but it was "good," according to many who attended. Nobody there seems to have had any idea that they were beginning something that would go on for half a century and more, but they were. (23)

The first John McNeese Junior College class graduated on Thursday, May 29, 1941. Standards certainly had been high; of the 140 students who had registered in September 1939, only 75 were expected to graduate. These students were walking out into a dangerous world. Before the year was over, the United States would be at war. Even so, the little junior college south of Lake Charles was fairly launched. It would encounter hard times, but it would survive. (24)


War and Survival

The earth was a far darker planet in the autumn of 1941 than it had been in the fall of 1939 when Lake Charles Junior College opened its doors. France had been defeated a year earlier, and England had barely survived the Battle of Britain. Nazi armies had plunged deep into the Soviet Union and were menacing Moscow, and Nazi submarines threatened to cut supplies going from the United States to Britain. In the Pacific the Japanese had ignored our objections to their invasion of China and then had occupied Indochina and Thailand.

Faced with these dangers, the United States had begun conscripting men for the first time ever when the nation was not at war. As it seemed more and more likely that this country would become involved in the struggle, the American defense industry was beginning to gear up. One silver lining did show through these ominous clouds. War production for the Allies and for ourselves was finally bringing an end to the depression that had plagued the United States from 1929 through 1940. The junior college had had some experience with the military during the Louisiana maneuvers of 1941. Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, who would lead the Sixth Army from New Guinea to Luzon, had made the Auditorium his headquarters, and the campus became a scene of intense activity. Liaison planes took off from and landed on a temporary airstrip marked off on the grass. Many men whose names would become well-known in the next four years participated in these maneuvers. One was a young colonel named Dwight D. Eisenhower, who lodged in the Majestic Hotel in down-town Lake Charles and bivouacked on McNeese property. (1)

Enrollment at McNeese had been predominantly male, and the call of patriotism no doubt took into the armed forces young men who might have attended the junior college. More significant was the fact that there were new job opportunities; and young men, and probably some young women, who might have attended college, instead went to work. Enrollment in the fall of 1941 was significantly lower than it had been in the fall of 1940. Some 222 students registered in September, and by spring the student body was down to 176. For the next three years, McNeese would be hard put to attract enough students to justify its existence. (2)


The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, changed everything. The young McNeese faculty and the student body realized that tragic Sunday that their lives had been altered. Indeed, the lives of some had been shortened, thought that knowledge was mercifully withheld. Not much attention was paid to lesson assignments the Monday following that momentous Sunday, and on Tuesday, December 9, 1941, the faculty and the student body assembled in the Auditorium to hear President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tell Congress that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor would forever be "a day of infamy" and to ask for a declaration of war against the Japanese Empire. That declaration was duly forthcoming whereupon Germany and Italy declared war against the United States. Probably everyone at that assembly realized that for a generation of Americans, life would never again be the same. (3)

With fewer students in attendance, it was necessary that offerings be restricted some what, but students began finding things to do, Academic and otherwise. The Music Department was especially busy. The second Messiah performance came in December, and in January Kathleen Allums gave a piano recital. In the spring the band finally got uniforms, and Betty Bird of McNeese was one of sixteen instrumentalists chosen to play with the New Orleans Symphony. The debate team won five of six contests in a tournament at Ruston. Mr. Philip Uzee, instructor in history and government, read a paper on the Louisiana historian Charles Gayarre at the Annual Meeting of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences, setting a scholarly precedent that has been observed hundreds of times since. Of the students registered for the fall semester, 30 earned a place on the honor roll. Tom Ford and Gene Dietz, both graduates of Lake Charles High School, had the highest grades. Forty-eight sophomore students graduated at the end of the spring semester, 1942. (4)

All athletics were intramural, but the student newspaper, the Contraband, noted that Mack Abraham, Frank Mistretta, and William Tasco were the leading basketball players. Intramural boxing also attracted some attention. The Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors approved an athletic budget for outside competition in 1942-1943, but the pressures of war would negate this, and athletics would remain on campus, or in the vicinity of Lake Charles, until the war was almost over. (5)

A group of young men which included Harcourt Stebbins, Howard Bulloch, Everett Scott, Jack Bogie, Elvin Daigle, and David Doane became the officers of the "Phalanx Fraternity," whatever that may have been. If students had nothing else to do, they could watch the cows that grazed on the campus until a cattle guard was finally installed at the entrance from Ryan Street. Before the end of the spring semester, 1942, Works Projects Administration workers completed fencing the campus and planted azaleas around the circle in front of the administration building. In late March the Cattlemen’s Association held its third fat stock show in the Arena, and once more Governor Sam Jones was on hand to lend his prestige to the event. (6)

It is evident that he war was the main concern of faculty and students after Pearl Harbor. In January male students met to discuss the possibility of a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) unit at McNeese, and by March an independent military drill unit was functioning even though those drilling had to purchase their own uniforms. Registrar W. B. Nash, a reserve officer, supervised the drill. C.A. Girard, who had attended the Naval Academy at Annapolis, gave the students a lecture on military courtesy, and Miller B. Clarkson and John Oakley gave instructions on dealing with incendiary bombs. Not to be outdone, physical education instructor Wayne Cusic taught a first aid class sponsored by the Office of Civilian Defense. A "Defense Activities for Women" group of faculty and faculty wives busied themselves making bandages, and both faculty and student enthusiastically participated in a "victory garden" contest sponsored by the Lake Charles American Press in the spring of 1942. (7)

Librarian George Johnson had been called to active duty in the United States Marines early in the war, and in April 1942, Registrar Nash, a veteran of the First World War, returned to duty as an Army captain. In June newspapers carried a notice that former McNeese student Jesse M. Cummings was an Army Aviation Cadet at Cimarron Field, Oklahoma, and in July it was announced that another former student, Harry Nunez of Cameron Parish, had been named a Naval Aviation Cadet and had been assigned to Pensacola, Florida, for training. (8)

Like most other colleges in the United States at the time, John McNeese Junior college sought help from the federal government in keeping up its enrollment. One way this was accomplished was by encouraging students to participate in the Navy’s V-1 program. Under this program a young man could enlist in the Navy Reserve abut continue in college, at his own expense, for two years. At the end of two years, if his work had been satisfactory, he would move into the Navy’s V-5 or V-7 officer-training program. Also, students could enlist in the Army Aviation Reserve and, barring emergency, could complete two years of college before being called to active duty. (9)


The first summer school in McNeese history took place during the summer of 1942. This had been ordered by the LSU Board of Supervisors as part of a program to speed up the higher educational process from four to three years so as to provide men and women for the military or for the civilian work force at a quicker pace. The summer term was to be for twelve weeks. The McNeese administration went to great effort to attract students, even running a full-page advertisement in the newspaper of the area. School buses delivered students from as far away as Jennings, saving gasoline, which was strictly rationed. A total of 140 students took advantage of the opportunity and enrolled in summer school. (10)

When the fall semester, 1942, began, John McNeese Junior College had an official Reserve Officers Training Corps unit, a branch of the Louisiana State University Army ROTC. LSU paid for building the necessary storage facilities. Major Perry Brown became Professor of Military Science and Tactics, and Sergeant J. M. Callahan, a native of Bastrop, Texas, was placed in charge of drilling the cadets. Young men welcomed the opportunity for training, and before the end of the year ROTC was available not only at McNeese but at ten high schools in the surrounding area. In November training for women was approved by a unanimous vote of the female students. The women’s unit, under the supervision of Dolive Benoit soon to be known as the MAC's (McNeese Auxiliary Corps), was to drill twice a week, organize a drum and bugle corps, participate in Red Cross activities, and study special courses dealing with fields in which women could help with the war effort. The local newspaper said that this was the only unit of its kind in the state. (11) The first student officers, appointed in fall 1942, were Captain George Kenneth Barrett, First Lieutenant Clyde Smith, and Second Lieutenants Benny J. Mistretta and Harold J. Bourgeois. That fall also, Marion North was the first captain of the women’s unit, with Jean Goforth as first lieutenant, Marjorie Grissom and Helen Nye as second lieutenants, and Fritzi Krause as first sergeant. (12)

As early as the legislative session of 1942, there were efforts to remove McNeese from the Louisiana State University System and place it under the control of the Louisiana State Board of Education. This would have been a first step toward giving the school four-year college status. The 1942 legislature actually passed appropriations for McNeese to use independently, but these were vetoed by Governor Sam Jones. General Campbell B. Hodges, then president of LSU, assured Dean Rodney Cline that the university would continue to support McNeese on substantially the same basis as in 1941-1942, and that the junior college’s educational mission for Southwest Louisiana would not be endangered. (13)

When registration for fall semester, 1942, was completed, 83 men and 83 women had enrolled at McNeese. To help those who lived in Lake Charles get to school without using precious gasoline, the junior college purchase two station wagons that followed specified routes around the city to pick up students. When elections were held for the Student Senate, Juanita Greene, Fritzi Krause, Marion North, Mack Abraham, George Ashy, and Grady Dugas represented the sophomore class, and Albert Miller, Bill Noonan, Peggy Findley, and Cornell Scoggins the freshmen. For lighter-hearted moments, the Student Social Committee, overseen by Ada Sabatier of the faculty, consisted of Juanita Greene, Everett Scott, Betty Sue Voorman, and Jack Bogie. Mack Abraham became first sergeant of the new ROTC unit. (14)

The fall of 1942 saw significant faculty changes. Mrs. Muriel Rogers Cleveland of the Music Department left to join her husband, who was on active duty in the Army, and Miss Sara Landau, who taught social sciences, accepted a position at Alabama College. Librarian George F. Bentley left to attend Army officers’ training school, and Mr. James E. Seay, Jr., Clet A. Girard, and Philip D. Uzee were all called to active duty. New faculty members included Helen Sharpe in Music, Willie Dee Jones and Willa Claire Cox in English, Sybil V. Alexander in Office Administration, and Donald J. Millet in History. Millet would finish out a distinguished career at McNeese, retiring in 1975. (15)

At the end of the fall semester, 1942, the McNeese honor roll listed Tom Ford, Gene Dietz, Ruth Monger, Martha Bell, Josie Basone, Lyndell Morris, Betty Bird, Bess Bruce, and Elaine Dugan as having the highest grade point averages. Betty Bird made her four appearances as guest soloist with the New Orleans Symphony and later gave a recital at McNeese. The third performance of Handel’s Messiah drew good notices. Carson Jeffries, who had graduated in 1941 and then gone on to LSU, made his McNeese teachers proud by winning a fellowship in mathematics at Johns Hopkins University. Two more former students, Raymond E. Gipson and Leslie Carpenter, won their pilot’s wings in the Army Air Force, and John William Rogers was reported to be at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the Navy V-5 preflight program. Students were not the only ones who distinguished themselves; Clara Louise Jones, Dolive Benoit, Kathleen Allums, John Oakley, and Ada Sabatier were promoted from instructor to assistant professor. (16)

In the spring, the ROTC cadet officers appointed in the fall had to give up their ranks and return to being buck privates so that George Ashy, Mack Abraham, Truman Fear, and Ralph Brookner could have their shots at being captain, first lieutenant, and second lieutenants, respectively. In the MAC’s, Fritzi Krause was promoted to second lieutenant and Aileen Caldwell replaced her as first sergeant. The Arena was modified to provide housing for thirty male students under the supervision of Sergeant Callahan of the ROTC, who shared the quarters. Faculty also had to be concerned with military matters; John Oakley, Francis Bulber, Wayne Cusic, C.F. Tuttle, W. H. Bradford, and Wallace Lee, supervisor of buildings and grounds for a generation, joined the State Guard, formed to keep order at home while the Louisiana National Guard was in federal service. (17)

The human costs of war were brought home to John McNeese Junior College in the spring of 1943. In January Ensign Harry Nunez became the first McNeese military fatality when his plane crashed near Jekyll Island, Georgia. Army Air Force Lieutenant Ralph Nutter, who played on McNeese’s first basketball team, died in another crash in June. Marine Lieutenant George Johnson, former librarian, was killed in the South Pacific in April. There would be more before the war ended, but these early tragedies were especially heartbreaking. (18)

Commencement brought two distinguished speakers to Lake Charles. The junior college and Lake Charles High School held a joint baccalaureate service so that the graduates of both schools could hear Dr. John L. Hill, book editor of the Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville, Tennessee. The graduation speaker at the junior college was Dr. Wendell Holmes Stephenson, one of the most noted historians in the United States, former editor of the Journal of Southern History, and in 1943 Dean of Arts and Sciences at Louisiana State University. (19)


The Catalogue for 1943-1944 carried a new statement of purpose for the struggling little junior college:

Through McNeese Junior College the facilities of Louisiana State University are made available in Southwest Louisiana. Therefore the academic plan of the Junior College works in close coordination with the freshman and sophomore years on the main campus …. Courses leading toward academic or professional degrees are offered for those intending to enter higher education later. Terminal courses in such fields as business and agriculture are available for students desiring only one or two years of college work. An attempt is made to cooperate with individuals and groups...desiring to improve their cultural or vocational training by the study of regular or special courses. Through the media of the college library, the Department of Music, and civic activities of members of the faculty, cultural leadership to a valuable degree is provided the territory served by the institution.

Summer school for 1943 began on June 4 as students enrolled for fees of only $8.34 a quarter. This was at first expected to be the first quarter of the "hurry up" wartime system under which students were to graduate in three years, though it did not work out that way. One interesting feature of the summer term of 1943 was the fact that Miss Laura McNeese, granddaughter of John McNeese, was registered. She was not a permanent student, but was normally enrolled in George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Her father was Colonel Oswald McNeese, at that time stationed in Washington. (20)

The planned quarter was cut short because McNeese was selected as the site for training 200 Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) students. This was a wartime program under which the Army selected especially talented young men, most of them in their teens, and gave them additional education on the theory that thus they could be of even greater service to their country. The McNeese administration, of course, was happy to have additional students of any kind. Since the ASTP troops were to arrive on or about August 4, the students enrolled for the summer quarter voluntarily "doubled up" their classes after mid-July so that their term would be over on August 7 rather than on August 27 as originally planned. Kaufman Hall was hastily remodeled so as to provide sleeping space for 200 men on the second and third floors. They would eat in the college cafeteria, but there was no space left for bathing facilities inside, so a shower stall with twenty-one showers was constructed outside the building. (21)

The soldiers were to receive instruction in physics, chemistry, mathematics, English, history, and geography. The instruction schedule for regular students was changed to match that of the troops because otherwise the faculty would have been teaching day and night. Fifty-five men and 49 women registered for this fall quarter; with the ASTP contingent, that made a total of 346 students. The administration now consisted of Rodney Cline, dean, C.F. Tuttle, registrar and business manager, Wayne N. Cusic, counselor to men, and Ada Sabatier, counselor to women. (Cline, who had succeeded Hatcher as dean at McNeese in August 1941, was from a prominent Lake Charles family and a graduate of Lake Charles High School. He had taught at Central School in Lake Charles and been principal of Elton High School before getting his M. A. at LSU and Ph.D. at Peabody College.) Instruction was organized into four departments: Humanities under Willa Claire Cox; Education under Wayne Cusic; Music under Francis Bulber; and Science, including Mathematics and Agriculture, under W. H. Bradford. The wartime atmosphere was further heightened by special night courses offered to train laboratory technicians for the industrial plants across the lake. (22)

The life of the ASTP men was not an easy one. Their schedule each week included seven classroom hours of physics, six of mathematics, three of chemistry, three of English, three of history, and two of geography, amounting to twenty-four quarter hours. In addition, they had one hour a day of physical education under Wayne Cusic, and another daily hour of military drill. They were expected to spend twenty-four hours a week in studying and this was rigorously enforced. Two hours daily was theirs to do with as they pleased. Most spent this time in intramural sports, but some used the Library, and some studied music under Francis Bulber. They were free to go more or less as they pleased within the neighborhood of Lake Charles from noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday. Had they been the only military in town, they might have received special treatment, but Lake Charles Army Air Base, now Chennault Field, was in full operation, giving the little city of Lake Charles more men in uniform than it could comfortably absorb. The ASTP unit was at McNeese only the three quarters of 1943-1944. Before the end of 1944 most, if not all, of the men in the unit were used as replacements for depleted infantry divisions in Europe, where a number of them died in the Battle of the Ardennes, better known as the Battle of the Bulge. (23)

The sources available do not give great detail about the 1943-1944 academic year at McNeese. This year, of course, marked the height of the Second World War, and events at the little Junior College beyond the southern boundary of Lake Charles could not be particularly important under such circumstances. A faculty reception was held at the Majestic Hotel with Dean and Mrs. Cline, Margery Wilson, Ruth Phillips, and Mrs. Inez Moses in the receiving line. Mrs. Moses would soon become the registrar of McNeese and would retire from that position many years later. (24)

Despite the war, the Music Department managed to present the Messiah again in December 1943. This was the first McNeese Messiah in which an instrumental ensemble participated. Students could not doubt take some satisfaction from the fact that German prisoners of war were at work on the campus, cutting grass with scythes. The swashbuckling movie star, Errol Flynn, was at McNeese in January as part of a war bond sales campaign, and the college presented The Marriage of Figaro in the Auditorium in February. Five former students – C. L. Canterbury, William Howard Nutter, Jack E. Slaughter, Alfred E. Simpson, and Armand C. Touchy – distinguished themselves in the military services, and this was not entirely a man’s world, because former assistant professor Ada Sabatier was commissioned a lieutenant, junior grade, in the United States Naval Reserve at Northampton, Massachusetts. (25)

Undoubtedly, with 346 young people on campus, two hundred of them bright young soldiers, much was going on than this sparse record reveals. On the other hand, one gets the impression that it was a subdued time. It seems probable that the civilian students, and there were only 83 of them by the spring quarter, were somewhat overawed by the ASTP contingent. After all, these young men were selected from all the seventeen and eighteen-year-olds in the nation for their superb physical and mental qualities. Some of the young people from the junior college area were their intellectual equals, but most were not. The competition must have been overwhelming.

The ASTP departed at the end of the spring quarter, 1944, and for summer school, McNeese had living quarters for men on the north end of the third floor of Kaufman Hall and advertised quarters for women on the north end of the second floor. The women’s quarters were indeed used, and in fact a shower was installed for them in a restroom; but for whatever reason, the college also soon offered sleeping space for women across Ryan Street. Enrollment for the summer was only 63, 33 men and 30 women. This was the lowest enrollment in McNeese’s history. The faculty for the summer, including Dean Cline, numbered only 14. (26)

1944 -1945

Enrollment for the fall quarter, 1944, was as sparse as might be expected in the middle of a war for the nation’s survival. This quarter, however, brought a most important administrative change. Dean Rodney Cline was appointed Dean of Northeastern Center, now Northeastern Louisiana University, by former McNeese Dean William Hatcher, who had become president of Louisiana State University. To replace Cline at McNeese, Hatcher selected Lether E. Frazar, former president of Southwest Louisiana Institute (SLI), now the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Frazar, who would preside over the transition of McNeese from a junior college to a four-year institution and become a legend in the process, held a bachelor’s degree from SLI, a master’s degree from Louisiana State University, and had done graduate work in education at Teacher’s College of Columbia University. Before becoming president of SLI he had been a school principal in Beauregard Parish, and after the war began he had served as Louisiana director of the federal Office of Price Administration (OPA), then from Washington as a field director of the OPA. He would make a great imprint on McNeese. Until the 1980’s most senior faculty had begun their careers under Lether Frazar, and to this day many prominent citizens of Southwestern Louisiana have vivid memories of Frazar as a college head and, if needs be, a champion of the student body. (27)

Rodney Cline had left a legacy, a junior college stunted by the war but surviving and with good prospects for the future. In a letter to President Hatcher he noted that McNeese needed completely adequate facilities for a good junior college as soon as possible. A strong public relations campaign was essential to educate the people of Southwest Louisiana to the advantages offered by McNeese. A system of transportation was essential to the future of the college, and more library space was needed. (The library at this time and for too many years to come was one large room on the south side of Kaufman Hall). Finally, Dean Cline insisted that the college needed a new gymnasium and a stadium, because until it had a well-rounded athletic program, too many potential students would attend college elsewhere. In this farewell address to the faculty and the student body, Cline was able to announce the pending purchase of eighty acres of land across what is now McNeese Street and Common Street from the campus. This would one day be the site of the football stadium and other athletic facilities. (28)

The fall quarter was an active one for students and faculty. At the beginning of the term about 100 students and their dates enjoyed a formal dance arranged by the Student Social Committee. The end of the quarter brought a rather extensive honor roll. Adrienne Managan and Leon Bethea led the list, and other outstanding students were George Alexander, Carol Blair, Allen Collette, Eva Cox, Leonard Dalovisio, Juanita Dark, Jo Ann Hertfelder, Marilyn Houser, Gloria Jones, Margie Lynch, Denny Jack Lyon , Ruth Aimee Martin, Joyce Moebius, Roy Morgan, Frank Newcomer, Jr., Leon Prejean, Jean Rives, Nancy Schindler, Rebecca Slack, Clarence Theriot, Mary Lee Webb, and Jodie White, Jr. Three students finished the requirements for graduation at the end of the fall quarter. (29)

Francis Bulber of the Music Department was at George Peabody College in Nashville during the 1944-1945 academic year earning his doctorate, but he returned to Lake Charles to direct the fifth annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah. As usual, student and faculty recitals kept the Music Department busy. Mrs. Margery Wilson’s Dramatic Club presented a play entitled Yes and No, and the Louisiana State University Music Department put on The Chocolate Soldier in the Auditorium before an audience of 2,000 people. (30)

Jodie White was elected president of the student body in January. Juanita Dark, Mickey Swann, and Otto Bruchhaus represented the freshman class, and Carol Blair and Sidney Ryan the sophomore. In March Joyce Moebius, Richard Walker, and Adrienne Managan became the new freshman officers. Ten photographs of John McNeese Junior College coeds were submitted to Governor Jimmie Davis, and he chose Mary Frances Dimmick as "most beautiful." Runners-up were Juanita Dark, Betty Jo Farr, Carol Blair, and Sydney Ryan. Five students met graduation requirements at the end of the winter quarter: Mary Lee Webb in health and physical education, Marguerite Cox and Sydney Ryan in music, and Carol Blair and Delbert Morgan in commerce. McNeese students and faculty could also take pride in Elayn Hunt, a graduate of the precious year, who became editor of the Louisiana State University student newspaper, the Reveille. She would become a major figure in Louisiana politics. (31)

Since the beginning of the war, athletics at McNeese had been intramural, plus occasional basketball games with high school teams, teams from Lake Charles Army Air Base, and perhaps some "city" teams. In 1944-1945 athletic activity definitely increased. The McNeese basketball team, coached by Wayne Cusic, played regularly in the City League against such teams as the Link Trainers from the Air Base, other teams sponsored by the Lions Club, Cities Service, and Calcasieu Chevrolet, and also the "Goodson Goodies," whoever they may have been. There was intercollegiate competition in a limited way; McNeese defeated Northeast Center in two games played in Monroe. Probably it should be noted that a McNeese student, Berwyn Richard, defeated Alfred Mouton to become the Lake Charles table tennis champion. In April Dean Frazar promised a full athletic program for 1945-1946. Plans were to construct a football practice field, a quarter-mile cinder track, and eventually a stadium on the 80 acres the college had just acquired. All this would eventually be done, and more, but McNeese students and supporters would wait many a year for a football stadium. (32)

The 1944-1945 academic year corresponded fairly closely to the last year of the Second World War. Germany surrendered in May 1945 and Japan in August, but a price had to be paid in the lives of former McNeese students. Lieutenant John May, Jr., was killed in France in the Normandy fighting, and Private First Class Ralph Brookner died in Germany in December 1944. Lieutenant Jesse E. Anderson was killed in Burma, and Lieutenant Amos J. Derouen made the supreme sacrifice somewhere in the Pacific. Jewel Lester Duhon, C.C. Hoffpauir, Jr., and Benny Joseph Mistretta also gave their lives for their country. Near the end of the war Sergeant David V. Rosfeld, an aerial gunner, was reported missing in action. Perhaps he was freed from a prisoner-of-war camp at the end of the struggle; the sources available do not say. Almost certainly John McNeese Juniors College alumni other than those mentioned in this account were casualties of the greatest war in history, but their names do not appear in the records consulted. (33)

Eleven more students were ready to graduate at the end of the spring quarter. They were Gloria Clement, Newelyn Cole, Allen Collette, Eva Cox, Mack Cuniff, Margie Lynch, Ramsey MacLeod, Olin Merchant, Elizabeth Pitts, Nancy Schindler, and Jodie White. The struggling school from which they graduated was a very different place from the bustling and overcrowded junior college that would exist the next year. The United States had survived a terrible struggle for existence and had emerged as the greatest power in the world. On a tiny scale in comparison John McNeese Junior College had also managed to survive and it would grow strong as returning veterans of the war took advantage of the "G. I. Bill" to secure an education that might never have been possible for them otherwise. (34)


The Junior College: Glory Years

One would have been hard put to find anything glorious about John McNeese Junior College in the summer of 1945. In search of students the college ran full-page advertisements emphasizing that "dormitory" space was open for both men and women. Women would be housed in a two-story building located across Ryan Street where Gayle Hall is today, men in the Arena. Summer school was no picnic in Southwest Louisiana before the days of air conditioning; a mere handful of students enrolled. The summer faculty numbered only ten: Marian Funk (replacing William Bradford) in Mathematics, C. F. Tuttle in Commerce, W. N. Cusic in Health and Physical Education, W. J. Oakley in Chemistry, F. T. Seymour and Donald J. Millet in Social Sciences, Willa Claire Cox in English, Margery Wilson in Speech, Dorothy Steidtman, librarian, and Captain John Van C. Koppelman, Military Science. (1)

A foundation for the future was being put down during this hot summer. The purchase of the block of land where the stadium is now located was completed; the land had five buildings, including a dairy barn, a barn for beef cattle, a poultry house, and two other structures. LSU also purchased the Howell property across Ryan Street, as the site for a home for Dean Frazar. It is the location of the President’s Home to this day. (2)

With the end of the fighting in the Second World War, which came in Europe on May 5, 1945, and in the Pacific aboard the Battleship Missouri on September 2, 1945, the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors decided to return to the semester system. An increase in enrollment was expected, but nobody was anticipating the 233 students who enrolled in the fall of 1945. Then in the spring semester, 1946, 270 students appeared. Somehow classes were provided for all of them though not necessarily the classes they would have preferred. The faculty was so loaded that in the fall Dean Frazar himself taught a class in Louisiana government. Forty men, 30 of them football players, were housed in the Arena, and 30 women were quartered across Ryan Street. (3)

Before the fall semester began, Dean Frazar announced that J. C. Barman, formerly parish agent of Jeff Davis Parish, would be in charge of the agriculture program at McNeese. Other new faces on the faculty were those of Wylma Reynolds in Commerce and Virgie McCall in Home Economics. Frank Rolufs headed the Mathematics and Science Department while W. H. Bradford was away at graduate school. Barman, Rolufs, and Reynolds would all have long careers at McNeese. Inez Moses began work as secretary to the registrar in 1945, and she too would be a fixture for many years. Francis Bulber was back after a year’s work on his doctorate at George Peabody College in Nashville. McNeese had a total of 26 faculty for the fall semester. They taught 17 two-year curricula; the Catalogue listed 205 courses, but not all of these were taught at one time. (4)

To bring in students from outlying areas, buses came from as far away as Oakdale, DeRidder, and Vinton. Within the Lake Charles area a bus made seven round trips a day from the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse to the college. The first trip arrived at McNeese at 8:15 in the morning, and the last trip arrived at the courthouse at 10:05 in the evening. (5)

Finding housing for this influx of students was no simple problem, but an appeal to United States Representative Henry Larcade brought a promise from the federal government of 20 housing units (former military barracks) for the next semester. This was later reduced to ten buildings and ten trailers, all to be used for the housing of veterans, and were not in place until the fall of 1946. These "temporary" buildings were to be more than temporary; some of them were still in use for classrooms and offices as late as 1970. The LSU Board of Supervisors asked the legislature for $300, 000 for a health and recreation building, $135,000 for additions to Kaufman Hall, $168,000 for a new music building, and $45,000 for a "cottage’ for home economics.(6)

Student activities were looking up. Captain Koppelman boasted of 67 men in ROTC, a new record. In October Billy Traylor was elected to head the Student Council, made up of sophomores Billy Brown, Juanita Dark, and Lucille Farquhar, and freshmen Bernard Blanda and Richard Moriarty. McNeese students could also take pride in graduates who had gone on to LSU. Rebecca Slack played a role in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit when that play was presented by the university drama department, and Patrick Ford was promoted to captain in the LSU ROTC. (7)

The first Homecoming was held in November 1945, although it was called "McNeese College Day" and was sponsored by the Lake Charles Lions Club. The parade consisted of more than 100 horses, floats, the LSU band, the St. Charles High School band, and the Lake Charles High School band, the McNeese band, and a band from the Lake Charles Army Air Base. The Kilties from Lake Charles High, the Gatorettes from LaGrange, and the MAC's from McNeese displayed their charms. The prize for the best decorated car went to the "McNeese family car," in which Lake Charles city clerk Mrs. L. L. Squires, formerly Emma McNeese, and Mrs. Overton Gauthier of Jennings, formerly Stella McNeese, both daughters of John McNeese, rode. (8)

The Homecoming game was held at the Lake Charles High School Stadium. Governor Jimmie Davis crowned the Homecoming Queen, Adrienne Managan, who had been chosen by the football team. Her court was made up of Betty Shea, Lucille Farquhar, Juanita Dark, Peggy Vestal, Jean Sutton, Elizabeth Stark, and Mrs. Eldride Mitchell. (9)

Between studies, athletic contests, and various forms of entertainment, students may have been pressed for time. On November 25 the Don Cossack Chorus sang in the Auditorium, and in January a crowd of 1,000 people heard tenor Jussi Bjoerling sing. One of the purposes of the college was to promote culture in Southwest Louisiana, and certainly an effort was made. On a lighter note, Tex Ritter and his Western Hill Billy Gang, plus his horse White Flash, performed in the Auditorium on February 14, 1964. A fat stock show and rodeo was scheduled for the last three days of March and the first day of April 1946. The students held a formal dance on December 4, and in March the Veterans’ Club held a dance that was graced by the presence of Governor Davis; the state’s chief executive even sang "You Are My Sunshine" for those present. (10)

The Messiah was presented again; each year it seemed to grow bigger and better. Contralto Marcella Uhl was imported from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to perform as a soloist. Others who had solo roles were Dilys Demorest, Mrs. Claude Kirkpatrick, and Bill Denson. A large audience was reported to have been enthusiastic about the performance. Students interested in theater were active. In the fall, Mrs. Margery Wilson directed Ladies in Retirement with Joyce Moebius, Janet McGinty, Marilyn Houser, Ray Rust, Constance Bonsall, Gloria Robinson, and Bernice LaFleur. The spring play was Letters to Lucerne; the cast consisted of Patsy Heidt, Peggy Vestal, Joan Rich, Jackie Richardson, Marathell McArtor, Dorothy Wilson, Edith Abrahams, Connie Bonsall, Maurice Burns, Bob McManus, and Albert Manuel. (11)

Three students, Edith Abrahams, Adrienne Managan, and Bob Leake, distinguished themselves with a straight A average in the fall semester. In the spring, Phi Theta Kappa honorary scholastic fraternity inducted freshmen Edith Abrahams, Perry Anderson, Almalee Clark, Johnny DeRouen, Katherine Harris, Thomas Lipscombe, Marilyn Managan, Connie Mobley, Nancy Mutersbaugh, Hazel Sockrider, June Spangler, and Herman Vincent. Fraternity president Adrienne Managan completed McNeese and moved on to LSU at the end of the fall semester; she was replaced by Joyce Moebius. Patrick L. Ford was cadet captain and commander of the ROTC unit in the fall, succeeded by Dudley Doiron in the spring, with Donald Palmer as his first lieutenant. Time Magazine conducted a contest on current events among college students in the spring of 1946, and in mid-March Benny Milam, one of the veterans attending McNeese, had the highest score in the nation. (12)

In January what was apparently the first exhibit of student art in McNeese history was presented by Mrs. Wilson’s students. Margaret Hebert, Dorothy Scoggins, and Betty Dixon showed oils, and Nancy Mutersbaugh, Mary Helen Harper, and Aline Benoit showed water colors. Near the end of the semester two music majors, Juanita Dark, contralto, and Wilma Jean Stevenson, pianist, gave spring recitals. Nor should it be forgotten that Mr. James M. McLemore of the LSU Board of Supervisors, working from photographs, selected Jane White, Betty Dixon, Eldride Mae Mitchell, and Lucille Farquhar as the "four most beautiful coeds" of McNeese. (13)

The faculty was too busy teaching the unexpectedly large classes to indulge in much social activity. In November C. A. Girard entertained the Rotary Club with two themes from Rachmaninoff’s Second Concerto, followed by a medley of Gershwin, and concluding with "Basin Street Blues." Girard was a superb jazz pianist as well as a scholar. Donald Millet was practically a one-man speaking bureau during this academic year. In January Major Jack Kelley replaced Captain John Van C. Koppelman as Professor of Military Science and Tactics, and in March it was announced that Ada Sabatier would return from active duty in the Navy in the fall and take over her history classes. (14)

Wayne Cusic was "the coach" at McNeese during this first season of intercollegiate athletics. Twenty-two men came out for the first football practice, and 15 of them became regular players. The center was a young man named Roy Butchee. Joe Morgan and Bobby Bland played tackle and Seaman Mayo, Bill Taylor, and Bill Blanda were guards. Jack Doland, Ben White, and Clarence Theriot were ends, and Johnny Eckhardt, Billy Brown, Charles Hamerley, Reed Stephens, Harold Singleton, and Pat Ford were the backs. Six games were scheduled, but two were with Louisiana College and two more with Northeastern. The last two games were with a U. S. Merchant Marine team from Gulfport and with Pearl River Junior College at Poplarville, Mississippi. The McNeese team was selected to play Pearl River, whom it had defeated earlier, in the Tung Oil Bowl at Poplarville. Pearl River managed to win this last contest. (15)

Soon after, the football season ended. Coach Cusic announced that although practice would of necessity begin late, there would be a basketball season. Some of the games would be in the "City League," but some intercollegiate games were assured. The squad was not large; one account lists Reed Stephens, Jimmy Stelly, Aubrey Cole, Clarence Theriot, and Jack Doland as starters, with Joe Morgan, Billy Brown, and James Humble making a strong bench. In one City League game with a team from the Air Base, McNeese used only five players and won. Since there was still no gymnasium, the basketball team practiced in the Auditorium, which did not have space for a full court. So many collegiate opponents were found before the season was over that McNeese dropped out of the City League. In intercollegiate competition, the basketball team defeated Lee Junior College of Goose Creek, Texas, Northeastern, Pearl River Junior College, and Lamar Junior College. A strong Merchant Marine team from Gulfport lost to McNeese once, but won a second game. McNeese also fielded a women’s basketball team in 1945-1946, though its competition was limited to the Women’s City League. This team was made up of Dot Guidry, Bertha Nolde, Juanita Dark, Elveretta Flournoy, Margie Montenot, Lula Stolzle, and Frances Papania. Miriam Callender was the coach. Unfortunately, no record of games won or lost has been found. (16)

Because of the war, no graduation exercises had been held in the spring of 1945, and 12 students had fulfilled requirements at the end of the fall semester 1945 without any ceremony. Dean Frazar decided to honor all these graduates in a spring ceremony in 1946, and by combining the three groups, a total of 36 graduates was obtained. How many, if any, graduated in absentia is unknown. Incidentally, six of the 12 fall graduates went to LSU, but the remainder went to Southwestern, Northwestern, Maryville College at St. Louis, Centenary, Sophie Newcomb, and the University of Texas. (17)


In the fall of 1946, the "John" was quietly dropped from the name of the junior college south of Lake Charles. Dean Frazar was bold enough to predict an enrollment of 450 students for the fall semester, and with Miller B. Clarkson and Ada Sabatier back on the job, nine more teachers were employed to handle the additional classes. The college more than doubled its two-year curricula offerings, to 48, but the number of specific courses listed in the Catalogue was reduced to 190. One of the new faculty was A. I. Ratcliff, employed mainly as football coach, who would become a well-loved fixture on the campus until and after his retirement. Two others were Louis Reily, instructor in Mathematics, and Edna Magaw, instructor in English. They too would have long careers on the McNeese faculty. It is interesting that with so many students expected, the only spending planned for physical plant was an appropriation of $100,000 for improving the Arena, which was used for livestock. (18)

When registration came in the fall of 1946, 615 students registered rather than the 450 anticipated, and when spring registration was completed, 560 students were still on campus. A New Orleans contractor was putting up the last five of the temporary buildings ordered earlier, and Quonset huts were obtained on a temporary basis. In reading the records of the time, one gets no impression of panic, though an unexpected 100 percent increase in enrollment might at least justify a degree of nervousness. Rather than wringing their hands, students, faculty, and administration went to work to provide the best education possible for the hundreds of young people who had descended on the campus. (19)

In studying the history of McNeese, it is easy to forget the main purpose of the school. Most of the time of the faculty was spent preparing to teach and teaching. Most of the time of the students was spent in class or preparing assignments or simply studying. The administration spent its time attempting to devise the best ways of achieving this primary purpose in the most efficient manner possible. Thus one of the most significant developments of the fall semester, 1946, is that seven students managed to earn a perfect A average in their class work. They were Harry Anderson, Patsy Heidt, Clements Helbling, Eli Sorkow, Dixie Silvers, Gus Stacy, and Peter Viglia. (20)

Tragedy struck in late November when Major Jack Kelley, commander of the ROTC unit, drowned when he ran off the Gulf Highway in Cameron Parish and was imprisoned in his overturned car. The "McNeese Day" parade was canceled as a show of respect to Major Kelly. His replacement was Colonel Charles Summerville Ware, a respected soldier who had spent more than three years in the European Theater of operations during and just after the Second World War. He would be at McNeese through the period of transition to a four-year college, and for all practical purposes he was one of the "founding fathers" of the university. (21)

Drama and music competed for student and public attention in the fall of 1946. The Drama Club presented Front Page, with a cast that included Maurice Burns, Pasty Heidt, Margene Inklebarger, Nathan Lewis, Frank Salter, George Alexander, Albert Miller, Aubert Talbot, Allen Pelloquin, and Billy Allen. The Messiah was bigger than ever, with 131 singers and musicians. Soloists were Louis Rinehart, Lorraine Wright, Willis Ducrest, Mrs. Nate Marshall, and W. N. Cusic. In January music lovers had the opportunity to hear Irene Manning sing in the Auditorium, and a few days later the classical violinist Rubinoff played. (22)

Elizabeth Stark of Merryville was McNeese Day Queen in November 1946. Her maids were Peggy Vestal, Elsie Turnage, Joan Rich, Theresa Vidrine, Kathryn Henry, and Ernestine Duke. The usual Christmas dance proceeded the holidays in 1946, but at this affair a notable floor show was presented under the direction of Dolive Benoit. Taking part in the floor show were J. R. Calvert, Wilson Manuel, Wilma Jean Stevenson, Dorothy Barnes, Harold Cline, Bert Talbot, "Racer" Holstead, Peggy Vestal, Maurice Burns, and "Bubba" Miller. In February, John Robert Powers chose from photographs Mary Addison of Shreveport and Dolores Daspit, Betty Jane Mosely, and Elsie Turnage of Lake Charles as the four prettiest McNeese coeds. (23)

A count made in the spring revealed that 242 of the students registered at the junior college were veterans, and that more of these young men were interested in the pre-engineering curriculum than in any other. The library now had more than 5,000 books in addition to periodicals. One who obviously made good use of the library was Leland Homer Coltharp, who represented McNeese at the International Relations Club Convention at Fayetteville, Arkansas, and presented a paper dealing with an "International Police Force." Coltharp’s interest in law took him through law school at Louisiana State University, and he eventually became a district judge. (24)

During the summer of 1946, the McNeese Department of Music and the Lake Charles Lion’s Club agreed to cooperate in promoting and producing a light opera each year. The first of these productions was Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, which went into rehearsal in February and played in the spring to a large and enthusiastic audience of more than 600 people. This was the first of a series of exceptionally well-received light opera productions over the following years. (25)

Coach Ratcliff had no fewer than 36 aspirants who came out for football in the fall of 1946, and most of them had come to McNeese on football scholarships. Among them were Wayne Kingery, James Mestepy, Bill Alexander, Hutch Henry, Frank Riling, Kenneth Wade, Charlie Carmouche, Dan May, Tom Hudson, John Vidrine, Clyde Dufrene, James Hilton, Bill Talbot, and Seaman Mayo from Lake Charles. From DeRidder came Paul Jantz, Buck Lyles, Joe Cruthirds, Homer Coltharp, and Robert Lewis, and Sulphur provided David Tyndall, Jack Lawton, and Simon Mericle. Others from nearby were Perry Burr and Johnny Nicks from Orange, B. J. Lyons and Johnny Bankens from DeQuincy, Jack Doland from Lake Arthur, Norman Robinson from Welsh, Thomas Petty from Many, Douglas Moody from Rayne, Aubert Talbot from Napoleonville, and James Watson from Iowa. Bill Meagher came from Auburn, Alabama, Gene Swails came from Baton Rouge, Otto Bruchaus from Covington, Richard Seidler from New Orleans, and Rudolph Augarten from Pennsylvania. (26)

The football team had a highly successful season, defeating Arkansas A&M (then a junior college), the B team of the University of Houston, the Merchant Marine cadets, Decatur Baptist Junior College, Connors Junior College of Connors, Oklahoma, and, especially enjoyable, Northeastern twice. McNeese lost to Lamar Junior College of Beaumont and to the B team of Southern Methodist University. This record was enough to get McNeese a second invitation to the Tung Oil Bowl at Poplarville, Mississippi, but Pearl River Junior College defeated McNeese once more in this event. The college newspaper, the Contraband, in commenting on the season, noted: "Jackie Doland is usually the boy sent in when McNeese takes to the air. He is probably the best pass snatcher on the cowboy squad." (27)

The basketball team, still coached by Wayne Cusic, also had a good season, winning six times without a loss on one streak. The team received an invitation to the Western States Basketball Tournament for junior colleges, held at Compton, California. The players who went to the tournament were Reed Stephens, Jimmy Stelly, Aubrey Cole, Wayne Kingery, Jack Doland, Pete Phillips, Norman Robinson, Billy Todd, J.C. Watson, and John Vidrine. Unfortunately, McNeese was eliminated early in the tournament and then lost a consolation game. While the team was in California, Louisiana’s Governor Jimmie Davis, absent from Baton Rouge to make a moving picture, showed the young men around Hollywood. The women’s basketball team was still active in the City League. (28)

A boxing team, coached by A. I. Ratcliff, made its appearance in January 1947, and its matches held in the Auditorium, apparently aroused great interest. This first McNeese boxing team consisted of Bill Allen, bantamweight; Albert (Rabbit) Manuel, featherweight; Pat Elliott, lightweight; Allen Pelloquin, welterweight; Lloyd Jones, middleweight; Sam Allgood, middleweight; Burl Jobe, light heavyweight; and Bill Meagher, heavyweight. Newspaper accounts make it clear that Rabbit Manuel was a great favorite with the boxing fans of Lake Charles. (29)


The summer of 1947 brought the highest summer school enrollment in McNeese’s history up to that point, a total of 206 students, 155 men and 51 women, and 96 of them were veterans. The students who enrolled, and especially those who lived on campus, probably have more vivid memories of the almost 16 inches of rain that fell on June 19 than of the large enrollment. (30) When students came to register for the fall semester, 1947, Miss Inez Moses was the new registrar, and fees had risen from $12.50 per semester to $17.50 per semester. It is not likely that the higher fees had any effect on enrollment, but there was a slight decrease, from 640 in the fall of 1946 to 615 in the fall of 1947. Spring enrollment declined proportionately, from 560 in the spring of 1947 to 529 in the spring of 1948. The veterans’ rush had passed its peak at McNeese, and the decline in enrollment would continue for the few remaining junior-college years. Veterans still made up a large part of the student body; almost two-thirds of the students in the fall of 1947 were men. (31)

New faculty members were added for the 1947-1948 academic year, some replacing those who had moved on, others in new positions. They included Ruth T. Ballard in Music, Octavine Cooper in Commerce, Theo C. McCoy in Chemistry, Martha L. Nicholson and John W. Sullivan in English, Frank A. Shufeldt in Spanish, and Edna T. Pellegrin and Dora Mae Thibodaux in the Library. Except for Ms. Thibodaux, none would be many years at McNeese. (32)

The decline in enrollment was not great enough to relieve the shortage of living space and classroom space on the campus. Lake Charles Air Field was rumored to be closing, and the parish police jury sought to acquire it with the understanding that some of the space would be available to McNeese. This began a relationship between McNeese and the Air Base that although very tentative in the beginning would go on for many years and would not, overall, be in the best interests of the college. The field did not close at this time. (33)

The college did manage to acquire six "permanent" army barracks that were moved to the campus in the summer of 1947. One hundred thousand dollars appropriated by the legislature was used for these buildings and for additional stock pens at the Arena. T. Miller and Sons won the contract for erecting the barracks and building the stock pens. Some of the buildings were made into apartments for ten couples and others into housing for 120 men, including athletes. Housing for women was rented north of the campus on Ryan Street. Two of the temporary buildings became classrooms, and at least one was used as a health and physical education facility. (34)

In September 1947 architects were working on plans for a new Music building, but other facilities would get higher priority. In November bids were sought for the construction of a gymnasium and for the remodeling of a building across Ryan Street south of Contraband Bayou for use as a Home Economics building. When bids came in in December, all were rejected as too high by the LSU Board of Supervisors. When bids came in again, $294,770 from Knapp and East of Lake Charles was found acceptable for the gymnasium alone. For the time being the board gave up on the home economics facilities. (35)

In the 1947 election for student body officers, Bert Talbot defeated Frank Salter for president. Sophomores on the Student Council were Charles Carmouche, Bill Meagher, and Babs Moebius; freshmen were E. J. Lewis, Nadia Goodloe, and Bill Dimmick. The Social Committee – Evelyn Richter, Althea Mae Meaux, Ted Harless, and Perry Anderson – planned and provided a Valentine dance in February. In January a Sadie Hawkins Day party was highly successful. If pictures in a local newspaper are to be believed, Joe McIver, Betty Jean Reeves, Elsie Winter, Bob Christ and Home Economics instructor Miss Virgie McCall especially enjoyed themselves. At the beginning of the year the Newman Club was reorganized, and late in the spring semester 13 student organizations participated in "stunt night" in the Auditorium. (36)

At Homecoming, Barbara Helms of Bell City was queen, and Pat Bishop, Kathryn Lyles, Theresa Vidrine, Betty Jane Mosely, Jacqueline Abel, Lorraine Lott, Barbara Moebius, and Joyce Olivier made up a court considerably enlarged over previous years. In January sophomore Elsie Winter was selected Miss Yambilee at Opelousas’s celebration of the sweet potato, and then was named queen of the International Yam Festival at Baton Rouge. Following this she was a guest on Don McNeill’s famous radio "Breakfast Club" in Chicago. Then Miss Winter went to Washington where she was royally entertained by Representative Henry D. Larcade and Senator John H. Overton. Her adventures were not yet over; in July she was a guest at the Van Buren, Maine, potato festival. (37)

And there were more beauties. In February 1948, Gregory Peck, the movie star, selected Theresa Vidrine from photographs as the most beautiful coed in the college. Others he chose were Sylvia Delord, Ruth Bienvenu, Joyce Olivier, and Stella Marie Burris. Then in May, Betty Jane Mosely appeared as cover girl on the Lake Charles Southwest News. In the same month, Miss Mary Ruth Wade of Negreet was the winner in a nationwide beauty contest sponsored by the "Truth or Consequences" radio program presided over by national celebrity Ralph Edwards. From her photograph, Miss Wade was selected as "the most beautiful and most typical" American coed. She went to Hollywood, was interviewed on "Truth or Consequences," and had a bit part in a western picture in production. (38)

Charles Coy Broussard, a veteran of the war in the Pacific, received the John McNeese Junior College Honor Award for outstanding performance during the previous academic year. Sammy Gennuso was selected to represent McNeese at the International Relations Club Conference which was held at Denton, Texas in March. A painting by art major Lois Geiger was one of 16 student works selected for exhibition at Baton Rouge. Those students who had maintained an average of B or better in the fall semester were invited, with their parents, to an Honors Day program in the Auditorium on April 16. The speaker was Louisiana State University President Harold Stoke. (39)

Two significant developments for the little junior college happened in the 1947-1948 year. The first was the organization of alumni, who elected Robert Wheeler president; Jodie White and James St. Dizier, vice presidents; Mrs. William Lantrip secretary; and Marin North treasurer. The second was the publication of the first issue of the McNeese Review, a scholarly journal that has appeared almost every year since. Over the nation people who had no idea where McNeese State College was located became familiar with the McNeese Review. The authors whose work appeared in this first issue were T. R. Ratcliffe, Ward Anderson, E. R. Kaufman, W. Farrin Hoover, Rosa Hart, Lloyd Funchess, Homer L. Brinkley, H. G. Chalkley, Frances Owen, and Edna L. Magaw. (40)

As enrollment increased, Colonel Charles Ware’s Reserve Officer’s Training Corps grew just as rapidly. In 1947-1948 three companies were organized. The cadet commander, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, was M. William Talbot, Jr. Major Wayne B. Kingery was the second-ranking cadet officer. Other battalion officers were Walton E. Phillips, Lionel J. Gossen, Charles J. Christ, Thomas Petty, and James R. Mestepy. Company commanders were cadet captains Burton A. Walker, Jack T. Pantall, and Pat L. Jernigan. In February the unit was rated excellent after the annual Army inspection. ROTC Honors Day came in April, and a dress parade was followed by a military ball. (41)

The faculty found time for activities other than teaching. Romance reared its head when Miss Dorothy Walsh became the bride of Mr. Frank Rolufs. The Faculty Club seems to have enjoyed monthly dinners through most of this academic year, and in March the members of the club had a party in the Home Economics Building attended by almost every member of the faculty. One of the great advantages of a small college, such as McNeese then was, is the fact that all faculty members can really know one another. Nor did the faculty neglect its professional growth. Miss Ada Sabatier and Mr. Donald Millet, for example, attended the Fleming Lectures at Louisiana State University in March and heard renowned folklorist and historian Thomas D. Clark speak. (42)

Francis Bulber’s annual Messiah production continued to grow in size and fame. A chorus of 180 persons sang in 1947, far more than in any previous year. Soloists were sopranos Nellie Mae Gun of New Orleans and Betty Rinehart, tenor Sidney L. Gray, and bass Ned Romero. Well over 1,000 people were present in the Auditorium on December 17, to hear the performance. (43) In November Margery Wilson’s Bayou Players, as the Drama Club now called itself, presented the stage version of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. The members of the cast were Bouie McCain, Kenneth Rose, Harold Price, Elaine McKeller, Gordon Wedemeyer, Charles Force, Sammy Gennuso, Stanley Johnston, and Allen Commander. In the spring the Music Department and the Lion’s Club presented Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado as a means of raising money for music scholarships. The cast of this light opera was made up of Sidney Gray, Billy Jo Nelson, Jack Gray, Tim Dugas, Joanne Denny, C.C. Faust, III, Laurissa Watts, and Barbara Moebius. This year, for the first time, Dr. Bulber took his show on the road, and the Mikado played Jennings and Oakdale High Schools after it was presented in the Auditorium. (44)

Coach Ratcliff fielded a much better football team in 1947 than in 1946. The squad won eight games, defeating such opponents as Pearl River Junior College, Corpus Christi Junior College, Lamar Junior College, and Great Lakes Naval Base, and losing only to Arkansas A&M and Tyler, Texas, Junior Colleges. All home games except one were played at the Lake Charles High School stadium, Killen Field. The one exception was a game with Edinburgh, Texas, Junior College, which was played at Sulphur. Carroll Stelly, McNeese end, was named to the Junior College All-American team for the second year, and Wayne Kingery was named to the second team. Lake Charles football lovers set up a "Cajun Bowl" post-season game, and McNeese and Arkansas A&M struggled through a cold rain for a no-score tie. This season was so successful that there was some talk that Coach Ratcliff might become the new coach at Louisiana State University, but this did not come to pass. (45)

Basketball in 1947-1948 was not as successful as football, but Coach Cusic’s team nonetheless had an exciting season in the Texas Junior College Conference. Among the players were Percy Clark, Kirby Cole, George Buswell, James Darnell, Bill Dimmick, Glenn Powell, Leo Iles, Pete Phillips, Joe Toups, John Rudd, J. D. Schales, Jack Doland, and Wayne Kingery. In the conference tournament McNeese defeated Kilgore Junior College but then lost to Corpus Christi. A McNeese women’s basketball team still played in the City Conference. Participants were Theresa Shaheen, Doris Clark, Judy Schneider, Mary Wade, Billie Butchee, Elonide Caldwell, Joyce Mack, Jo Ann Cline, Tommy Lou Deax, and Barbara Watson. (46)

The McNeese boxing team continued to arouse popular enthusiasm. Members of the 1947-1948 team were Lloyd Jones, Ernest Mouhot, Bill Meager, Burl Jobe, Bertney Landry, Rabbit Manuel, Lynn Roy, Clifford Jobe, Walter Cade, and Roy Vincent. McNeese lost a hard-fought match with the University of Idaho. In a match with LSU, the junior college team won most of the fights, but Warren Cormier and M. A. Pastor, who had recently joined the team, were declared ineligible. Their victories became forfeited defeats, making LSU the winner. (47)


Total enrollment in the fall of 1948 was 575 students, 40 fewer than the previous year. In the spring 501 were enrolled, a proportionate decline. The faculty now consisted of 36 men and women, and with additional courses in education and agriculture, a total of 58 curricula were available to students. More and more night classes were offered, though it should be remembered that night classes had to attract enough students to pay their cost before they were taught. The Library boasted 8,000 volumes at the beginning of the academic year and hoped to bring the number to 10,000 before the year was over. A new Department of Education was in place, designed to give future teachers the first two years of their training and also to train athletic coaches, physical education teachers, and health directors. Improvements were not limited to good intentions. In October the LSU Board of Supervisors approved a bid of $136,000 for a new 8,000-square-foot music building, and in the spring the State Board of Liquidation provided $50,000, which with monies already appropriated would at last put a roof on the Arena. Before the year was over, the new gymnasium would be dedicated. (48)

Six new members met classes this year: Mrs. Billie Sue Brent Beadle in Home Economics, Edwin Henry See in Music, Edwin H. Pleasants in Spanish, Eva Leonie Cox and Mary Elizabeth Kleinpeter in Zoology, and Harry Ernest Benefiel in Business. Benefiel would go into the Catholic priesthood in a few years, but he would have friends at McNeese for the rest of his life. The Louisiana College Conference was held at Hammond in the spring of 1949, and McNeese, which in previous years had had minuscule representation at the conference, sent a large delegation: Dolive Benoit, Ada Sabatier, Margery Wilson, Harry Benefiel, Miller Clarkson, Louis Reily, and John Sullivan. (49)

The ROTC remained a battalion with three companies. Percy N. Clark was lieutenant colonel and cadet commander. His executive officer was Cadet Major Jerome J. Hebert, and Cadet Captain James E. Darnell was adjutant. The three company commanders, all with the rank of captain, were Jack D. Lambert, H. Gail Nordyke, and James G. Brame. Colonel Ware was no doubt pleased to learn that Henry D. Doiron, who had graduated from McNeese in 1946, was a distinguished military graduate at Louisiana State University and had received a Regular Army commission. (50)

The student body and faculty at McNeese, as well as the people of Lake Charles and the surrounding area, had an abundance of entertainment available at the Auditorium in 1948-1949. The Bayou Players presented Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in early December. The large student cast included Jack White, Judy Schneider, Frances Mowad, Victor Pecorino, Pat Chenet, Will Cox, Thomas Watson, Raymond Murray, Marvin Halbrook, "Pluto" Landry, Robert Carlin, Dorothy Gaubert, Jerry Korsemeyer, Barney Bogg, Edna Ruth White, Billie Ruth Evans, Beverley Cox, and Steve Kimball. Since no student was small enough to play the role of Puck, Jay Svoboda, an elementary school student, was recruited. (51)

The Messiah, which was presented on December 12, 1948, continued to grow in the number of people participating. Soloists for the 1948 performance were Sherrod Towns, Maria Tortorich, Sidney Gray, and Joanne Denny. The chorus numbered 175 persons, and the audience completely filled the Auditorium, which meant about 2,000 people in attendance. H. M. S. Pinafore, the light opera presented by the Music Department and the Loin’s Club in March 1949, was reported to be a great success with more than 900 people in attendance. The cast was made up of Billie Ruth Evans, Katherine Young, Ann LeBleu, Jerry Korsemeyer, Roland Hebert, Victor Pecorino, John LeBlanc, Ralph Shirley, and James Gory, with Julia West, Laurissa Watts, Joanne Hahn, and M. C. Cady playing alternate roles. (52)

Under the heading "miscellaneous entertainment" would be the appearance of Gene Autry and his horse, Champion, in the Auditorium. This show, sponsored by the Student Council, had a cast of 20 persons. A more independent venture was the presentation of Oh Mistress Mine, staring Sylvia Sidney and John Loder, in April. This seems to have been a commercial venture. On May 1 and May 8, the McNeese band presented a public concert in Locke Park. Featured were a baritone horn solo by Robert Landry and a quartette made up of Roland Hebert, John LeBlanc, Jerry Korsemeyer, and M. C. Cady. (53)

McNeese, it seems, was choosing more beauty queens of one sort or the other than ever before. Joyce Courrege, succeeded Elsie Winter as Yambilee Queen at the Opelousas festival, but she was not to enjoy the travels and national acclaim that Miss Winter had experienced. This year a Freshman Queen and court were selected. The queen was Helen Patricia Brown, and her maids were Patricia Clay, Patricia Helms, Mary Frances Bulber, Linda McClendon, and Joyce O’Brien. Miss Beatrice Teer of Maplewood was Homecoming Queen, with Sally Lyles, Sylvia Delord, Elsie Winter, Lorraine Lott, Dolores Conner, Joyce O’Brien, Jackie Young, and Geraldine Christ on her court. In February Sylvia Delord was named Miss McNeese, and her accompanying beauties were Dolores Conner, Elsie Winter, Evelyn Marie Boggs, and Joyce O’Brien. The recurrence of certain names suggests that the standards of beauty were fairly well agreed upon. (54)

Allen Commander, a young man who would be connected with McNeese one way or the other for many years, was elected student body president in October 1948. On the Student Council were sophomores Fred LeBlanc, William Dimmick, and William Clark, and freshmen Gilbert Manuel, Kenneth Sweeny, and Buster Crowley. It is interesting, and perhaps significant, that at this stage of McNeese’s history an athlete like Sweeney or Bill Dimmick could also be active in student government. (55)

Harry Gail Nordyke, Jr., won the McNeese honor award in the fall of 1948, and 18 students in all won prestigious T. H. Harris scholarships. Honor students for the spring of 1948 were feted at a banquet in December at which Dr. Harlan L. McCracken, head of the LSU Economics Department, spoke on "Democracy and Its Enemies." The Cold War had reached Lake Charles. No fewer than 105 students made the honor roll in the fall semester of 1948. This was more than 18 percent of the student body, and almost 23 percent of all veterans in attendance. Homer Hitt, an LSU sociologist who was soon to become the chancellor of the University of New Orleans, was the speaker. It might be mentioned that Thomas D. Watson, now professor of history at McNeese; William McLeod, now state senator from Calcasieu Parish; and William T. Clarke, now a prominent Lake Charles insurance man, were on this honor roll. The debate team was revived in 1948, made up of Jack Gordon, Earl McCoy, William McLeod, and Charles Riquelmy. In April this team entered the Southwestern Speech Association debate tournament at Baylor University and won three of the six debates in which it engaged. (56)

The McNeese football team played 11 games, most with Texas junior colleges, in the 1948 season and lost only 2 of them. The lettermen of this outstanding team, who bore Coach Ratcliff of Killen Field on their shoulders after defeating Northeastern 40 to 0 on November 5, were James Brame, Billy Cook, C. E. Cooley, Buster Crowley, Harold Davis, Cecil Doyle, Manuel Dugas, Calvin Hancock, Billy Bob James, Joe Kite, Ernest Lambert, E. J. Lewis, Jimmie Mestepy, Dee Navarre, Carroll Neely, Thomas Pettijean, Thomas Petty, Dick Pruitt, Jack Ray, Irving Richard, Guy Richards, Jimmie Runte, John Schroll, Joe Sciortino, Willie Shafer, Kenneth Sweeny, John Whiddon, Jimmy Whitehead, Howard Wilcox, and Bobby Yates. The cheerleaders who urged the team on were Evelyn Marie Boggs, Mary Frances Bulber, Jo Ann Cline, Tommy Dufrene, Freddie LeBlanc, and Will Cox. (57)

Coach Wayne Cusic’s 1948-1949 basketball team was certainly successful, winning more than half of its games. Basketball players were Herman Blalock, Percy Clark, James Darnell, Bill Dimmick, Edmund Stewart, Joe Westerchil, John Redd, Melvin Norris, Joe Loftin, Holland Hicks, Kenneth Sweeney, Jerry Doland, Bill Buck, E. J. Lewis, and Harold Iles. McNeese basketball fans were no doubt gratified to learn that Aubrey Cole, who had played two years at McNeese and then gone on to Southeastern at Hammond, was signed by the professional Baltimore Bullets. (58)

Boxing continued to be a popular McNeese sport, and by early 1949 McNeese had a team of twelve men. The boxers included Dowel Fontenot, Cliff Jobe, Walter Cade, Freddie LeBlanc, Rabbit Manuel, Jim Frey, Ernest Mouhot, Philip Perry, Roland Padin, Roy Hubbard, Evans Guidroz, and Don Hebert. A student rodeo was held in November 1948, and Miss Mary Ogea was selected as Rodeo Queen, Thomas D. Watson took first place in this rodeo, placing first in saddle bronc riding and steer dogging, second in bareback riding, and tying for second in steer roping. The student cowboy who tied Watson for second in steer roping was Conway LeBleu, who would be a longtime member of the Louisiana State House of Representatives. (59)

The second issue of the McNeese Review was published in the spring of 1949. The eleven articles were mainly by local notables and dealt with current and former issues in southwest Louisiana. One article, however, was by Dean S. A. Caldwell of LSU, the authority on the history of banking in Louisiana, and dealt with that subject. In addition Miss Ada Sabatier published the paper she had read earlier on "Robert M. LaFollette, Humanitarian." (60)

When the academic year came to an end, 75 students qualified for graduation. Dean and Mrs. Frazar held a tea for them the afternoon before the ceremony. During its early years McNeese tended to prefer clergymen as graduation speakers, and 1949 was no exception. The speaker was one of the most notable clerics of the day, Dr. W. Boyd Hunt, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Houston. (61)


The 1949-1950 academic year was to be one of the most momentous in McNeese history, but it would have been difficult to predict that at the beginning of the year. In the fall of 1949 Louisiana instituted a fourth year (or twelfth grade) in high school, something most other states had done years earlier. This in effect wiped out a freshman class and enrollment at McNeese dropped drastically. Only 58 students enrolled for summer school in 1949, and only 397 enrolled in the fall, a 31 percent decrease from the preceding fall and more than a hundred fewer than had attended the previous spring. Enrollment for the spring semester was down to only 336, the lowest since the spring of 1946. (62)

The college attempted to make up for the lack of freshmen by offering more evening classes, but this apparently made little difference. There was optimism about the future, however. After the performance of the Messiah on December 11, 1949, the audience was invited to view the new Music Building (now the Fine Arts Building) and its "adequate facilities for speech and music classes." (63) During the year the Wesley Center on Sale Street was opened, and at long last the new gymnasium was dedicated and made ready for use. A contract for roofing the Arena was let, but the Arena always needed something. In the spring Dean Frazar asked for $100,000 to construct 900 box seats and a dormitory where 500 girls taking part in livestock shows or other events could sleep. (64)

Student Council officers for the year were Gilbert Manuel, president; Joe Sciortino, vice president; Patty Eaves, secretary-treasurer; and John Schroll, Buster Crowley, Clifford Bumpers, and David McWhirter representing the sophomore and freshman classes. In the fall, ROTC officers were Ernest Lambert, cadet lieutenant colonel; William A. Burk, cadet major; and William A. Burk, Wallace R. Burleson, Frank W. Jernigan, and William R. Rentrop, cadet captains. Gilbert Manuel succeeded Lambert in the spring, Burk became major, and Herman J. Istre and Preston J. Stagg replaced Burk and Rentrop as captains. Those who made the honor roll in the fall semester were recognized on Honors Day. The Honors Day speaker in 1950 was Roy L Davenport, Professor of Agricultural Education and Assistant Dean of Education at Louisiana State University. Twelve students – Dorothy Akins, Mary Frances Bulber, Robert Carlin, Patricia Chenet, John Rosfield, Louise Bourne, Joe G. Kite, Frank Powell, Ernest Lambert, Eloise LeBlanc, Edward Moore, and John Schroll – qualified for T. H. Harris scholarships. (65)

The third issue of the McNeese Review was published in the spring, containing ten articles this time. Most were local in interest, but Russell Long, then in his first term as United States Senator, and Homer Hitt, noted LSU sociologist and later chancellor of the University of New Orleans, contributed. Several articles dealt with the history of Southwest Louisiana, and one by faculty member Dolive Benoit was devoted to "French Influence in Calcasieu." (66)

The Bayou Players’ presentation for this year was Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Members of the cast were Pat Chenet, Sheila Gleason, Billie Ruth Evans, John LeBleu, Roland Hebert, Marvin Halbrook, Jerry Korsemeyer, Vernon Reid, Gilbert Reid, Gilbert Manuel, and Sherrill Milner. For the annual Messiah performance in December, a professional from Houston, Darold Perkins, bass, served as one of the soloists. All the others – Joanne Denny Hahn, contralto; Ann LeBleu, contralto; Roland Hebert, tenor; and K. Ramsey McLeod, bass – were either students or alumni of McNeese Junior College. In the second semester Leo Podolsky, a noted pianist, gave a recital and conducted two days of teaching. In the same month the M Club, which normally confined its activities to raising money for athletics, sponsored a commercial production of the popular musical, Oklahoma, in the Auditorium. (67)

The Music Department and the Lion’s Club produced Naughty Marietta in the spring of 1950. Billie Ruth Evans had the lead in this operetta. Others in the cast included Roland Hebert, Ann LeBleu, Jerry Korsemeyer, Doris Rollins, Pat Chenet, and Billy Cole. As had become the custom, a cultural award was presented between acts at the final performance, and this year it went to Mrs. Emma C. Michie, manager of the Majestic Hotel. More than 1,000 people attended the final performance of the operetta, despite the fact that it was in competition with a horse show going on in the Arena at the same time. (68)

Freshman Queen in 1949 was Barbara Allen, and her maids were June Summers, Jackie Summers, Joan Fenner, and Marie Lebato. Jenny Lee Bruno was Homecoming Queen, and her maids were Pat Clay, Mary Frances Bulber, Barbara Allen, Betty Jean Reeves, Joan Fenner, and Geraldine Christ. Incidentally, the designated day for alumni to return to the campus was called McNeese Day more often than it was called Homecoming Day in the junior college years. (69) During the summer of 1949, visitors to a certain night club in the Lake Charles vicinity had the privilege to listening to a superb jazz pianist. Most of them probably did not know that he was also head of the Department of Liberal Arts at McNeese. C.A. Girard had had a tremendously varied career. A native of New Iberia, he became interested in jazz before he finished high school. Upon graduation he received an appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, where he studied engineering for three years before deciding that he did not want to be a naval officer. Instead he went to Loyola in New Orleans for a Ph. B in philosophy, then to LSU for an MA and Ph. D in English literature. During all these years he spent almost every spare minute in New Orleans, studying and playing jazz, but he did make a trip to France that confirmed him in his academic ambitions. He came to McNeese at the opening of the junior college, was drafted into the Army, and returned to McNeese when the war was over. He was a master teacher, and ended his career as dean of the Graduate School at McNeese. Any party where he could be enticed to the piano was an automatic success, though it might go on for too long to suit the neighbors. (70)

In the last year the junior college existed, the McNeese football team was one of its best. The starting lineup, in one of the last years before the platoon system had full sway, consisted of Dee Navarre, Kenneth Sweeney, Harold Brewster, and Desmond Jones in the backfield, plus David McWhirter, Walter Millet, Alvin Foreman, Joe Sciortino, Willie McKusker, Jimmy Whitehead, and Harold Rougeau. Kenneth Sweeney was fullback and team captain. The season was good enough that the team was invited to play Panola County Junior College in the Gas Bowl at Carthage, Texas, in December. (71)

McNeese basketball lettermen in 1950 were James Bruce, Jerry Doland, Dick Hendricks, Joe Kite, Ray Manis, Dick Miller, Gus Schram, and Don Williams. For Miller this was the first of four years of outstanding play. The team’s record was good enough, though not as good as sometimes in the past. In March McNeese was the host of the Region VII Junior College Basketball Tournament. In this tourney McNeese defeated Arkansas Junior College of Magnolia, Arkansas, but in the semi-finals fell victim to Northeast Mississippi Junior College. Newspaper reports indicated that the crowds at the games were disappointing. (72)

Boxing was still a popular McNeese sport. Lettermen on the 1949-1950 boxing team were Dan Adams, Bill Ewing, Dowell Fontenot, Evans Guidroz, Phillip Jobe, Marcel Mahfouz, Phillip Perry, and Charles Weaver. James Welsh received a letter as manager. This team entered the National Junior College Ring Championship Tournament, held in Ogden, Utah, in 1950. Charles Weaver, Phil Perry, Evans Guidroz, and Dowell Fontenot made it into the finals and won three of the four fights, but McNeese lost on total points to Compton Junior College of New Jersey. Dowell Fontenot was national junior college champion for the second year, and Guidroz and Perry were national champions for 1950 in their weight classes. (73)

Sixty-five students qualified to graduate in the spring of 1950. Their speaker was Reverend I. V. Noland, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Charles. Reverend Noland had been an Army Chaplain in New Guinea and the Philippines during the Second World War, and he would later be the Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana. The students who received their certificates in May 1950 could not know with certainty that they were the last graduates of McNeese Junior College, but they were. (74)


State Representative Horace Jones of Calcasieu Parish spoke to the Lake Charles Business and Professional Women’s Club of Lake Charles in October 1949, and in course of his speech he suggested that the club might begin a movement to have McNeese Junior College made into a four-year college. What the club may have done in response to his suggestion is unknown, but the time was ripe for the movement he suggested. The people of Monroe and communities in that area were eager to see their junior college, now Northeastern State University, become a degree-granting school, so cooperation between northeastern Louisiana legislators and southwestern Louisiana legislators was possible. On April 3, 1950, Representative Jones and Calcasieu State Senator Guy Sockrider announced that they would introduce bills to make a four-year college of McNeese. (75)

Senator Sockrider and Representative Jones were as good as their word. They introduced measures in each house that transferred control of McNeese from the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors to the State Board of Education and made McNeese into a four-year college. At the same time, of course, bills were introduced to accomplish the same thing for Northeastern. Sockrider and Jones had valiant help from Senator Gilbert F. Henning of DeQuincy and from representatives Jesse Verret of Calcasieu Parish, John M. Meaux of Cameron, Dr. M. V. Hargrove of Allen, and W. L. Futrell of Beauregard. Urged on by the police juries of Calcasieu and Beauregard Parishes, the Education Committee of each house of the legislature reported the bills favorably. (76)

The bills pertaining to McNeese passed the Senate by a vote of 34 to 1 and 34 to 0 with 5 senators not present. In the House the vote was 49 to 27, and this apparently meant defeat, because the Louisiana State Constitution of 1921 required a two-thirds vote in each house, 67 votes in the House of Representatives, to create a new institution of higher education. Representative Jones succeeded in getting his bill returned to the calendar, so that it could be brought to the floor again, but it was evident that there were enough representatives defending the interest of Louisiana Technological Institute at Ruston, Southwestern Louisiana Institute at Lafayette, Northwestern State College at Natchitoches, and Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge to prevent the attainment of a two-thirds majority. (77)

Someone, probably Representative Jones, saw a way out of this dilemma. He introduced a new bill that said nothing about establishing a four-year college, but simply changed the name from McNeese Junior College to McNeese State College and turned control over to the State Board of Education. It was obvious, of course, that this was a stratagem to establish a four-year college without creating a new institution, and representatives from the opposing areas expressed their righteous indignation. Representative Paul Landry, Jr., of East Baton Rouge Parish became so desperate that he resorted to race baiting, warning that "for every new school you create, that means you will have to provide duplicate facilities for Negroes later." (78) The objections were to no avail; the bills passed the House, the Senate concurred, and Governor Earl Long signed them on July 1, 1950. McNeese was officially, though not yet actually, a four-year college. (79)

Formal separation from LSU came on July 17, 1950, but it was not to be that simple. The legislature originally provided $350,000 for McNeese in 1950-1951 and $425,000 for 1951-1952, this money to be taken from the LSU appropriations. The university, which had been publicly passive up to this point, now complained, pointing out that it had allocated only $204,000 for McNeese for the 1950-1951 year. This problem was solved by a special bill which gave $204,000 plus $32,000 for building repairs, back to LSU and then appropriated the same amount for McNeese. Funding for 1951-1952 would presumably be the same. (80)

As will be seen, McNeese now began making preparations to carry out its mission as a degree-granting college, and in August the State Board of Education authorized a third year in a number of curricula. But in December a cloud appeared on the horizon. Representative Carroll Jones of Lincoln Parish (the home parish of Louisiana Tech) filed suit as a taxpayer in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge. He maintained that the bills establishing McNeese and Northeastern  were unconstitutional, since they did not have a two-thirds majority of both houses of legislature, and he asked for an injunction to prevent the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors and the State Board of Education from putting the bills into effect. (81)

Five outstanding Lake Charles attorneys - E. R. Kaufman, former Governor Sam H. Jones, Cullen R. Liskow, former Governor Alvin O. King, and Vance Plauche - volunteered to represent McNeese in this case. President Frazar and the president of Northeastern testified, among others, but Judge Coleman Lindsey ruled in March 1951 that the bills in question were unconstitutional. The McNeese attorneys announced an immediate appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court. This ruling did not halt the junior-level classes already in progress at McNeese and Northeastern. The State Board announced that students would receive full credit for third-year courses taken no matter what the outcome of the lawsuit. (82)

Cullen Liskow made the plea before the Supreme Court. While awaiting the court’s decision on May 28, 1951, a mass meeting of McNeese students led by student body president Allen Commander, was held on the courthouse lawn in New Orleans. The opinion of the court was unanimous that Judge Lindsey’s decision was in error and must be reversed. In other words, McNeese and Northeastern had become four-year colleges legally. President Lether Frazar, former dean, suspended all classes until the beginning of final examinations, but since that apparently amounted to only half a day, students were not being deprived of very much instruction. The lawyers who handled the college’s case were singled out for special honors at halftime in the Homecoming football game in 1951. Perhaps it should be noted here that the Lincoln Parish legislator was not a graceful loser. Eight years later he informed the State Board of Education that McNeese should be returned to junior-college status, and that it would be even better to make the college into a high school and to transfer all the faculty to SLI. (83)

Nor did other opponents of four-year status give up easily. The Supreme Court denied a rehearing of its May 28 decision on July 1, 1951. During the 1952 session of the Louisiana legislature, Senator B. H. (Johnnie) Rogers of Grand Cane introduced a bill that would have restored McNeese and Northeastern to junior-college status. He said that the establishment of the two had been purely political, and that Louisiana had too many four-year colleges. The Senate Education Committee quietly killed Roger’s bill. Then two years later, Representative L. D. Napper of Lincoln Parish asked the State Board of Education to report to the legislature on the fitness of McNeese and Northeastern for four-year status. Representatives for southwest Louisiana and from northeastern Louisiana protested vigorously any suggestion that the status of the two colleges might be changed, and in its report the State Board of Education unanimously stated that no change was needed. Since 1954, there had been no serious attempt to return McNeese to junior-college status. (84)


Crises, Changes, and Growth

When the State Board of Education authorized McNeese to proceed with a junior year program, the Catalogue made up for junior-college operations was obviously out of date, so a supplement was prepared. Fees were to be $18.50 the first semester, including two dollars for the Contraband, one dollar lyceum fee, and five dollars the first semester only for the Log. The second semester fee was $13.00. Dormitory rent was only $18 per semester for men, $27 for women, and board for a semester was $135, a total of $153 a semester for men, $162 for women. The supplement listed a total of fourteen academic majors: general agriculture; animal husbandry; English; social studies, elementary education; health and physical education; music education with majors in vocal school music, piano teaching, or band administration; accounting; general business; secretarial science; mathematics; and science. In addition there were three-year programs in pre-law, pre-medicine, and prevocational agriculture, plus two-year programs in engineering, home economics, pre-dental, and pre-nursing. Sixty-eight new courses were added. (1)

The Board of Education appointed Dean Frazar as the first president of McNeese State College. His salary, incidentally, was the same as that of other Louisiana State College presidents at the time, $7,700 per year. The president of a four-year college obviously needed administrative help, and Frazar, with the approval of the State Board, employed Robert Lee Brown as dean. Dean Brown, who held a bachelor’s degree from SLI and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa, had at one time been athletic director of SLI and was head of the Department of Health and Physical Education before he came to McNeese. For administrative purposes, Frazar established six academic departments. J.C. Barman headed the flourishing Department of Agriculture, and Harry Benefiel presided over the Department of Commerce. W. H. Bradford headed the Department of Mathematics and Science, and Wayne N. Cusic headed the Department of Education until he became Dean of Men on December 1, 1951. Francis Bulber, of course, headed the Department of Fine Arts, and C. A. Girard headed Liberal Arts, basically languages and social sciences. (2)

Students registering in the fall of 1950 totaled 501, of whom 271 were freshmen, 99 sophomores, 76 juniors, and 7 seniors, plus 48 special students who were in no particular degree plan. A number of the juniors were married women living in Lake Charles who now had a chance to get a college degree, something they could not have done if they had to attend classes in Lafayette, Natchitoches, or Baton Rouge. These students were to be taught by a faculty of 38, 8 of whom were new. The new faculty included Roderick L. Rouse in accounting, Erin Montgomery in foreign languages, Patrick L. Ford in mathematics, and Warrick J. Dickson in botany. New and older teachers must have been comforted when the Board of Education authorized colleges to increase faculty salaries to make them equal to salaries of public school teachers with the same amount of experience. The board ruled that only experience in Louisiana could count. (3)

The 1950-1951 academic year was a hectic one for teachers and students alike, but as usual numbers of students distinguished themselves. Allen Commander was elected president of the student body in October with Joel Kelly as vice president and Patty Eaves secretary-treasurer. Commander would be reelected in May. Six students - Ida Mae Bouquet, John Creed, Joyce Hebert, Eugene Hector, Ruby Robidaux, and Preston Simmons - received scholarships from the Gibson-Barham Fund, established by Mr. Frank Gibson and his daughter, Mrs. Jane Barham. Sherrill Milner became editor of the Contraband. Mary Ellen Spiller won a state contest with an essay on employing handicapped people and in addition to $50, was awarded a scroll by Lieutenant Governor William Dodd. Finally, Bobby Gene Heath won first place in a trombone contest sponsored by band leader Horace Heidt. An Honors Day convocation was held each semester. Dr. A. M. Shaw, the president of Centenary College, was the speaker at a January ceremony honoring 73 students who had maintained a B average or better the previous spring, and Rabbi David Raab spoke in April to those who had earned honors the previous fall. (4)

In September Edwina Riquelmy was chosen Freshman Queen with Ramona Murray, Ida Mae Bouquet, Betty Benoit, and Irene Stiles as her maids. Rose Richey was selected as 1950 Homecoming Queen. Her court was made up of Geraldine Christ, Joan Fenner, Ann Bethea, Leumel Dore, Ida Mae Bouquet, Susanne Fuller, Jackie Simmons, and Irene Stiles. The yearbook queen, now called "LaBelle," was Leumel Dore, with Kathryn Pugh, Rose Richey, Edwina Riquelmy, Betty Koonce, and Ida Mae Bouquet presented as her court. One may have noticed that Ida Mae Bouquet was on all three courts; she was chosen "most beautiful coed at McNeese" in the contest to select the Esquire calendar girl for 1951. She would become Mrs. Desmond Jones. (5)

The academic year 1950-1951 saw a significant upgrading of the McNeese faculty, something that was essential if the school was to be a real four-year college. At the beginning of the year, William Bradford, Clet Girard, and Francis Bulber held doctorates. In January Whitford Laverne Lewis of the Agriculture Department received a doctorate from George Peabody. For the spring semester Sam Adams, who held a Ph. D. in physics replaced Miller B. Clarkson, who was called to active duty in the Navy; Dr. Karl Ashburn arrived to teach economics, and William Iglinsky, a biologist, would receive his doctorate in less than a year. A characteristic of a distinguished faculty is professional activity outside the classroom. Here too, there were promising signs in 1950-1951. Margery Wilson attended the Southwest Theater Conference at Baylor University in October, and Donald Millet, Ada Sabatier, Clara L. Jones, William Iglinsky, and W. J. Dickson all attended the Louisiana Academy of Science Annual Meeting at Centenary College; Millet read a paper there on the Credit Mobilier. (6)

Perhaps the most professionally active persons on the faculty at this time was a new instructor in the Department of Music, Kenneth Gaburo. He had been on the faculty only a short time when he composed the Alma Mater in which McNeese still takes pride. The song was presented publicly on September 22, 1950. In March he published the first volume of a textbook, Advanced Harmony. Gaburo was from New Jersey, had studied at the Eastman School of Music, and taught at Kent State before coming to McNeese. He composed an opera while still at Lake Charles, and he composed an elegy that was performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Bernstein. Gaburo did not, unfortunately, remain at McNeese. He won a Fulbright Scholarship for a year’s study abroad and then resigned in order to pursue graduate work at the University of Illinois. (7)

The Messiah continued to grow in size and quality. Some 225 singers and instrumentalists took part in the 1950 performance, and no fewer than 2,000 people made their way into the Auditorium to hear it. The Drama Club chose Sheridan’s famous comedy The Rivals for its play of the year, presented January 11 and 12, 1951. As was popular in the 1950’s, the play was presented in the round. The cast consisted of Marvin Halbrook, John LeBlanc, Sherrill Milner, Robert Carlin, John Credeur, Richard McCaughan, Carolyn Hutson, Leoti Stiles, Connie Korsemeyer, "Biddy" Lyman, Doris Rollins, and Myrtie Hyatt. Several parts, especially Mrs. Malaprop, were played by one student the first night and another the second. Billie Ruth Evans, Doris Rollins, Thelma Shelley, Irene Platt, Sanford Linscome, Roland Hebert, John LeBlanc, Jack Nelson, and Robert Breaux were the cast of The Chocolate Soldier, the light opera presented by the Music Department and the Lions Club in the spring of 1951. At intermission, Dean Brown made the McNeese Cultural Award for "contributions to the cultural development of Lake Charles and surrounding areas" to Miss Rosa Hart, local champion of the dramatic arts. (8)

The Korean War broke out in July 1950, and the Reserve Officers Training Corps assumed new importance. In September the Army established a four-year ROTC program to go with the college’s new status. Colonel Ware remained as Professor of Military Science and Tactics, and he was shortly promoted to full colonel. Allen Commander became cadet lieutenant colonel and battalion commander. And the battalion was filled out to a full four companies, each commanded by a cadet captain. At the end of the spring term, Colonel Ware left McNeese for Fort Benning and, after that, Korea. (9)

The struggle in Korea had its effect in other ways. At the end of the spring semester, Reserve Lieutenant Commander Louis Reily, assistant professor of mathematics, was ordered to active duty. College students were not exempted from the draft in 1951, and the registrar announced that students who were drafted or who enlisted in the armed forces would receive credit for courses they were taking if they had been in class for fourteen weeks and had a passing grade at the time of induction. (10)

This year saw no significant improvement in campus facilities. There was good reason for this; only $30,000 was available, and it was earmarked for repairs and renovations in the Auditorium. President Frazar appointed a committee made up of Frank Kelly, Rosa Hart, Dr. Maurice Kushner, Margery Wilson, and Mrs. Frank Gibson to decide how that money could best be spent. He did point out that the college’s greatest need was a science building; laboratories in what is now Kaufman Hall were still in use for the teaching of the sciences. (11)

The new four-year college obviously put more effort into recruiting than had been the case in earlier years. The music festival and speech festival held for area high schools had always served a recruiting purpose, and that did not change. Something new came, however, when fifty-one high school students were brought in for a rodeo clinic. Also new was a "road show" of student talent, "vocalists, dancers, an orchestra, string band, and precision drill team," with student-body president Allen Commander as master of ceremonies that toured area high schools. Before the year was out, a hillbilly band, with Herbert Van Winkle on the violin; Billy Cooper, bass fiddle; A. J. Weeks, washing board; Woody Watson, electric guitar; and Arlen Hanchey, guitar, was the most popular part of the road show. (12)

Students who were at McNeese in 1951 will remember registration for the spring semester, when icy weather forced a delay and made it necessary to postpone a basketball game. Nine courses were offered for night students, and most of them attracted enough students to be taught. Enrollment for spring was 100 students more than had registered in the fall, a total of 601. Of these 199 were freshmen, 93 sophomores, 114 juniors and 8 seniors, and no fewer than 187 special students, the last number being so large because night students were classified as special students. (13)

No doubt alumni activity was stimulated by the conversion to four-year status. Ernest Schindler was elected alumni president for 1950-1951, and more than 1500 letters were sent out urging alumni to be on hand for Homecoming. The parade the afternoon before the game was considerably more elaborate than usual. Members of each class in the college’s history had a place in the parade. The response was good; more than 200 couples bought tickets to the dance after the game. One of the alumni who returned was Dr. Carson Jeffries, graduate in the class of 1941, who had gone on to become a distinguished nuclear physicist. (14)

Athletically, McNeese was neither fish nor fowl in 1950-1951; Northeastern was the only other school in the area in the same circumstances. The schedules were basically still junior college schedules. In football Coach Ratcliff was fortunate enough to win half his games, and in basketball Coach Cusic’s team won seven games and lost nine. The regional junior college basketball tournament was held in Lake Charles in 1951, and McNeese participated, winning over Little Rock Junior College but then suffering defeat at the hands of Northeastern Mississippi Junior College. Northeast Mississippi apparently used an ineligible player, leading Coach Cusic to demand that the school be suspended from further competition. Even the boxing team did not distinguish itself in 1951. Cusic, who was now athletic director as well as basketball coach, dean of men, and head of the Education Department, was working toward membership in the Gulf States Conference for McNeese. He was able to schedule football games with Louisiana College, Northeastern, and Southeastern for 1951, and other conference teams would be scheduled in 1952. By that time, however, Cusic would no longer be an active coach. (15)


There could be no graduation in 1951, because the college was authorized only to teach junior-level courses. As a matter of fact, one student did complete all requirements for graduation in the summer of 1951, but she had to wait until the next spring for commencement ceremonies. Total registration for the fall semester was a gigantic 965, but the total is deceiving. There were 280 freshmen students, 135 sophomores, 93 juniors, and 91 seniors, for a total of only 599. The remainder were special students of one kind or another; 266 enrolled for night classes. Most of the night students were military personnel stationed at the Air Base. Once more, spring enrollment exceeded that of the fall semester, for a total of 933, of whom 202 were freshmen, 138 sophomores, 81 juniors, 121 seniors, and 391 special students. The band was one symbol of growth. Director Brad Daigle promised that it would be bigger and better, with a total membership of as many as 60 students. (16)

It was apparent that more facilities must be provided if McNeese State College was to fulfill its educational and cultural mission in Southwest Louisiana. Even though the college was hardly able to provide instruction in the curricula already in the Catalogue, the Association of Commerce asked the Board of Education to establish a Department of Nursing at McNeese. The Board of Education did recognize the existing needs, and asked for a total capital outlay appropriation for McNeese of $1,600,000, including $600,000 for a science building, $250,000 for a women's dormitory, $150,000 for a dining hall and student center, $300,000 for a third wing to the administration building (Kaufman Hall), and $300,000 for a library. Everything the board requested would not be forthcoming at once, of course, but McNeese did do well enough in the legislative session of 1952 to bring bitter protests from President Joel Fletcher of Southwestern Louisiana Institute. (17)

Any number of students distinguished themselves during the year in one way or another. For example the officers of McNeese’s first senior class were Jo Ann Cline, president; Frank Jernigan, vice president; John Schroll, treasurer; and Billie Ruth Watson, secretary. Dorothy Akins was editor of the Log and Thomas Wadley and Joel Kelly were associate editors. Allen Commander headed the Student Council one more time. He had been selected as the outstanding student in the spring of 1951; in 1952 this honor went to Mary Ellen Spiller. Harry Champagne was elected president of the International Relations Club. Paul Shorts was the first student to complete the pre-medical program at McNeese, and he and John R. Thompson were admitted to the Louisiana State University School of Medicine. Finally, thirteen were accepted by Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. They were Dorothy Akins, Robert S. Carlin, Geraldine Christ, Jo Ann Cline, Allen Commander, Jean Craddock, Betty Koonce, John R. LeBlanc, John A. Schroll, Paul Frederick Shorts, Jacqueline A. Summers, Billie Ruth Evans Watson (Mrs. Woody Watson), and Donald L. Williams. The honors day convocation for 91 students who had maintained a B average in the spring of 1951 was held on November 7, 1951, and State Superintendent of Education Shelby Jackson was the speaker. General Troy Middleton, by this time president of Louisiana State University, spoke to the convocation that honored outstanding students of the fall semester in March 1952. Special recognition went to Cloyd Max Allison, Lucille Blanton, William T. Clark, Reverend Lawrence DeShayes, Richard Fergus, Jesse Howard, Constance Korsemeyer, James S. McGregor, Paul Otto, Johnny Royer, and Betty Jo Tyler, all of whom had a perfect A average for that semester. (18)

Recognition of beautiful and popular young women was a relished activity every year. Gloria Broussard was Freshman Queen in the fall of 1951, and Elaine Hanchey, Jackie Hoffpauir, Sue Cox, Dona Braud, and Jean Dosher made up her court. Geraldine Christ was Homecoming Queen and Tommy Lou Thomas, Mrs. Woody Watson, Mary Frances Bulber, Molly Welborn, Leumel Dore, Ida Mae Bouquet, Jackie Hoffpauir, Jean Dosher, and Sue Cox were her maids. Miss Christ had been on the Homecoming Court for three years. It might be mentioned that she also held a band scholarship, was on the staff of the Log, was secretary of the Newman Club and the Student Council, was secretary of the Louisiana State Women’s Recreation Association, was an active member of the Drama Club, and was on the women’s tennis team! Homecoming was hardly over when Tommy Lou Thomas was sent to Memphis to represent Lake Charles as a contestant for Maid of Cotton at the Memphis Cotton Carnival. Then in the spring Jackie Hoffpauir was selected as LaBelle. Few introductions were necessary on the court, which consisted of Sue Cox, Jean Dosher, Andree Goudeau, Leumel Dore, Donna Merchant, Tommy Lou Thomas, Molly Welborn, and Geraldine Christ. (19)

From the point of view of some of the student body, the formation of sororities and fraternities was the most important development of the 1951-1952 academic year. The Deacons, a semi-fraternal organization, had existed since the early years of McNeese, and now the Deacons definitely became a social fraternity. Pi Chi Delta Theta Chi, and Delta Pi Phi were additional social fraternities organized during the 1951-1952 academic year, though not necessarily in the order named here. Delta Alpha Delta was the first social sorority organized, and Alpha Zeta Phi social sorority came into being before the academic year was over. These were local organizations, confined to McNeese State College; national sororities and fraternities would come later. (20)

Mrs. Dorothy F. Roberts and Albert Sterks were among those who joined the faculty in the fall of 1951. Dolive Benoit and Kathleen Allums returned from sabbaticals for advanced study in France, and Miriam Callender returned from a sabbatical spent at the University of Texas. The sabbatical studies of Benoit, Allums, and Callender were evidence of professional development of the faculty, but there was more. An article by Assistant Professor Donald Millet appeared in the 1951 issue of the McNeese Review. Dean Brown was elected vice president of the Louisiana College Conference. Kenneth Gaburo composed an opera, The Snow Queen, for which Margery Wilson wrote the libretto, and this opera was performed by the Lake Charles Little Theater group. Last, but certainly not least, William Iglinsky received his Ph.D. in biology from Texas A&M University in June. (21)

The number of cultural opportunities available to students, faculty, and the public at McNeese in 1951-1952 is rather astounding. On October 21 Kathleen Allums, no doubt inspired by her year’s study in Europe, gave a presentation of Debussy preludes over KPLC radio. From late October through the rest of the year there were music recitals of one kind or another by faculty and students in the Fine Arts Building at 2:20 p.m. every Thursday, open to all. In November students had an opportunity to see the cinema version of Aristophanes’s famous comedy, Lysistrata. In January, April, and May the first senior recitals of students graduating from the Department of Music were heard. Rudolph Ganz, an internationally famed pianist, gave a recital and conducted master classes in January, and faculty soprano Janet Marie Deskins gave a recital in DeRidder the next month. In March, Mrs. Ruth Bryan Rhode, the first female United States ambassador (to Denmark), and the daughter William Jennings Bryan, spoke to a student assembly. Then "Mrs. Oswald W. McNeese, well known lecturer and daughter-in-law of the late John McNeese," spoke to the college assembly on "Nineteenth-Century Presidents and First Ladies." (22)

The Bayou Players’ fall production was Moliere’s Imaginary Invalid. The cast, with many students alternating in important roles, included Marvin Halbrook, Richard McCaughan, Jean Craddock, Rosalie Robinson, Robert Landry, Robert Breaux, Doris Rollins, Connie Korsemeyer, Carolyn Hutson, L. S. Hooper, Jr., Raymond Murray, Winslow Wright, and Sanford Linscome. The Messiah chorus on December 9, 1951, consisted of no fewer than 235 voices, so many in fact that there was a reduction in numbers in later years. This version of the Messiah was the first one to be broadcast, over local radio, but it certainly would not be the last. The light opera presented by McNeese and the Lion’s Club in the spring of 1952 was the famous Merry Widow. The cast was a large one; Mrs. Billie Ruth Watson, Sanford Linscome, John LeBlanc, Doris Rollins, Thelma Shelley, Sidney Gray, Laura Faye Hennigan, Robert Breaux, Miriam Hanchey, Lamar Robertson, June Nash, M. C. Cady, Jacob Hebert, and Robert Landry. The Can Can Chorus of Wanda Horn, Connie Korsemeyer, Charlie Adams, Mary Frances Bulber, Cora Lee Miller, Frances Christ, Margaret Ragusa, and Jean Craddock held the audience’s attention. During intermission, Mrs. Kathleen Blair Foster, Lake Charles pianist, composer, and teacher, received the fourth annual cultural award. (23)

Lieutenant Colonel Joel T. Walker, who had been an instructor at the United States Military Academy and at Fort Benning during the Second World War, became Professor of Military Science and Tactics at McNeese. Cadet officers for the year were Lieutenant Colonel Donald L. Williams, commander; Major John A. Schroll, executive officer; and Captains Walter J. Cade, Robert S. Carlin, and Jimmy L. Whitehead, company commanders. Williams and Cadet Desmond Jones were chosen to represent McNeese at the Sesquicentennial celebration of the United States Military Academy. Before the end of the year, Colonel Walker was ordered to Korea, and lieutenant Colonel George R. Cole, just returned from 20 months in the war zone, replaced him at McNeese. In the spring news came that Colonel Ware, still fondly remembered at McNeese, was in Korea as Deputy Chief of Staff of United States IX Corps; soon after came news of his sudden death of a heart attack. In honor of Colonel Ware, the precision drill team became the Ware Rifles, a name retained so long as the team existed. (24)

Alumni activities became more organized as the fact that McNeese really was a four-year college sank in. The secretary of the alumni organization, Margaret Bell Russell, announced that 1,500 were expected for Homecoming, and it is possible that this many did appear. The first junior-college graduates, the class of 1941, were honored, and Mrs. Gladys Cagle Tritico, again a student; Mrs. Ted Ennes, an attorney; Edward Lewis Clements, a New Orleans architect; Dr. Robert O. Emmet, a physician; Dr. G. W. Ford, Jr., faculty member at San Jose State College; Henry Herbert Robinson, a Lake Charles dentist; and Glenn Garber and Matthew See, employees of Cities Service, were able to attend. At Homecoming, tribute was paid to McNeese graduates who died in World War II: Jesse E. Anderson, Ralph Brookner, Jewel Lester Duhon, C.C. Hoffpauir, Jr., John May, Benny Joseph Mistretta, Amos Henry Nunez, Ralph Leon Nutter, and A. J. Derouen. Officers of the Alumni Association for the upcoming year were Horace Lyons, president; Robert Guintard, first vice president; Glenn Garber, second vice president; Dr. Harcourt Stebbins, third vice president; Mrs. Carol Price, secretary; and Wilfred Quirk, reelected as treasurer. (25)

In October 1951 Wayne Cusic gave up the position of athletic director and turned it over to Clifford Johnson, former professional baseball player and former coach at SLI. Cusic remained basketball coach for one more year; then he gave up all coaching duties. Frank Rolufs, chairman of the Faculty Athletic Committee, announced that McNeese would become a member of the Gulf States Conference as soon as possible. During its first year with four classes, McNeese’s football record was surprisingly good: 5 wins, 3 losses, and 1 tie. Co-captains of the football team, incidentally, were Desmond Jones and Jimmy Whitehead. A group of Alexandria promoters had created the Cosmopolitan Bowl, and McNeese was invited to meet Louisiana College; this gave McNeese an opportunity, quickly seized, to avenge the loss of a game to Louisiana College in the regular season. Entrance into the Gulf States Conference brought an end to boxing at McNeese. McNeese was reluctant to give up a sport in which it had excelled, but there was no choice. (26)

The basketball team was more successful than the football team, winning 15 of 18 games in a bob-tailed season. The most notable event of the basketball season took place before the first game, when Roy (Toddy) Moore of Lake Arthur decided after two days on the LSU campus that he would prefer to attend McNeese. Moore, at six feet, four inches, was considered a great prospect for college stardom, and a star he would be in four years of competition at McNeese. McNeese had its first track team in the spring of 1952, though its record was dismal. The new tennis team, on the other hand, won 5 matches and lost 3. Baseball and golf would be added later. (27)

The first graduating class of McNeese State College was graduated May 26, 1952. The first graduate was Mrs. Garnett Z. Findley of Iowa, a first and second grade teacher, who had completed all requirements for her education degree in the summer of 1951. Fifty-seven other students also received their diplomas at the commencement ceremony, including Dorothy L. Akins, who was "the honor student" of the class. Dr. J. Henry Bowden, a well-known Shreveport minister, preached the baccalaureate sermon, and Mr. E. R. Kaufman, one of the men responsible for the founding of the junior college and for the preservation of its translation into a four-year college, gave the commencement address. Mr. Parrish Fuller of Oakdale, president of the State Board of Education, passed out the diplomas. Twenty-seven young men were commissioned as Army second lieutenants, and four of them, Robert S. Carlin, Herbert V. Van Winkle, Asa J. Weeks, and Donald L. Williams, received commissions in the Regular Army. Graduation ended with a dance for which Jan Garber and his famous orchestra provided music. (28)

Summer school in 1952 demonstrated how far McNeese had come. Seven departments offered 60 courses, and the total enrollment reached 386. In the fall almost a thousand students registered, 993 to be exact. Attrition was not great; the total in the spring semester, 1953, was 930. These students had a wider choice of courses than their predecessors; the 1952-1953 Catalogue listed 23 four-year curricula and 370 separate courses, 53 more than had appeared in the previous Catalogue. Then in August, it was announced that for the first time a bachelor’s degree in chemistry would be offered. Previously the nearest thing to this available was a degree in science education or a general mathematics-science degree. (29)

There would be some physical growth during the year, and some new offices opened. Governor Earl Long had announced in April 1952 that $30,000 of state oil revenues from the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge would be made available for building a new cafeteria. Bids were received on January 20, 1953, and the $30,000 added to money already appropriated provided the almost $84,000 needed. Ground was broken on March 1, 1953, and the cafeteria would be available in the fall of 1953. Plans were being drawn for a Baptist Student Center. Probably the most important event of the year was the opening of an electronic laboratory to be used in the teaching of foreign languages. This, according to Spanish teacher Erin Montgomery, made a tremendous difference in the effectiveness of language teaching. (30)

To expedite the training of teachers, arrangements were made for practice teaching by McNeese students at College Oaks Elementary School and at LaGrange and Lake Charles high schools. A counseling service for freshmen was set up under psychologist Ralph A. Tesseneer, and a placement service was established, intended to aid students in finding jobs after graduation. Dean of Men Cusic announced that Allen Commander would be in charge of the placement office in addition to his duties as Director of Student Activities. As had become the custom, two honors day convocations were held, one in the fall for students who had maintained a B average the previous spring and one in the spring for those who had done so in the fall. Asa Barnett, a public relations man, was the speaker in the fall when 128 students were honored, and Dr. Fred Cole, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Tulane, spoke to 126 students in the spring. More than 20 percent of the student body was making the honor roll, which was, and is, entirely too many. (31)

At the end of the fall semester Charles Thomas White, Robert Guillotte, and Fred Thomas were admitted to the LSU Medical School, and in the spring Milton Bourdier became a junior member of the American Chemical Society. Fred Thomas, editor of the Contraband, was the first editor to attend the Columbia Scholastic Press Association meeting in New York. Finally twelve students were selected for inclusion in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities; they were Howard Bishop, Robert Breaux, Harry Champagne, William T. Clarke, Geraldine Collins, Joline Davis, Rev. Lawrence DeShayes, Charles Kuehn, Thomas Miller, Doris Rollins, Milly Welborn, and Jimmy Whitehead. (32)

Vernie Miller of Grand Chenier was queen of the Homecoming court, and Molly Welborn, Iwana Burk, Ida Mae Bouquet, Betty June Kitchell, and Jean Dosher were the maids presented with her. Leumel Dore, recently stricken with polio, was an honorary maid. LaBelle in the spring of 1953 was Miss Donna Merchant. Her maids were Ida Mae Bouquet, Elaine Hanchey, Vernie Miller, Gwendolyn Moss, Alma Marie Rostrom, and Gere Soulier. Miss Merchant had earlier represented the Lake Charles Association of Commerce as an entry in the Maid of Cotton contest at the Memphis Cotton Carnival, and Miss Bouquet had represented McNeese at the Opelousas Yambilee Festival. The sororities and fraternities that had come into existence the previous year continued to thrive. Delta Alpha Zeta, headed by president Maryle Morgan, had 25 members, and Alpha Zeta Phi, headed first by Molly Welborn and then by Jeanette Burkette, had 18. Among the four fraternities the Deacons had 12 members, Delta Pi Chi 18, Delta Theta Chi 20, and Pi Chi 14. (33)

ROTC students had an opportunity to reflect on what duty meant this year. Colonel Cole received the oak leaf cluster to his bronze star for meritorious service in Korea. Before this, however, news had come that former professor of military science and tactics Lieutenant Colonel Joel Walker had been severely wounded in the battle for Triangle Hill. In April Colonel Walker, on recuperative leave, reviewed the cadet corps. William T. Clarke, who had been named "most outstanding cadet" at the Fort Benning summer camp, became the cadet commander. In October Clarke, Raymond D. Manis, Sam F. Liprie, Charles E. Kuehn, Woody B. Watson, and Charles T. White were cited as distinguished military students. (34)

The alumni under the leadership of Frank Salter conducted a special membership drive during the year. Two alumni who distinguished themselves were Warrant Officer Herman G. Vincent, who at age 22 became bandmaster of the 67-piece 1st Air Force Band, and Second Lieutenant Chick Green, who completed paratrooper training at Fort Benning and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. Most McNeese alumni were at this time still too young to make a significant contribution to the present and future of the college. (35)

The faculty of the new college was becoming more and more qualified as new people were added and others received additional training. When school began in the fall, Ralph Ward, who will be discussed again later, had replaced Cusic as basketball coach. John Q. Anderson, one of the more important Louisiana literary figures of the 1950’s and prevented from a much greater contribution only by his untimely death, was an assistant professor of English. Two men who would play important roles were added to the faculty. Dr. Karl Everett Ashburn, who had earned a Ph.D. in economics from Duke University, was named full professor and head of the Department of Commerce. Before the year was over he would be Dean of Commerce. Onis D. Hyatt became assistant professor of Horticulture and Agronomy; he would become head of the Department of Agriculture and direct it for many years. (36)

At the beginning of the fall semester, Francis Bulber was promoted from head of the Department of Fine Arts to Dean of Fine Arts, with control over Music, Speech, and Art. William H. Bradford was named Dean of Arts and Sciences, which made him supervisor of the humanities and the sciences, plus Agriculture and Home Economics. Dean Brown was now responsible only for the Education Department, which included Health and Physical Education. There was no dean of the college; each of the above reported directly to President Frazer. In May Bradford received his doctorate in mathematics from the University of Texas. Clet Girard and Margery Wilson took a year’s sabbatical, Girard to study at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, Wilson to study at Columbia University in New York. During the summer of 1952, Frank Rolufs attended the University of Houston; Wylma Reynolds and Ada Sabatier studied at Columbia University; and Wayne Cusic, J.C. Barman, and W. J. Oakley attended classes at LSU. (37)

Kenneth Gaburo learned in October that he had won second place in a national contest for dual-piano compositions and that his opera, The Snow Queen, would be performed at St. Lawrence College. In the spring he was named as one of the 23 southern composers whose work would be played at the Regional Composers’ Forum at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Miss Janet Deskins of the music faculty was honored by being selected as a finalist from the South for auditions for the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York. Margery Wilson’s brother, David G. Parsons, a young sculptor who replaced her while she was on sabbatical, put on a one-man exhibit at the Lake Charles Public Library. John Q. Anderson read paper to the Annual Meeting of the Texas Folklore Society and had an article accepted for publication in the Southwest Historical Quarterly. (38)

In October John Oakley and John S. Wilson of the Science Department attended an LSU conference on the teaching of chemistry, and in November Karl Ashburn, J. M. Weidman, Roderick L. Rouse, and A. D. Sterkx of the Commerce Department, aided by Auditor Arthur Lee, held a well-attended clinic on federal and state income taxes. President Frazar and the four deans attended a Memphis meeting of the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, the accrediting agency for southern colleges, in November, and Dean Bulber attended the convention of the National Association of Schools of Music on the same trip. Donald Millet and Ada Sabatier went to the Fleming Lectures on Southern History at LSU and heard famed historian E. Merton Coulter lecture on Reconstruction in the South. Millet also read a paper at the Louisiana Academy of Science meeting. Erin Montgomery of the Language Department represented McNeese at the Boston meeting of the Modern Language Association. (39)

In meeting the college’s obligation to provide cultural opportunities to its students and to the people of Southwest Louisiana, the band gave summer concerts at Locke Park and Goosport Recreational Park; offered a major concert in the Auditorium in February that featured a trumpet quartet made up of John Brewer, Anthony Mancuso, Don Graber, and Paul Myers; and in April made a two-day tour that took it to six high schools away from Lake Charles. For those who like more classical music the Danish National Symphony gave a concert in the Auditorium on the evening of October 28 and the Ballet Russe of Monte Carlo performed on the Auditorium stage on January 10, 1953. In the late winter Rudolph Ganz gave a piano recital and conducted two days of classes for McNeese students, and famed actor Sir Charles Laughton gave readings in the Auditorium. Finally, on March 23, the Alabama String Quartette of the University of Alabama gave a recital. (40)

For their fall production the Bayou Players chose Sidney Howard’s play, The Silver Cord, which was presented in the round. The small cast included Doris Rollins, Jackie Hoffpauir, Calvin Colt, Philip Silvernail, Lily Ann Frazar, and Margaret Ragusa. Only 300 people could view each performance. The Messiah in 1952 had 214 members in the chorus and 34 instrumentalists in the orchestra. Soloists were soprano Euyne Register of Jersey City, contralto Kathryn Gutekunst of Houston, tenor Floyd Townsley of the University of Texas, and bass Geoffrey Young of Houston. Pirates of Penzance was sponsored by McNeese and the Lion’s Club in the spring. The lively cast included Robert Breaux, Remie Vidrine, Jake Hebert, Stanford Linscome, Lamar Robertson, Rhonda Aleshire, Doris Rollins, Thelma Shelley, Laura Faye Hennigan, Frances Cormier, Edna Mira Hebert, Marion Garrison, and Miriam Hanchey. At intermission of the first performance Mrs. David Levingston – choir director of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, charter member of the Little Theater, a worker in the Community Concert Association, and a member of the Messiah chorus for eleven years – received the McNeese cultural award. (41)

The McNeese football squad in 1952 had a 7-3 record. Jules Derouen was the team star of the season and McNeese’s rushing leader, gaining 1,313 yards and scoring 102 points, thus placing second nationally among small college players. It was Charles Kuehn, however, who was selected for the United Press’s Little All-American team. Before the season began, Cusic and Ratcliff selected their ten best "all time" athletes at McNeese. They were Kenneth Sweeney, Dowell Fontenot, Irving Richard, Wayne Kingery, Jackie [sic] Doland, Lloyd Jones, Reed Stephens, E. J. Lewis, Carroll Neely, and Aubrey Cole. (42)

The McNeese basketball team had high hopes for the 1952-1953 season, all of which were not fulfilled. The team did win 17 of 24 games, which earned it a place, along with Tech, Northwestern, and Centenary, in the NAIA Louisiana District playoff. Hopes for national distinction ended when Tech eliminated McNeese. The record might have been better, but after the team had won 7 games in a row, Roy (Toddy) Moore was hit by an automobile and incapacitated for 8 games. Even so, Dick Miller was named to the All-GSC first team and Moore to the third. Coach Ralph Ward was named GSC coach of the year. McNeese made it into the playoff primary because Centenary was dropped from the GSC for "continued violation of eligibility rules," which gave McNeese a 6 – 1 record in conference play. The track team this year was undistinguished, but the tennis team won the GCS championship with a 5 – 3 record. (43)

The graduation class of 1953 heard a baccalaureate sermon by Bishop Maurice Schexnayder, former chaplain to Catholic students at LSU. The commencement speaker was T. Harry Williams of the LSU Department of History, already a well-known historian but destined to become one of the outstanding scholars of his generation. Williams' topic was "Why Karl Marx Was Wrong About America." Magna cum laude graduates were Geraldine Collins, John Schroll, Joline Davis, Reverend Lawrence DeShayes, Mrs. Martha Todd Blevins and Mrs. Carita Dobbertine Dunnehoo. In addition, William Clarke received an award as the "outstanding graduate in business administration." Clarke, Raymond D. Manis, Woody B. Watson, and Charles T. White had already been recognized as distinguished military graduates and had received regular army commissions. Three members of this class, Robert Guillotte, Claude Davis, Jr., and Fred Thomas were accepted by the LSU School of Medicine, and Arlen Wayne Hanchey was accepted by the Loyola School of Dentistry. (44)


Long lines at registration made it evident that enrollment was up again in the fall of 1953; so many hopefuls appeared that lack of student housing made it necessary to turn some away. The final count showed 402 freshmen, 188 sophomores, 95 juniors and 95 seniors, a total of 1,192 when special and night students were included. In the spring attrition had reduced the enrollment to 339 freshmen, 169 sophomores, 100 juniors, 112 seniors, 259 night students and 19 special students, which made a total of 998. This registration was highly significant in that four black high school graduates applied for admission but the integration of McNeese will receive special and separate attention in this narrative. (45)

According to the Catalogue, in preparation for this increase in enrollment, the college had added a number of new four-year curricula leading to a bachelor’s degree. In the sciences these included physics, pre-medical, mathematics, and business and home economics. In fine arts there was a new bachelor’s degree in art, one in speech and dramatics, and no fewer than four in music. The School of Business now offered four-year programs in secretarial science, economics, and foreign trade. Degrees in history, English, French and Spanish were made available. After the Catalogue was in print, the decision was made to offer a degree in journalism, radio, and television. Finally a four-year nursing program was begun, and in time Mrs. Fannie L. Sample was named administrator of this program. To support all these new degrees, 115 new courses were added to the Catalogue, making a total of 544. (46)

Improvements in facilities during the 1953-1954 year were not extensive, but there was more promise for the future. In the fall the new cafeteria, described by President Frazar as outgrown before it was ever opened, came into use and the renovation of the Home Economics Cottage across Ryan Street made that building much more useful than it had been. Ground was broken across Ryan next to Contraband Bayou for a Baptist Student Center. As to the future, the State Board of Education requested $2,195,000 for capital outlay at McNeese. This money had to be appropriated by the legislature, but Frazar was confident enough to announce in October that the college would soon have a new $850,000 Science Building and a $400,000 women’s dormitory. (47)

In an attempt to lower the attrition rate among freshmen, a freshman counseling service had been set up, but it had no appreciable effect. So long as any high school graduate could enter McNeese, and so long as the high schools graduated every boy or girl who behaved reasonably well and who kept a seat warm for four years, the attrition rate would continue to be heavy. In the long run, perhaps the most significant development of 1953-1954 was the accreditation of the music program by the National Association of Schools of Music. This recognition demonstrated that McNeese’s music program was at least as good as those in most other colleges and universities. In less than four years, Francis Bulber had done extremely well. (48)

State Superintendent of Education Shelby Jackson was the speaker in October when 165 students who had earned a place on the spring honor roll were applauded. Over 40 percent of juniors and seniors were on this honor roll. Lake Charles Superintendent G. W. Ford spoke in the spring to 151 students who had made the honor roll in the fall. Among these honor students was John H. Eckhardt, one of four Louisiana students to be considered for a Fulbright scholarship abroad that year. Unfortunately, he did not get the scholarship. Five seniors – Jerry C. Pickrel, Cyrus Vaughn, Donald Tyler, Johnny Royer, and Stephen Carrington – were accepted for medical school, Pickrel at Tulane and the remainder at LSU. (49) A group of students interested in writing formed a local unit of the College Writers Society of Louisiana in November 1953 and planned to participate in that organization’s writing contests. This would bring distinction to McNeese in the near future. Several McNeese art students had works selected for a showing in Baton Rouge sponsored by the Louisiana Art Commission. Six McNeese students – Fred Godwin, Billy Frank Gossett, Roy Price, Annette Landry, Dale Ann Leaman, and Iris Bonar – attended a meeting of the Student Federation of Louisiana Colleges and Universities at Hammond in March; Bonar was elected secretary of this statewide group, and Godwin was elected parliamentarian. Carol Pulliam, editor of the Contraband, attended the Thirtieth Annual Convention of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, sponsored by Columbia University, in New York, a meeting that a number of later editors would attend. Gene Booth was president of the Student Council (50)

Freshmen Queen in 1953 was Annette Landry, who had Barbara Breaux, Helen Hebert, Alice Preston, Joyce Land, and Jeanine Porter as her court. Donna Merchant was the McNeese candidate for Yambilee Queen at Opelousas and for Rice Queen at Crowley, and in the spring Beverly Helms, was Lake Charles’ representative at the Miss Louisiana pageant at Lake Providence. She was the second runner-up. Mrs. Desmond Jones, the former Ida Mae Bouquet, was Homecoming Queen, supported by maids Barbara Breaux, Jacquelyn Watkins, Donna Merchant, Patsy Fern Cooper, and Alma Marie Rostrom. Annette Landry was LaBelle for 1954 and Billie Pitts, Marjorie Riley, Sara Ann Monticello, Jeanine Porter, Nancy Bybee, and Alma Marie Rostrom made up her court. (51)

Except for Homecoming, the alumni were not particularly active in 1953-1954. Gerald F. Sinitiere was elected alumni president, Harold Price first vice president, Roy Broussard second vice president, Harry Clark third vice president, and Mrs. J. M. Humble secretary treasurer in the fall alumni elections. The alumni Board of Directors was made up of Eugene Cox, Jake Levine, Everett Scott, Ted Price, Ted Harless, "Buddy" Price, Don Kingery, Mrs. Charles Richard, George Ashy, and Frank Salter. Alumnus Allen Commander, who had been director of student activities and assistant dean of men, left for LSU, and alumnus Reed Stephens, who had been playing professional baseball for the Lake Charles Lakers of the Evangeline League, became football coach at Oberlin High School. (52)

New faculty members, most of them additions to the faculty but some replacements, were numerous. Among them was Nowell Daste, employed to supervise the new four-year program in art, something he did for more than a quarter of a century. Others were Dee Edward Newland, assistant professor of Geology, Ann Cash, instructor in Home Economics, and Bob Lee Mowery, head librarian. Dr. Gerald M. Weiss, M.D., became a part-time instructor in the pre-medical program. There can be no question that Kenneth Gaburo was the outstanding faculty member this year. It was announced in July that he had received the first Victor Alessandro commission for a small composition in chamber music. That same month he gave a piano recital of his own compositions. In January Gaburo and James Dagleish of New York City shared the $1,000 prize in the George Gershwin Memorial Contest for the best unpublished orchestral composition by a young American composer; each man’s composition was played by the New York Philharmonic. In April one of his works, "Music for Five Instruments," was played as part of the third annual Southwestern Symposium of Contemporary Music at the University of Texas at Austin. In May Gaburo was in charge of a Festival of Contemporary Music held at McNeese. Then, only 27 years of age, he received the Fulbright grant for a full year of study abroad that would take him from McNeese permanently. (53)

Six more faculty members had joined Girard and Bulber as holders of the doctoral degree by the fall of 1953, making eight of sixty-two. In the fall Dolive Benoit and Samuel Adams collaborated on an article published in the Modern Language Journal, concerning the language laboratory at McNeese; at that time, only McNeese and LSU had such facilities. John S. Wilson and Hans B. Jannsen had a paper in the September 5 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. John M. Brierly read a paper to a meeting of the American Chemical Society. The language faculty was active in the beginning of a France-Amerique Chapter in Lake Charles. Warrick J. Dickson presented a paper at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists and Roderick L. Rouse published an article in the April issue of the Bulletin of the National Association of Cost Accountants. Miller Clarkson was selected to attend a nuclear physics course at Oak Ridge. During the summer of 1954, five faculty members were working toward doctoral degrees, Clarkson studying physics at the University of Texas, Octavine Cooper working in education at LSU, Donald Millet studying history at LSU, Clara Louise Jones studying zoology at the University of Indiana, and Albert D. Sterkx working in business administration at the University of Alabama. (54)

The Bayou Players presented two plays during the year. In the fall they put on Maurice Valency’s adaptation of Jean Giraudoux’s Intermezzo under the title The Enchanted. The lead roles were played by Nancy Bybee, Daniel Ieyoub, Leland Fisher, and Al Noah. In the spring they produced Shakespeare’s Henry IV (Part I) as the guest play of the Lake Charles Little Theater. Ed Daugherty of the McNeese faculty played Falstaff, and the legendary Rosa Hart played Mistress Quickly. Among the others in the large cast were Jerry Vauquelin, Paul Myers, Leland Fisher, Paul Hannen, Fred L. Probst, James Beam, Larry Guillory, Fred Godwin, and Daniel Ieyoub. The players were pleased when some scenes from this production appeared in July 1954 issue of Seventeen magazine. (55)

The Messiah, presented on December 6 for the fourteenth year, was unquestionably bigger than ever. From 85 voices and two pianos at the first performance in 1940, it had grown to 220 voices and a 40-piece orchestra in 1953. Soloists were Virginia MacWatters, a soprano of the Metropolitan Opera Company; Marcella Uhl Robnett, contralto, who sang frequently for the Columbia Broadcasting Company; Dallas Draper, a tenor from the Music Department of LSU; and Norman Cordon, bass-baritone of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The auditorium was not only filled; 401 people had to be turned away. Excerpts from this production were broadcast over the Mutual Radio Network on December 27, 1953. (56)

The spring operetta was the ever popular The Student Prince. The cast was a large one: Charles Goen, Huey Williams, Peter Moon, Allen Drost, C. J. Christ, Remie Vidrine, Sanford Linscome (as the prince), Donald Goss, Mrs. Monnie Boyer, Larry Guillory, Jerry Crews, J. M. Thom, Lucas Edward Brock, Thelma Shelley, Rhonda Aleshire, Daniel Ieyoub, Mrs. Marion Garrison, Laura Faye Hennigan, Katherine Rentrop, Joel Belanger, Mrs. Goldie Higdon, Beverly Helms, Mary Ruehln, and Olive West. At intermission the first night before a capacity audience, Frances Bulber was presented with the McNeese cultural award. (57)

Plenty of additional activity was scheduled. The McNeese Band played in Pelican Stadium in New Orleans as part of the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase, and the 45-voice McNeese Mixed Chorus sang as part of the ceremonies opening television station KTAG-TV in Lake Charles. Musical events on campus during the first half of 1954 included the University of Alabama String Quartette, Phil Spitalny and his all-girl orchestra, the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, ballad singer John Jacob Miles, and Larry Logan and his harmonica. For those who preferred something different, famous actress Agnes Moorehead gave her "Fabulous Redhead" one-woman show, and former Governor Sam Jones, Mrs. Oswald McNeese, and New Orleans mayor and would-be governor Chep Morrison each spoke to a general assembly in the Auditorium. (58)

The football team had a mediocre season, losing 6 out of 10 games. One reason, no doubt, was that the star of the previous season, fullback Jules Derouen, and end James Trotti were dismissed from the squad by Coach Ratcliff for disciplinary reasons. This was part of a tragedy in the making. Derouen, whose older brother had been a pilot who died in World War II, enlisted in the Marine Corps and was found dead of a bayonet wound in the chest at boot camp at San Diego. Basketball was little better than football this year. The team lost eleven games, but still managed to place third in the Gulf States Conference. Roy Moore was definitely the star of the year and was named to the All-Gulf States Conference team. The baseball team, a new athletic venture, won only 6 of 18 games. (59)

Seventy-four seniors graduated in the spring of 1954. Cum laude graduates were Mrs. Laura Lucille Blanton McCoy, Mrs. Mary McCloud Strickland, Jerry Cline Pickrel, Johnny Ray Royer, and Sanford Abel Linscome. Twelve young men were commissioned into the armed forces. The Right Reverend Iveson B. Noland, by this time Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana, was the baccalaureate speaker, and Dean of Admissions Dr. J. M. Godard of the University of Miami gave the commencement address. Thirty-eight of the graduates majored in education, 13 in liberal arts (which then included the sciences, social sciences, history, and languages), 10 in agriculture, 9 in fine arts, and 4 in commerce. (60)


If Registrar Inez Moses and her small staff had previously been becoming bored with regular increases in enrollment, the fall semester 1954 did nothing to relieve the boredom. One hundred and seventy-five more students registered than in September 1953, making a total of 1,377. This included 495 freshmen, 332 of them coming to college for the first time, 211 sophomores, 136 juniors, 117 seniors, 17 special students, and 362 night students, and 40 persons taking courses for no credit. No doubt the enrollment would have been larger, but well before registration was over would-be resident students were being turned away because there was no housing for them. Enrollment for the spring was also up, 453 freshmen, 244 sophomores, 152 juniors, 123 seniors, and enough in other categories to bring the total up to 1,380. (61)

In August President Frazar, speaking to the Lake Charles Lions Club, stated that through the efforts of Senator Sockrider and Representatives Horace Jones and Bobby Cagle. McNeese would get $1,500,000, which would be used for an $850,000 science building, a student center, and a women’s dormitory. The State Board of Education either had different ideas or had its signals crossed, because three weeks later it stated that $850,000 would go for the science building, $100,000 for more land, and $150,000 for a student center. The science building at least was on its way. In March Governor Robert F. Kennon spoke when the cornerstone was laid for what is now Frasch Hall. (62)

The dormitories did not come quite so soon, but in late November the board authorized McNeese to issue bonds amounting to $1,150,000 to be used as security for a loan from the federal government to pay for three dormitories. The bonds would be paid off by revenues from the buildings. In December an architect was chosen to draw up plans. It might also be noted that the W. H. Knight Memorial Baptist Student Center was formally opened in September, providing another center for student activity. (63)

A new four-year forestry program was initiated in the fall of 1954 and attracted a small but devoted band of students. In January, Dr. Andrew Rainier, pathologist at St. Patrick’s Hospital, announced that McNeese, with the cooperation of the hospital, would offer a degree in medical technology. In the fall a coordinating council for the nursing program was appointed, and in the spring McNeese began a program under which registered nurses without degrees could obtain a bachelor’s degree at McNeese. Twelve nurses enrolled in the program full time, and 35 enrolled part-time. Also, in the spring semester, 1955, freshmen began taking placement tests in English and mathematics, enabling advisers to recommend remedial work if it was needed. Another desirable development of 1954 was the establishment by the Enterprise Club, at the urging of Dean Mabel Kitt, of a $1,000 loan fund for McNeese students, a fund that the Lake Charles Junior Welfare League increased by $500. (64)

The most important development of the 1954-1955 academic year was the full accreditation of McNeese by the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges. Colleges and universities in the United States are accredited by regional bodies, and only the Southern Association could grant accreditation to the entire college. It should be noted, however, that the Department of Nursing already had state accreditation, and that the Department of Music was already nationally accredited. Accreditation by the Southern Association was much simpler than it would be in later years. Basically, McNeese applied for accreditation, a visiting committee came and inspected the college, and the association, at its December meeting declared the college accredited. In contrast, accreditation in 1985-1986 involved the work of scores of people, used untold hours of computer time, and produced tons of paper. Nor is it completely over at this writing. (65)

M. K. Woolbert was president of the student body in 1954-1955, presiding over a Student Council with three representatives from each class, Woolbert was elected president of the Student Federation of Louisiana Colleges and universities, and the statewide organization met at McNeese in the spring. Just before the end of the spring semester, Roy Price was elected president of the student body for 1955-1956. The debate team was "newly organized" for 1954-1955, and it won five of thirteen contests in the Louisiana Technical Institute tournament in November. The team consisted of seniors Larry Guillory and James Kent, plus substitute Howell Murphy, juniors Larry DeRouen and Randolph Dressler, and a segregated women’s team made up of Winelle Gordy and Tasca Dickerson. (66)

Bessie Jean Ruley was chosen by the Louisiana State Home Economics College Clubs as the Louisiana candidate for vice president of the National Home Economics Club, and Leavon Rostrom and Marie Speyrer won expense-paid trips to the National 4-H Congress in Chicago. The Lion’s Club honored Ted Chapman as McNeese’s "scholastically outstanding athlete in baseball and basketball," and Charles Wade Carwile, who had left McNeese for LSU and law school at the end of the fall semester, was recognized as the "outstanding accounting student" for the year. Perhaps the most prophetic honor to come to a student in 1954-1955 was Andre Dubus’s winning of first prize in the short story in the College Writers’ Society of Louisiana contest. Dubus, who wrote a column for the Contraband, was subsequently honored by the Lake Charles Writers Club, though his sister Elizabeth read his story for him. Dubus went on to become a nationally known novelist and short story writer, and his sister has published novels of her own. (67)

As usual, there were honors convocations in fall and spring to recognize those who had made the honor roll the previous semester. In the fall Dr. Charles C. Elkins, dean of Francis T. Nicholls Junior College of LSU (soon to be Nicholls State College), spoke to 147 honor roll students. On this long honor roll were such familiar names as Eldon Bailey, who would teach accounting at McNeese for years; Curtis Nelson, who would devote his life to teaching English at McNeese; James C. Beam, who would become editor of the Lake Charles American Press; Leland Parra, who would be one of McNeese’s best-known alumni; Fred R. Godwin, who would later become a prominent attorney; and Louis Riviere, who is now Dean of Student Life at McNeese. In the spring Mr. J. J. Davies, president of the State Board of Education, spoke to 177 honor roll students. (68)

The Freshman Queen in 1954 was Sheila Breaux of Lake Charles. Her court was made up of Charlotte Clarke, Peggy Ellis, Shirley Sellers, Jacqueline Bouquet, and Leavon Rostrom. Alma Marie Rostrom was Homecoming Queen, attended by Barbara Henshaw, Joyce Land, Frances Thomson, Alice Ogea, Jacquelyn Watkins, and Frances Christ. In the spring Frances Thomson was LaBelle, and Leavon Rostrom, Joyce Land, Barbara Breaux, Emogene Lanier, Sheila Breaux, and Annette Landry made up her court. Annette Landry had already represented Lake Charles at the Cotton Festival at Ville Platte, and Leavon Rostrom had represented the McNeese at the Opelousas Yambilee Festival. Three other McNeese coeds represented the City of Lake Charles at festivals, Nancy Lynn Bybee at the Crowley Rice Festival, Frances Thomson at the Yambilee Festival, and Barbara Breaux at the Cotton Festival. (69)

Lieutenant Colonel George Cole’s ROTC unit had a bad 1954 beginning as four cadets – Billy Frank Gossett, James Beam, Robert Benoit, and Ira Landry – were injured (but none very seriously) in an automobile accident while returning from summer camp at Fort Benning. Top cadet officers for the year were William Campbell and Charles A. Thomason, lieutenant colonels; Winfield A. Singleton, major; and Billy Gossett, Robert Finnigan, and M. K. Woolbert, captains. Cadets with the highest scholastic rank were Charles W. Carwile, William E. Lumpkin, Francis T. Lake, and Camille P. Sonnier. Singleton received a regular army commission upon graduation. (70)

Alumni officers for the year were John Eckhardt, president; Walter J. Cade, first vice president; Sam Gennuso, second vice president; Rev. Lawrence N. DeShayes, third vice president; and Betty Brashear, secretary treasurer. The first issue of the Alumni News was published in 1954, edited by Allen Commander. Many alumni were in the military; Second Lieutenant William T. Clarke came to Lake Charles from Fort Sill on 30 days leave, with orders to report to the Far East. Tragedy struck when Lieutenant Paul J. Burke, Jr., who had received a regular army commission, was killed in a helicopter accident at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Sanford A. Linscome, who had participated in practically every musical event at McNeese during the years he was in college, was reported to have joined the Robert Shaw Chorale. Linscome went on to get his doctorate in music and at this writing is coordinator of graduate studies in music at Northern Colorado University. (71)

The constantly growing enrollment demanded an increase in faculty, and new positions and replacements brought many new faces to the campus in 1954. Norman Smith succeeded Brad Daigle as band director when Daigle resigned to go into the insurance business. The Department of Agriculture added alumnus Kenneth Sweeny and Edmund D. Cooley as full-time faculty, and Dr. Howard V. Smythe, a veterinarian, as part-time faculty. They joined Robert Bryant, who had come earlier. Dr. James Dwight Hobbs, who would devote his life to McNeese until his retirement, joined the Department of Education. Miss Elaine Tieman and Miss Mildred Davis, both of whom would close their professional careers at McNeese, became part of the Library staff, and Elaine Jarmon and D. Richard Covington came to teach English. Until she retired, Miss Jarmon would remain at McNeese and teach English to thousands of students lucky enough to get into her sections. In addition to Norman Smith, Dr. George Ruffin Marshall, Mary Patricia Cavell, and Basil Warren Signor joined the music faculty, where Miss Cavell, who became the second Mrs. Francis Bulber, is a fixture to this day, and where George Marshall performed brilliantly until his untimely death. Dr. Thomas Peter Zolki, Marvin Wayne Hanson, and Dee Newland joined the science faculty; Newland and Zolki both retired from McNeese. Louis P. Reily returned to the mathematics faculty at he beginning of the spring semester from his second tour of duty as a Naval Reserve officer. (72)

Never before had so many McNeese faculty attended professional meetings. John Oakley, now promoted to Purchasing Agent, attended an institute for such officials at the University of Kentucky in July 1954; Wayne Cusic was a Louisiana delegate to President Eisenhower’s White House Conference on Education in November 1955, and in the spring Registrar Inez Moses attended the Annual Meeting of the American Association of College Registrars, this year in Boston. Erin Montgomery attended the South Central Modern Language Association meeting at Biloxi, Mississippi; Ada Sabatier, Mrs. W. Elkins Roberts, and James R. Fulton attended the Fourth Annual Renaissance Conference at Tulane University.

Dean Karl Ashburn went to the Southern Economic Conference and Dean Bulber succeeded Dean Cecil Taylor of LSU as president of the Louisiana College Conference. Bulber also attended the Music Educator’s National Conference in New Orleans, as did Norman Smith and Kathleen Allums; Ada Sabatier and Mabel Kitt also went to New Orleans, but to attend the regional meeting of the American Association of University Women. Mrs. Fannie L. Sample, the Director of Nursing; Mrs. Lorraine Alvis, instructor in Nursing; and two students, Mildred Alpha and Alice Abrahams, attended a five-day meeting of the National League for Nursing in May 1955, and Ralph A. Tesseneer went to the Annual Meeting of the southwestern Psychological Association. Dr. William Iglinsky and Warrick J. Dickson attended the meeting of the Louisiana Academy of Science at Loyola. Onis D. Hyatt did not travel to distant places, but almost every week he spoke to some garden club or other organization interested in horticulture. (73)

A number of faculty either published or publicly presented their work during this year. Nowell Daste presented an exhibit of his works on campus. William Iglinsky published a paper in The Journal of Economic Entomology, and Donald Millet read a paper at the Louisiana College Conference. Mrs. Mary Belle Belaire edited the 1954 edition of the McNeese Review. In discussing faculty distinctions, it should not be forgotten that Frank Rolufs, chairman of the Faculty Athletic Committee, was elected secretary-treasurer of the Gulf States Conference. (74)

Drama students were exceptionally active this year. During the summer the play production class put on two one-act plays, Edna St. Vincent Millet’s Aria de Capo and Thornton Wilder’s Pullman Car Hiawatha; then in the fall Wilder’s Queens of France and Stephen Vincent Benet’s The Devil and Daniel Webster were presented. Larry Guillory directed the Wilder play, and Jo Ann Medrano directed the Benet work. (75) In December the Bayou Players produced Tennessee William’s Summer and Smoke with Carol Ashburn and Larry Guillory in the lead roles. Eva Jo Ward, Daniel Ieyoub, Jo Ann Medrano, Bruce Brown, Tasca Dickerson, Betty Jean Matthews, Joe Grout, Joan Adams, Charles Burrows, Herman Brewer, Remie Vidrine, and William Himel were also in the cast. In the spring the play was Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, presented in the round. The cast included Richard McCaughan, Richard Covington (a faculty member), Larry Guillory, T. J. Davis, Herman Brewer, Jo Ann Medrano, Eva Jo Ward, Carol Ashburn, Joan Adams, Betty Jean Matthews, and Tasca Dickerson. (76)

The Messiah soloists for 1954 were Irene Jordan of Metropolitan Opera Company; Charles Fullmer of St. Paul, Minnesota; Jean Handzlik, who also sung with the Met; and Kenneth Smith, who had sung many opera roles. Dean Bulber asked that parents not bring small children to the performance, pointing out that it had been necessary to turn away 400 people the previous year. Dean Bulber certainly concerned with seating as many patrons as possible, but also experience had taught that small children tended to become restless and to distract from the performance. Not only was the Messiah broadcast at Christmas in 1954, but thirty minutes of the chorus was broadcast the following Easter. (77)

The Music Department presented Kurt Weill’s one-act folk opera Down in the Valley over KTAG-TV in July, but the main production of the year was the spring operetta. The choice this year was Brigadoon, which was presented March 3 and 4. The large cast, including some alternate roles, included Remie Vidrine, Waddell Burge, Larry Guillory, Daniel Ieyoub, William McMahon, Lamar Robertson, Rhonda Aleshire, Mrs. Margaret Malone, Frances Christ, Jo Ann Medrano, William Himel, Jerry Crews, Sandy Dean, Harry Wile, Mrs. John Hahn, Tommy Campbell, Robert LaCour, Beverly Helms, and William Anderson. Music was provided by a 24-piece orchestra. Mathilde Gano, who reviewed the opera for a newspaper, said that the show was excellent, especially the ballet sequence, but she deplored the fact that "the first act was half over before latecomers gave up stalking fortissimo down the aisles …. concurrently there went on in the Auditorium, much conversation, whispered but still audible." (78) The performance netted $875 for the Lions Club’s music scholarship fund. (79)

McNeese in 1954 had the worst football record in its history until 1986, losing 8 games out of 10; Northeastern was the only Gulf States Conference team McNeese defeated. President Frazar gave the student body an extra holiday at Thanksgiving as a reward for their loyalty to this unfortunate team. In January, Athletic Director Cliff Johnson took sabbatical leave to work on a master’s degree, and Coach Ratcliff was promoted to athletic director. That same month President Frazar announced that John Gregory, 28 year old assistant coach at Trinity College at Austin, Texas, would become McNeese’s head football coach. The basketball season was somewhat better, with 13 victories and 10 defeats. Even when the team lost, the fans had something to cheer about, because Bill Reigel and Roy Moore were outstanding players, both being named to the All-GSC team. A better team could be expected 1955-1956; and those who anticipated better days would not be disappointed. Except for rodeo, lesser sports amounted to little. (80)

The McNeese rodeo team, coached by Kenneth Sweeney, had an interesting year. One coed, Kathlyn Younger, had brought her horse with her from her home in Biloxi, Mississippi, when she enrolled at McNeese, and she was an enthusiastic participant in women’s events. For the second time, the National Intercollegiate Rodeo was held at McNeese, this time in conjunction with the first annual McNeese State College Livestock Breeders’ Show. Sam Houston College won the rodeo, and Oklahoma A&M was second, but Miss Younger won the barrel race and goat tie and was Rodeo Queen. Later, at the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association meeting at Denver, McNeese sophomore Henry Kinney was rated second in the nation in calf roping and in team roping. (81)

Seventy-eight were to graduate in May 1955. G. Earl Guinn of Louisiana College was the baccalaureate speaker, and John J. McMahon, president of Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio, was the commencement speaker. Three seniors graduated cum laude, Charles Wade Courville, J. Aaron Bertrand, and Mrs. Barbara Henshaw Roberts. Among the graduates were a number whose names may be familiar to McNeese readers, including James Beam, Charles Carwile, Curtis Nelson, Mary Ory, Leland Parra, and Roy Moore. Another of the graduates was Norbert H. Robinson, 37, father of seven children, whose wife was expecting another. He majored in journalism (communications), and he had worked his way through college as a hospital orderly, a Fuller Brush man, and chemical plant worker. Four graduates – William Lumpkin, Albert Chiasson, Donald H. Vines, and Jack Liggio – were accepted by LSU medical school, and Donald Casey and Harold G. Edwards were accepted by Loyola University’s dental school. Elizabeth Duhon had to leave immediately after the ceremony to report to Washington where she would work as a secretary in Senator Allen Ellender’s office. Twenty of the graduates planned to teach, and had majors in education. Thirteen majored in business administration, 12 in agriculture, 6 in health and physical education, and 8 in the sciences. Five majored in English; 3 each in home economics, secretarial sciences, and music; 2 each in mathematics and history; and 1 each in accounting, social studies, and communications. (82)

A story in the newspapers in early May said that President Frazar might be a candidate for lieutenant governor in 1956 on the Earl Long ticket. Long made it clear that he was considering Frazar, but the latter wisely refused to say whether he would seek the office. In July, however, it was definite that he would run, and he announced his retirement from the presidency of McNeese. Thus the college would begin the 1955-1956 academic year under new leadership. (83)


Growing Pains

McNeese had had only white students until the spring of 1955. It is incomprehensible to younger people of the 1980’s how segregated Southern society was before the late 1950’s. Without going into how it had come about, it can be said that segregation was almost universal: separate churches, separate waiting rooms, separate restrooms, even separate drinking fountains for whites and blacks. Naturally, under this system black children went to black schools, and white children went to white schools. What applied to elementary and secondary schools also applied to colleges. In Louisiana there were only two state institutions that blacks could attend, Southern University and Grambling State College. In contrast, whites had their choice of LSU, with campuses in New Orleans, Alexandria, and (in 1954) Thibodaux; Southeastern at Hammond; Northeastern at Monroe; Northwestern at Natchitoches; Louisiana Tech at Ruston; Southwest Louisiana Institute at Lafayette; and McNeese at Lake Charles.

This segregation had been legalized by nineteenth-century Supreme Court decisions which said that "separate but equal" facilities for the two races did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In practice, the separate facilities were practically never equal, and in the 1940’s the federal courts began to chip away at segregation and other forms of discrimination against blacks on the ground that blacks were not afforded equal facilities. In 1954, in the famous Brown v. Topeka case, the Supreme Court reversed the nineteenth-century rulings and said that segregated schools were simply unconstitutional violations of the "equal protection" clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Let it be emphasized, however, that McNeese was first integrated under the "separate but equal" rule.

The legislative act establishing McNeese as a four-year college specified that it was to be a college for white students only. But Texas and Oklahoma had been ordered to admit blacks to law school and graduate school on the grounds that there were no equal law schools or graduate schools available to blacks. Perhaps more important, the climate of opinion in the United States had changed. This country had fought World War II to end the malignant racism of Adolf Hitler in Europe; it was definitely inconsistent to maintain racially inspired segregation in this country.

Before registration for the fall semester 1953, four would-be students who identified themselves as Negroes applied for admission to McNeese. Mrs. Inez Moses, the registrar, could not admit them. She forwarded the applications to the State Board of Education, and she sent the black applicants copies of Act 69 of 1950, establishing McNeese as a white college. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) brought suit in federal court on behalf of these four students. While this was going on in Lake Charles, four black students applied in person at Southwestern Louisiana Institute at Lafayette and were turned away. (1)

The black students who had been turned away from SLI brought suit, and on April 23, 1954, a federal bench made up of Judges Wayne G. Borah, Edwin F. Hunter, and Ben C. Dawkins ruled that they must be admitted. The judges pointed out that SLI was the only state college within 89 miles of Lafayette and that black students were obviously then not equal to white students who could register at SLI. This ruling did not apply to McNeese, but it definitely showed what would happen when a similar case was brought against the Lake Charles college. (2)

At the registration for summer school 1954, thirteen black high school graduates attempted to register at McNeese and were turned away. The twelve young women and one young man who did this were certainly brave; it took courage to oppose the color line in Louisiana in 1954, and even after. Their names were Joyce Richard, Leonora Chandler, and Hattie Coleman, who were parties to the suit against McNeese brought in 1953, plus Frances Fondel, Ruthie Fondel, Barbara Fruge, Mary Jane Silas, Florence Cooper, Thelma Phelmpugo, Lucille Kane, Delorious Toussand, Marva Thibodaux, and Marshall McGovern. (3)

In early September, A. P. Tureaud of the Louisiana NAACP announced that black students would attempt to register at McNeese for the fall semester. In the meantime a federal court ordered SLI to enroll black applicants, and they were duly registered for classes. At McNeese, black applicants were once more turned away, but fifteen of them filed another suit in federal district court demanding that they be allowed to register. The district court did not hear the case until November, but then Judge Edwin Hunter ruled that the black applicants must be admitted to McNeese. When spring came, they were duly registered as McNeese students. (4)

McNeese State University had the right to be proud of many things, but its handling of integration is deserving of the highest praise. This was a powder-keg issue in the 1950's, and had the situation not been handled carefully and skillfully, violence almost certainly would have resulted, and it might well have led to bloodshed. What President Frazar’s personal feelings were concerning integration cannot now be determined, but he would have been remarkable different from other men of his age and background had he not opposed it. His successor, Wayne Cusic, was extremely careful expressing himself, but he was, to say the least, no advocate of integration. (5)

President Frazar called a meeting of male students as soon as he knew that integration was inevitable, and he told them that he was not going to have any trouble. He must have been very convincing. (6) But there was more to it than that; trouble could have been started by the people of the community as well as by students. After all, there were active Ku Klux Klan organizations in the area. In fact, across the state at Hammond, the KKK conducted a parade on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana College in 1956. A historian has difficulty describing things that did not happen, and trouble on the McNeese campus did not happen. It seems obvious that Frazar and then Cusic arranged with the local authorities and with the news media that the question would not be agitated, but arrangements such as these do not appear in any written record, and the parties to such agreements did not talk about them because talk would have violated the agreement.

If local authorities were cooperative, state officials were not. The Brown v. Topeka decision had brought on a wave of racist passion in Louisiana such as had not been seen since Reconstruction, if then. The intensity of this anti-black sentiment was demonstrated when a special committee of the legislature, headed by a relatively unknown North Louisiana legislator named Willie Rainach, was established to preserve segregation. The legislature adopted bills recommended by the committee almost without debate.

One such law called for the dismissal of any school official who favored racial integration. Another, designed to get black students out of colleges where they were already enrolled, required that all students submit a "certificate of eligibility" signed by a school official before they could be registered. Obviously, any school official who signed such a certificate for a black student would be considered as favoring integration and therefore subject to dismissal. Attorney General Jack Gremillion, certainly not the most wholesome official Louisianians have ever elected, was eager to enforce the law. Incidentally the law was a ridiculous expedient; the registrar at LSU pointed out that he had had to reject more than 100 white students, including two nuns from Italy. The NAACP quickly brought suit against LSU, McNeese, SLI, and SLU, demanding that they not require such certificates, and the federal courts quickly declared this stratagem unconstitutional. (7)

Integration was not, of course, halted. Black faces show up in the 1955 yearbook, 20 in Education, 2 in Fine Arts, and 1 each in Home Economics and Liberal Arts. The yearbook pictures in 1956 indicate 3 black seniors, 6 juniors, 12 sophomores, and 66 freshmen. The numbers would slowly increase until black students at McNeese were roughly proportionate to the black population in the area served by the college. (8)


It has been said that everything in Louisiana is political; that proposition is perhaps debatable, but there is no question that the selection of college presidents in Louisiana is political. When Lether Frazar announced his retirement, aspirants to his office began to make their qualifications known to the State Board of Education. The State Board at that time was an elective body with one member from each congressional district and one member from each public service district. In other words, the board was made up of politicians. A recent president of McNeese had said that all it takes to become president of a state college is a doctorate and a bare majority of the votes on the State Board. He was unduly restrictive; all it really takes is a majority of the votes on the board.

In 1955 there were a number of applicants who desired to replace Lether Frazar as president of McNeese. These included Dean Robert Browne of Education, Dean Francis Bulber of Fine Arts, Dean William H. Bradford of Liberal Arts, Dr. Karl Ashburn of the Commerce Department, physicist Miller Clarkson, and former coach and Dean of Men, Wayne Cusic. All were presumably well qualified, but three had doctorates and administrative experience and two had only master’s degrees and administrative experience. One was local Sheriff Henry (Ham) Reid’s brother-in-law. All of this, however, is beside the point. Cusic, one of those without the doctorate, was incumbent Governor Robert Kennon’s brother-in-law.

On August 29, 1955, the State Board named Wayne Cusic as McNeese State College’s second president, to take office officially October 15, 1955. Cusic was a native of Griggsville, Illinois, and the son of a Methodist minister. He graduated from Illinois College at Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1923 with a major in chemistry, but his real interest was in basketball. He accepted a job as coach at Minden, Louisiana, and there he met and married Lucille Kennon. From Minden the young couple moved to Kentucky, where they lived ten years while Cusic was variously teacher, coach, and principal at Lynch, Stanford, and Pikeville. He became an instructor in Health and Physical Education at McNeese Junior College in 1940, and he earned a master’s degree in Health and Physical Education from LSU in 1941. (9)

At the junior college, Cusic became counselor for men in 1942, assistant professor and head of Health and Physical Education in 1943, head of Education and Health and Physical Education in 1947, and head of the Education Department and athletic director in 1949. Through these years he also coached the junior college’s football and basketball teams. He continued to coach basketball until Ralph Ward arrived on the scene in 1952, and he was replaced as athletic director by W. Cliff Johnson that same year. In 1952 he was promoted to associate professor and made dean of men. In 1954 he was promoted to full professor and the next year he became president. (10)

Contrary to many predictions, Cusic made an excellent state college president. He was a man of unimpeachable integrity and inflexible will. He was not intensely devoted to academics in the strict sense; had he been, the task of presiding over the raw new college might have driven him mad. He did realize, however, that the purpose of McNeese State College was to enable the teachers to teach their classes, and he devoted himself to making that possible. Woe betide the instructor who neglected his classes, and double woe to the coach or administrator who tried to bring pressure on a teacher to show favoritism toward a student. Under Cusic’s administration McNeese would not become a citadel of learning, but it would surmount many difficulties and improve every year. Under the circumstances (inadequate financing, a constantly increasing enrollment, inadequate facilities, and very little community support), it is doubtful that any man could had done more, and most would have accomplished less. (11)

Ironically, because of the way he had obtained his position, Cusic was regarded as a "politician" by some on the faculty and by more in the community. Actually, he was not nearly so skilled a politician as Frazar had been, nor did he practice the political arts as Frazar had done. But Frazar had been exceptionally popular in the community, with his students, and with most of his faculty. Cusic, a far less extroverted man, was not able to match his predecessor in this regard. He eventually won the respect of the students, faculty, and to some extent the community, but he was never to enjoy the affection that Frazar had generated. (12)


In the spring of 1956, a projection by the Louisiana Commission on Higher Education estimated a 193 percent increase in McNeese enrollment by 1970. As a matter of fact, this estimate proved to be rather accurate, though the increase was closer to 200 percent. This growth in enrollment was obviously on its way in the summer of 1956, when over 800 students appeared; the highest previous summer enrollment had been 531. In the fall, 1,661 students registered, 622 freshmen, 324 sophomores, 165 juniors, 158 seniors, and 392 in other categories, mainly night students. In the spring 528 freshmen, 301 sophomores, 206 juniors, 190 seniors, and 423 students in other categories enrolled. This was an increase of 352 students in the fall and 268 in the spring over 1954-1955. (13)

The new state college had been so busy trying to teach the students who came in ever-increasing numbers that no one gave any thought to a formal purpose until 1955. In the Catalogue for the 1955-1956 academic year, however, a purpose for the four-year college is clearly stated.

McNeese State College was established to meet the cultural and educational needs of a rapidly growing population in Louisiana, particularly in Southwest Louisiana. To meet these needs, McNeese State College offers work in specific major fields. The first is agriculture, where curricula are designed to prepare men and women for successful farming, livestock production, and homemaking or to hold positions in industries related to agriculture; the second is in business, where the objective is to provide business, industrial, and professional organizations with trained men and women; a third is in liberal arts to prepare students for admission into professional schools and for entry into some professional careers in science; a fourth is in the training of teachers; and a fifth in fine arts, where specialized training is provided and where opportunities are offered other students to gain experience in the fine arts. (14)

To carry out this purpose, the 1955-1956 Catalogue set forth a total of 546 courses, 90 of them new. It should be added that most of these new courses were in forestry, communications and nursing, areas that were opening up for the first time. There was some reorganization to accomplish these aims. In October President Cusic announced the appointment of former athletic director Cliff Johnson, newly returned from graduate study at the University of North Carolina, as head of a new placement bureau. In February, McNeese was accepted as a member of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. (15)

The 1955-1956 academic year was a good one for physical improvements, also. In June the state Building Authority approved the purchase of a 280-acre farm for $280,000, which was a generous price for the time. This resulted, in July, in the purchase of the Gayle estate on the east side of Highway 14, which is the McNeese Farm to this day. At about the same time the college let the contract for a woman’s dormitory that was to cost $327,700. The State Board of Education had asked the legislature for $25,000,000 for the colleges under its jurisdiction, and of this McNeese was to receive $1,953,834, most of which would be devoted to a new Science building. The sum of $100,000, which had originally been allocated to McNeese for the College Library, was used instead for enlarging the Cafeteria. It was announced in October that construction would soon begin on an air-conditioned Student Center. In December Cusic announced that $170,000 would be used to improve the Administration Building, now Kaufman Hall; more offices and athletic dressing rooms would be provided on the first floor. In March he announced that construction would begin immediately on the Armory at a cost of $97,460. And finally, in January, the Federal Housing and Home Finance Agency agreed to lend McNeese $1,500,000 for the construction of more dormitories, for men and for women, and five apartment buildings for married students. All this growth had its costs; in February the parking problem had become so serious that O. D. Hyatt was named a committee of one to develop some solution. (16) Numbers of students distinguished themselves during the year. Emogene Lanier, editor of the Contraband, and Jack Olmsted, business manager, accompanied by Mrs. Inez Moses, attended the Annual Meeting of the Scholastic Press Association at Columbia University and were no doubt delighted to learn that their paper had been rated in the second highest category among college and university newspapers for the year. At the Louisiana Student Nurses Association meeting in Alexandria, Alice Abrahams and Mildred Alpha were elected to office. During the fall semester ten students had a perfect A average: Ervan Hawkins, Elizabeth Friesen, Mrs. Katherine Blum, Catherine Barker, Cecile Korsemeyer, Mrs. Helen Bouchard, Julia Fessell, Mrs. Paula Gessen, Joyce Gant, George Fulton, and George V. Deaton. (17)

Science major Harold T. Pulliam won the Davidson Foundation Scholarship in the spring of 1956. This scholarship, valued at $500, was then the largest a McNeese student could obtain. Margaret Lynn Clark of Starks was the "outstanding girl" in Home Economics, and Osborn Willis of Oakdale was the "outstanding boy" in Agriculture. Twelve McNeese students were listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. They were Bessie Jean Ruley, Carol Ashburn, Emogene Lanier, Arline Sarver, Margaret Clark, Jesse Castete, Martin Liprie, Paul Myers, Roy Price, Lamar Robertson, Henry (Cotton) Kinney, and Theodore (Ted) Partin. (18)

A new social sorority, Theta Sigma Rho, came into being in 1955, and the three sororities pledged a total of 59 young women. Delta Pi Chi social fraternity was the first to affiliate with a national fraternity, becoming the Beta Mu chapter of Pi Kappa Phi. Before the academic year was over, the Deacons affiliated with Tau Kappa Epsilon national fraternity. The fraternity sweethearts in the spring were Sara Newman and Linda Derouen for Pi Kappa Phi, Yvonne Guidry for the Deacons, Francesa Womelsdorff for Pi Chi, and Marion Vallery for Delta Theta Chi. (19)

The supply of pretty young women did not run short. Julie Ann Christ was Freshman Queen, with Olive Fay Hoffpauir, Patricia Ann Hathaway, June Ann Dittman, and Connie Lee Clarke on her court. Homecoming Queen was Jo Ann Medrano, and her maids were Carol Ashburn, Emogene Lanier, Julia Boone, Leavon Rostrom, Beverly Helms, and Linda Derouen. In the spring Sara Newman was LaBelle, with Yvonne Guidry, Emogene Lanier, Barbara Kramer, Peggy Addison, Linda Derouen, Leavon Rostrom, and Marion Vallery on her court. (20)

During the summer of 1955, Andre Dubus finished a six-week platoon leader’s course at Quantico. After one more summer he would be commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Lieutenant Colonel George Cole, who had been professor of military science and tactics at McNeese for four years, was transferred to a post in Alaska in the spring of 1956. His replacement at McNeese was Lieutenant Colonel R. H. Yarbrough. Colonel Cole would not be away long; after his retirement he would teach at McNeese until his untimely death. (21)

Jimmy L. Whitehead was elected president of the alumni; Lloyd Jones was his first vice president, John Schroll second vice president, Desmond Jones third vice president, and Elizabeth Duhon was secretary treasurer. Walter Cade, Allen Commander, and Jack Doland were elected to the alumni Board of Directors. In October it was announced that alumnus Cyrus Vaughn had received the honor award scholarship at the LSU School of Medicine. The next summer, Dudley Carver, Barbara Stevenson, and Allen Commander received from the Masonic Order fellowships for graduate study. Finally, in June 1956, a newspaper picture showed five recent McNeese graduates in uniform in Korea; Lester Landry, William Campbell, Gene Booth, Charlie Baker, and Dan Brumfield. (22)

The rapidly increasing enrollment necessitated a proportionate increase in faculty in 1955-1956, and many of the new faculty would have long careers at McNeese. One of them was Raleigh A. Suarez, who became associate professor of Social Sciences. Later he would be dean of Humanities, academic vice president, and provost. Edna Magaw Alexander returned as assistant professor of English after five years away, and William Welch joined the faculty for the first time. Robert Hill James came to McNeese as assistant professor of social science; he would become assistant professor of psychology, then director of the night school, and finally campus ombudsman before his retirement. Glen D. Johnson joined the Agriculture Department in 1955, and Barbara Jean Belew and Frederick Tooley became members of the Music Department. The Commerce Division added Richard Oliver Bennett in Accounting, Ervin Alvie Johnson in Secretarial Science and Armand L. Perrault in Business Administration. Perrault would become dean of the College of Business. Other new faculty members were Lloyd R. J. St. Romain in Chemistry, Harry C. Koenig in Spanish, Mary Wirtz in Mathematics, and George V. S. White in Biology. White would remain at McNeese for the rest of his career and would be named teacher of the year in 1980. (23)

This was a year for meetings to be held at McNeese. One meeting was a credit union institute, attended by representatives of credit unions in the Lake Charles area. Another was the 33rd Annual Meeting of Louisiana-Mississippi Section of the Mathematical Association of America jointly with the Louisiana-Mississippi Branch of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, which gathered at McNeese in February. The Second Annual Industrial Chemistry and Engineering Conference, sponsored by the Southwest Louisiana section of the American Chemical Society, met at McNeese with Dr. John M. Brierly of the college as chairman. The Louisiana College Conference held its 1956 meeting at McNeese, and Francis Bulber was president of the organization that year. (24)

Faculty members who distinguished themselves during the year included George Marshall of the Music Department, who earned his doctor of philosophy degree at New York University. Four McNeese faculty were appointed to advisory committees for the Louisiana Commission on Higher Education; they were H. H. Gauthe, Karl E. Ashburn, C.A. Girard, and Raleigh Suarez. Ada Sabatier was chairman of the editorial committee of the McNeese Review. A unique distinction for a McNeese faculty member came about when the director of Nursing, Mrs. Robert E. Sample, was chosen as Lake Charles’s entry in the Louisiana Mrs. America contest at Monroe. (25)

Again, many faculty attended professional meetings. Ada Sabatier, Raleigh Suarez, and Donald Millet attended the Annual Meeting of the Southern Historical Association in Memphis. Dean Ashburn attended the Southern Economic Conference in Atlanta and also went to the 1955 meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers. Dean Bulber again was present at the meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music, and Bob Lee Mowery, Librarian, attended the 74th Annual Meeting of the American Library Association, this time in Philadelphia. (26)

During the summer of 1955, Fine Arts students presented Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury over KTAG-TV, and the band gave three summer concerts on the lawn in front of the Auditorium. The Bayou Players ambitiously presented Jean Anouilh’s ThievesCarnival in the round in November 1955. George Marshall wrote special music, all for clarinet, for the performance. The cast was made up of Daniel Ieyoub, Lamar Robertson, and Larry Guillory as the three thieves, plus Jo Ann Medrano, Eva Jo Ward, Carol Ashburn, Joe Grout, Charles Burrows, Tasca Dickerson, Betty Jean Matthews, Layne Stone, Carl Lueg, Joe Gnerre, Charles Goen, and Jesse Edwards. Charles Goen, a music major, was cast as a policeman in this play. Critic Fritzi Krause described the performance, which was presented to a capacity audience, as delightful "refined" slapstick. (27)

By early October, the chorus of the Messiah numbered 225 persons, and Dean Bulber announced that he could accept no more. Soloists for the 1955 performance were Mona Paulee, mezzo soprano, who sang with the Metropolitan Opera; tenor Rudolf Petrak of the New York City Opera; Margaret Roberts, soprano, who had sung with the Columbia Broadcasting System symphony; and Richard Wentworth, bass-baritone, also of the New York City Opera. Once more music from the Messiah was broadcast for the Christmas season, and 30 minutes of it was broadcast on Easter Sunday the following year.(28)

In the spring the Music Department and the Lions Club, in their search for scholarship money, presented The New Moon as the year’s light opera. In the cast were Patsy Barrentine, Shirley Partin, Waddell Burge, Edward Brock, Remie Vidrine, Jerry Malone, Pat Hathaway, Cecile Korsemeyer, J. M. Thom, William Mauck, Lewis Spear, Larry Guillory, Lamar Robertson, William Himel, Mrs. Margaret Malone, Nordhal Schroeder, Marcia Feldes, Daniel Ieyoub, Joe Gnerre, and Kenneth Guillory. In the spring, the Bayou Players presented Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and Stars. In this cast were Waddell Burge, Leslye Ann Ward, Larry Guillory, Layne Stone, Ed Daugherty, Marion Vallery, Eva Jo Ward, Tasca Dickerson, Charles Burrows, W. S. Cummings, Janet MacDonald, Joe Gnerre, Daniel Ieyoub, Joe Grout, Reid Tyler and Roy Harmon. (29)

Music faculty recitals for the year presented baritone Frederick Tooley, accompanied by Barbara Belew; a duo-piano recital by Patricia Cavell and Kathleen Allums; and a flute recital by Cavell, accompanied by Allums. Among seniors of the Music Department, Charles Goen presented his oboe recital. The band led the Momus Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans in February, later it went on tour and played at six high schools, including Shreveport and Mansfield. In November, the Lyceum program for the year presented R.G. Dundas, British consul-general in New Orleans to speak on "The Situation in the Middle East." In January the speaker was the United States Senator from Arkansas, J. William Fulbright. Probably less informative, though almost certainly more interesting, were the Dublin Players, who put on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. McNeese was doing more than its share promoting the cultural development Southwest Louisiana. (30)

New football coach John W. Gregory had a fine year, losing 1 game, tying 1, and winning the remaining 6. Gregory was named Gulf States Conference Coach of the Year, and two McNeese players, Jesse Castete and Charles Dees, were named to the All-GSC team. The conference changed, however, as Louisiana College, with no state funds for athletics felt compelled to withdraw from the GSC. (31) However good the football team may have been, it was Ralph Ward’s basketball team that bred excitement at McNeese in 1955-1956, and the center of that excitement was star Bill Reigel. During the regular season, the team won 33 games and lost only 3, and Reigel scored more than 1,000 points. During a February game with Louisiana Tech, at Ruston, Coach Ward was back in Lake Charles in a hospital, but he had a telephone in his hand and talked to his team during every time out. Reigel repeated as an All-GSC player and received honorable mention on the United Press All-American team. (32)

McNeese won an invitation to the NAIA tournament at Kansas City by defeating Centenary in a playoff. At the tournament, the team defeated Georgetown 88-65 in the first game, then defeated Central State of Ohio 87-71. After beating Tennessee A&I (76-68) and Pittsburg (Kansas) State (78-72), in the finals McNeese won over Texas Southern (60-55) and won the NAIA championship. Reigel headed the NAIA All-American team and was named NAIA Player of the Year. When the team returned home from Kansas City, the crowd at the airport organized an impromptu but joyous parade. Older and retired McNeese faculty members, and alumni not nearly so old, have fond memories of the basketball team of 1955-1956. (33)

In baseball McNeese won the GSC championship in 1956-1957, and the brand new golf team, under Ellis Guillory’s direction, took second place in the GSC tournament. Lennie J. Olsen was track coach, and he began emphasizing indoor track during the winter. The team placed third in the GSC meet. Arthur Lee and Louis Reily were still coaching the tennis team, and it was runner-up in the GSC tournament. (34)

It would not be inaccurate to describe rodeo as a major sport at McNeese in the middle 1950’s. The team roster for 1955-1956 included Clyde May from Luna, New Mexico; Henry (Cotton) Kinney from Sulphur; Doyle Cannon, a transfer from Oklahoma A&M; Paul Billy LeBlanc from Sulphur; Carl Martin from Stillwater, Oklahoma; Jacques Campbell from Gueydan; and Russie Odom from Orange, Texas. Such a list demonstrates rodeo’s attraction for students from all over the southwestern United States. The McNeese rodeo attracted 75 contestants representing 15 colleges, and the McNeese team won the Texas A&M Rodeo. (35)

At the end of the 1955-1956 year, Dr. Claude G. Wardlaw of the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Charles delivered the baccalaureate address, and Dr. W. Stanly Hook, librarian of the University of Alabama, was the commencement speaker. One hundred and forty-six seniors were scheduled to graduate. More of them were education majors than anything else, but a sizeable number were in commerce (now business); and agriculture, fine arts and liberal arts were well represented. Cum laude graduates were Carol Ashburn, Marjorie Ann Harlan, Theodore Partin, Mary Louise Severs, Earl Matthew Olmsted, and Wayne P. Laurents. (36)


The rapid growth in number of students went on unchecked. Summer school enrollment in 1956 was 899 as compared to slightly over 800 in 1955. In the fall total enrollment was 1,916, 1,018 men and 563 women. Freshmen numbered 298, sophomores 390, juniors 289, and seniors 281. Two hundred and fifty-eight students were in other categories. Despite the attrition among freshmen, spring enrollment showed a slight increase of 1,942 students. (37)

In the fall of 1957, after registration was completed the Board of Education ordered that the "certificate of eligibility" requirement noted earlier be applied to all students. This brought another round of civil rights action in the courts. In February a court order forbade requiring such certificates from black students, but on a temporary basis. Finally, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that all of Louisiana’s school segregation laws, including the certificate requirements, were unconstitutional. This at last brought an end to attempts to keep black students out of McNeese and other Louisiana state colleges. (38)

During this year, the campus saw much building. The one women’s dormitory began earlier was completed before summer school was over. Up to this time women had been housed in the old Sweeney home on Ryan Street and in an apartment house the college rented in University Place. One hundred and eight women moved into the new facility, two to a room, but with separate sleeping and study areas. Using the money, loaned by the federal government, the college received bids for two dormitories and five family living quarters in September, but the first bids were too high and new bids had to be taken before construction began in the spring. Already under construction were a Science Building which would open on March 23, 1957, an addition to the Cafeteria, the $354,000 Student Center, and the Armory for ROTC. More or less as icing on the cake, in March 1957 Bishop Schexnayder broke ground for a Catholic student center west of the campus. (39)

The Library now had grown to 25,000 volumes and subscribed to 375 magazines and newspapers. Also, the college was complimented by the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges for its report on academic progress since accreditation. Among improvements, McNeese had begun giving all sophomores ETS achievement tests in an attempt to evaluate McNeese performance in relation to national norms. The deal for the new 280-acre college farm was completed, and McNeese took possession of the new tract. McNeese could also give as well as receive; 15 acres on the northeastern corner of the 80 acres acquired during the junior college years were transferred to the Calcasieu Parish School Board as the site of a new junior high school. The new school would, of course, be used for practice teaching by McNeese majors in education. (40)

Keith Lyons served as president of the Student Council this year, and Stanley J. Chelchowski was elected in the spring to head the fall 1957 Council, with Kalil Ieyoub as his vice president. Andre Dubus won a first place and an honorable mention in the Southern Writer’s Contest of Louisiana at Northeastern State College in March 1957, making it three years in a row that the talented young man had been a winner. In December 1956 a chapter of Blue Key Honorary Fraternity was established at McNeese with Dean of Men Ellis Guillory as sponsor, a position he would hold until retirement. (41)

Nursing students Alice Abrahams, Julie Christ, Mildred Alpha, Dale Land, and William Land attended the Annual Convention of Student Nurses in Shreveport in November. Abrahams was the president of this organization, and Julie Christ was elected to succeed her. In her official capacity, Miss Christ attended the National Student Nurses Convention in Chicago in May. In March a McNeese team made up of William Monismith, Wayne Harris, Durell Spivey, and Norman Alston took first place in a stock-judging contest in Houston. Leneta Doucet, editor of the Contraband, and Charlotte Clarke, associate editor, with Wylma Reynolds accompanying, attended the Annual Convention of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. They were happy to learn that their paper had again won honors, rated again in the second highest category among printed college newspapers. At a meeting in Lafayette, Bessie Jean Ruley was named Miss Home Economist by the Louisiana Home Economics Association, and in May she and Wayne G. Harris were named as "outstanding students" in the Department of Agriculture. In June four home economics students - Mrs. Elgie Dautriel, Mrs. Leavon Rostrom Ladner, Mrs. Marie White, and Miss Barbara Penny, accompanied by Assistant Professor Ann Cash - were able to attend the American Home Economics Association Convention in St. Louis. (42)

As usual, two honors day convocations were held, one in the fall for those who made the honor roll during the spring semester and one in the spring for those who had so distinguished themselves during the fall semester. Dean of Arts and Sciences Cecil Taylor of LSU was the speaker in the fall, and Dean of the Graduate School of Tulane University, R. M. Lumianski, was the spring speaker. Taylor honored 248 students, and Lumianski 227. These figures, and earlier ones, indicate a most obvious degree of grade inflation at McNeese before grade inflation became a national problem. Of the regular day students in attendance at the time, almost 15 percent made the honor roll in the spring of 1956, and almost 15 percent in the fall of 1956. This problem of grade inflation, unfortunately, would not improve. (43)

During this year the debate team was a winner. It won most of the trophies at the SLI speech festival in January and won six at the Louisiana Speech Tournament at Northwestern in March. The team was composed of Mary Louise Zempter, Constance Shaheen, Joseph Perello, Walter Miller, Walter Calvert, Carroll Fox, and Keith Lyons. McNeese’s debating record would continue to improve as the years went by. (44)

Sarah Jane Quinn was Freshman Queen in 1956, attended by Joyce Bell Kinney, Frances Irene Greer, Barbara Kunze, and Marylane Crouch, Sara Newman Meadows was Homecoming Queen; Bess LeBleu, Charlotte Clarke, Peggy Addison, Rebecca Ashburn, Sheila Breaux, and Mrs. Leavon Rostrom Ladner were the Homecoming Court. The weather was not kind in 1956; a torrential downpour that began in the first half of the Homecoming game with Northeastern made it impossible to present the beauties at the half, so the queen was crowned at the dance after the game. Rebecca Ashburn was LaBelle in 1957, but so many coeds were named to the court that they cannot be conveniently listed here. Lady Leah LaFargue was named Miss Lake Charles and sent to Lake Providence to compete unsuccessfully for Miss Louisiana and a trip to Atlantic City. Perhaps McNeese coeds were too attractive. Three airmen from the air base were arrested as peeping toms after they were found viewing women through the windows of the dormitory. (45)

Lloyd Jones, onetime McNeese Junior College boxer, was elected president of the alumni in the fall of 1956. Calvin Billings was first vice president, Fred LeBlanc second vice president, Fred Flores third vice president, and Mrs. Robert Finnegan secretary-treasurer. Curtis Skinner, who had graduated in May 1957, was awarded a graduate assistantship in commerce at LSU in July. Also in July it was announced that Jerry C. Pickrel, a 1954 graduate who was attending Tulane Medical School, had won a $500 scholarship for summer study of allergic diseases. (46)

At the beginning of the 1956-1957 year, Francis Bulber was made Dean of the College, second only to Cusic, and Ellis Guillory replaced Cusic as Dean of Men. Dr. Ralph Squires replaced Bulber as Dean of Fine Arts. Thus Cusic as president, and Bulber as dean of the college, presided over four academic divisions, each headed by a dean: Dean Robert Browne in Education, Dean Karl Ashburn in Commerce, Dean William H. Bradford in Liberal Arts, and Squires in Fine Arts. There were also Agriculture under J. C. Barman and Nursing under Mrs. Sample, each with the title of director. (47)

There were radical administrative changes during the 1956-1957 academic year. On May 2, Dean Browne announced that he had accepted the position of superintendent of education for Lafayette Parish at a salary of $15,000 a year. A few days later, Bradford resigned his position at McNeese to accept another with Sandia Corporation in New Mexico. He made a statement: "I have found that I am ineffective in my attempts to be an educator at McNeese State College due to the political situation that I find existing." (48) Cusic’s reaction was to say only: "In view of the fact that Dr. Bradford has accepted a position in industry and that this represents a promotion for him, his resignation is accepted with regrets." (49) Ashburn would remain one more year before he departed for Montevallo College in Alabama. Cusic did not replace the departed deans. For a number of years he operated with Bulber, Squires (until his death), and academic department heads. If unorthodox, this administrative machinery seems to have been efficient enough. (50)

If some people departed, many more arrived. Robert B. Landers, holding a doctorate from the University of Arkansas, arrived to head the Special Education Center. Bruce Landers, as he was known to his friends, would become dean of Education and dean of the Graduate School before his retirement. Clifford M. Bryne, who would in time be university librarian and head of the Department of Languages, arrived in the fall of 1956. John Hebert, a Lake Charles architect, became a part-time instructor in Fine Arts, teaching beginning courses in architectural science. Finally William J. Casey joined the faculty as an assistant professor of speech and as the debate coach. In the latter capacity, Casey would accomplish much. (51)

During the year Francis Bulber wand Ralph Squires went to Cleveland to attend the National Association of Schools of Music Meeting. Dr. Zelma Green published a volume of poetry and was the chief speaker at the Lake Charles Writer’s Club Awards Meeting at the Pioneer Club, and Mrs. Inez Moses once more attended the American Association of Collegiate Registrars Meeting, this time in Denver. Paddy Ann Doll attended the Annual Convention of the Louisiana Association for Retarded Children. Frank Rolufs was reelected secretary-treasurer of the Gulf States Conference, and William Lademan, who taught English and Philosophy, received his Ph.D. in the latter subject from Fordham University. One activity of McNeese faculty too extensive to be recorded is talks made to local organizations. For example, in October the League of Women Voters sponsored a debate on the United Nations at the Pioneer Club, and Donald Millet and Robert James were two of the participants. Newspapers reported fifteen talks by faculty members from November 1, 1956 through April 1957; O. D. Hyatt was the busiest speaker, appearing five times, newly-arrived Robert Landers spoke three times, and Clet Girard twice. (52)

Cultural activities began with the Third Festival of Contemporary Art Meeting at McNeese in November. Visual art was represented by an exhibition of colored lithographs by Benton Murdock Spruance and sponsored by the Louisiana Art Commission. Musical recitals by faculty and students added to the occasion. Helen Ininger gave a piano recital, and baritone Frederick Tooley and pianist Barbara Belew, Patricia Cavell, Kathleen Allums, and Ralph Squires demonstrated their considerable talents. Warren Signor played his violin, and Mrs. Claude Kirkpatrick sang. In addition about a dozen students participated. (53)

The Messiah was, as always a major event of the year. The guest soloists were Saramae Endich, soprano, who had appeared with the Boston Symphony; Jean Handzlik, contralto, who had sung with the Philadelphia Opera Company and who had been in the Messiah once before; Norman Treigle, bass- baritone, who had sung with the New York Opera Company; and Leon Drescoll, tenor, who had been in the cast of Kismet on the Broadway stage. To deal with the small children who had disturbed previous presentations, several of the area churches established baby-sitting services so that parents could attend the performance without having to worry about restless children. In the spring the Messiah chorus sang "The Redemption" at McNeese on Easter Sunday; Remie Vidrine, Fredrick Tooley, Edith (Mrs. Claude) Kirkpatrick, and Julie Chappuis were the soloists. (54)

The Bayou Players put on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in the fall. Margery Wilson directed, Nowell Daste provided the décor, and George Marshal provided original music for this in-the-round production. Marion Vallery, Roy Harmon, Edward Daugherty, Layne Stone, Tasca Dickerson, Eva Jo Ward, and Charles Burrows had the most important roles. In the spring semester, the Lions Club and the Department of Music presented Oklahoma, in which Marcia Feldes, Frances Greer, John M. Thom, Waddell Burge, Lewis Spear, Lamar Robertson, Leslye Ward, Pat Allen, Layne Stone, and Charles Goen played lead roles. The spring play was Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. The cast consisted of Marion Vallery, Charles Burrows, Lady Leah LaFargue, Reid Tyler, Joan Adams, Martha Carnett, Raymond Valdetero, Robert Guillory, William Hinch, Roy Harmon, Mary Louise Zempter, and Raenell Lutgring. (55)

During the summer of 1956 the band once more presented three open-air concerts on the lawn in front of the Auditorium, and in the spring the band’s tour carried it to Opelousas, Morgan City, St. James, Franklin, Abbeville, Lake Charles High, Eunice, and Baton Rouge. The New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, under Alexander Hillsberg, was presented in the Auditorium on November 20. Lyceum speakers of the year included Professor Walter Richardson of LSU, Boyd Professor of British History, and George Fielding Eliot, noted student of military history. (56)

The football season for 1956 was, at best, a disaster. As the games were played, McNeese won 5 games and lost 5 games, but it was not that simple. In late October, McNeese supporters were dismayed to learn that halfbacks Ray Simmons and Ashton Cassedy had been dismissed from the football squad for disciplinary reasons. The day after this, it was revealed that tackle Ray Jamalkowski had played professional baseball in 1951 and therefore was not eligible to play college football. This made it necessary for McNeese to forfeit victories over Northwestern and Northeastern, reducing the year’s victories to 3 and increasing the losses to 7. On November 1, the public learned that right end Warren Herrmann had been dismissed from the squad for breaking curfew. Jamalkowski, who was a solid student, remained at McNeese and graduated, but Coach John Gregory did not survive. In February he resigned, as did coach Tom Page, and Les DeVall from Louisiana College was named new head coach and brought in Jack Doland as his line coach. Dowell Fontenot became McNeese’s athletic trainer in fall 1956. Ray Simmons was drafted by the Chicago Bears, and Rudie Soileau and Rogers Hampton were named to the All-GSC first team, and Richard Salley and Glen Hathaway to the second team. (57)

It was not inappropriate that the newly constructed athletic wing and basketball court in the Arena should be dedicated by Lieutenant Governor Lether Frazar on December 10, 1956, because the basketball team in 1956-1957 won 21 games and lost only 5, and was once more GSC champion. Ralph Ward was GSC basketball coach of the year, as he richly deserved to be. The track team was third in the GSC, the tennis team and the golf team second in the conference. Kenneth Sweeney’s rodeo team competed in nine meets and won in most of them. In June the team entered the National Intercollegiate Rodeo finals at Colorado Springs and won it. Winners for McNeese were Henry (Cotton) Kinney, Warren Fry, Carl Martin, Rudy Trahan, Jim Miller, and Clyde May. (58)

As graduation approached in 1957, five McNeese seniors were selected by Western Electric for a special opportunity. Donald Lambert, Bruce King, Eugene Morgan, Tyra Albert Fox, and Wallace Materne, all science majors, were offered $8,000 a year, more than any of their teachers at McNeese were making, to take an additional year’s training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then go to work for Western Electric. The Scottish Rite Masons awarded fellowships for the study of government at George Washington University to Kenneth Jackson, Max E. Jones, Keith M. Lyons, and Donald E. Ladner. Twenty-nine seniors were commissioned in the Army, and every member of the class was invited to a shrimp boil put on by the Alumni Association at Columbia Southern Park. This shrimp boil would become an annual event. (59)

Dr. Whitfield Jenks Bell, Librarian of Yale University, spoke to 169 students at commencement exercises in May 1957. Thirty-three majored in education, 20 in liberal arts, 13 in commerce, and 12 in agriculture. The 8 fine arts graduates included Carolyn Piel, the first student to earn a degree in art at McNeese. This ceremony also included the first graduates of the four-year nursing program, namely Mrs. Frances Camp, Mildred Alpha, Earline Smith, Mrs. Dorothy Ellis Knox, Mrs. Ruby Dougherty, and Alice Abrahams. Five of them passed their state examinations and became registered nurses in August. Cum laude graduates were Eldon Bailey, Harvey E. Kieffer, Mrs. Ann B. Worrell, Mrs. Verna Lee Thornton, Mrs. Lorraine D. Shaw, Jack Olmsted, Thomas L. Miller, and Walter J. Calvert.


Students attending summer school at McNeese in 1957 may not remember the courses they took, but they can never forget Hurricane Audrey. This killer storm lurked in the Gulf for days, lulling the people of the coast into a false sense of security, and then rushed inland with a tremendous tidal wave. In Cameron Parish more than 500 people died; boatloads of bodies were brought to Lake Charles by way of the Ship Channel. The winds were still at 75 miles per hour when they struck Lake Charles, ripping off roofs and breaking off electrical power and telephone service for days.

Classes at McNeese halted on June 27 and did not resume until July 8. The Arena and other buildings sheltered more than 1,000 refugees, each with a tale of horror to tell. The campus was a scene of feverish activity as helicopters came in from the north with food and medical supplies from Fort Polk while others went back and forth to the south, bringing survivors from Grand Chenier and Creole and searching the marshes for more bodies. The summer session, when it resumed, was extended to August 16, a week longer then the original schedule. (60)

Total enrollment in the fall of 1957 was 2,024, of whom 698 were freshmen; 390 sophomores; 281 juniors; and 281 seniors; plus 366 night, non-credit, and special students, an increase of more than 100 over the previous fall. The enrollment could have been higher, but the dormitories had been full since July, and there was no place on campus for more resident students to live. In the spring the total enrollment was 1942, a little less than in the fall but still the greatest spring enrollment in McNeese history. The records quite properly do not indicate the race of registrants, but pictures in the Log show 24 black freshmen, 10 sophomores, 15 juniors, and 13 seniors. (61)

The administrative organization of McNeese changed significantly in the fall of 1957. The old Division of Liberal Arts was broken up into departments of Sciences, Mathematics, Social Sciences and Languages. Stephen M. Spencer, holding a Ph.D. from Duke University, was brought in from Louisiana College to head Mathematics and Miller Clarkson was in charge of Sciences. Raleigh A. Suarez was promoted to professor and made head of Social Sciences, and C. A. Girard headed Languages. Landers, after only a year in Special Education, became head of the Department of Education, in effect replacing Dean Browne. C. C. Baker became head of Special Education, and Samuel J. Marino replaced Bob Lee Mowery as head librarian. O. D. Hyatt, who had been an associate professor of horticulture and Director of Grounds was named head of the newly created Department of Plant Life; J. C. Barman remained as head of the Department of Animal Life. Roderick Rouse was head of Accounting and Economics, and Albert D. Sterkx was acting head of Business Administration. Robert H. James became coordinator of Evening School. Mrs. Mabel Kitt requested relief from her administrative duties and became an associate professor of education; Miss Linnie Lacy became Dean of Women. Growth was obvious in another way. Clifford Johnson, now campus security officer, informed students and faculty that designated parking lot were now available and that the every-man-for-himself parking on a less crowded era was at an end. (62)

Other new facilities were becoming available. The apartment building for married students north of McNeese Street on the main campus was now in full operation, housing 20 student families for a rental of $50.00 a month, including utilities. One women’s dormitory was in operation, and another, built to house 210 students, was to be ready for the summer term, 1958; the new three-story men’s dormitory, which would house 114, was to be ready for the fall semester, 1958. A new Methodist student center had been completed in spring 1957, and the Catholic student center was dedicated in October 1957. Thus the three religious denominations with the most students now had centers adjacent to the campus. (63)

Three national sororities came to McNeese during the 1957-1958 academic year. Chi Omega in effect took over the old local known as Alpha Zeta Phi and was chartered January 25, 1958. Alpha Delta Pi took over the local Delta Alpha Delta and was officially chartered February 1, 1958; it was followed closely by Delta Zeta Phi Mu, which established a "colony" at McNeese in November, received a full charter on March 15, 1958. Thus the college now had four national sororities, and Theta Sigma Rho continued to function as a local. (64)

Chancellor Homer Hitt of the University of New Orleans was the speaker for honors day in October 1957, honoring 230 students who had made the honor roll in the spring semester. Eldon Bailey, Mrs. Katherine Blum, Clair W. Graff, Robert Hamburg, Lee L. Meade, Kenneth Reviel, Mrs. Rose Richardson, Dreaux Summers, Mrs. Lilla Vincent, Jean Wilkinson, Walter Williams, and William York achieved a straight A average. In the spring, Harold B. McSween, then a member of the State Board of Education, spoke to 217 students who had achieved scholastic distinction in the fall. (65)

Andre Dubus won the grand prize, for a short story, in the College Writer’s Society of Louisiana contest, and William L. Perkins and Mrs. Elizabeth Phillips were also winners, making McNeese the winning college. Sharon Kraemer won an award as the outstanding freshman Home Economics student of the year, and James Hicks was named the outstanding Accounting student. Eldon R. Bailey and Keith Dorman were cited by the Sabine Chapter of the National Association of Cost Accountants as superior Accounting students. Norman Alston and Mrs. Elgie Dautriel received plaques as outstanding students in Agriculture and Home Economics, respectively, and in the spring Kalil Ieyoub succeeded Stanley Chelchowski as president of the student body. The debate team for 1957-1958 was Joseph Perello, Max Morris, Marie (Beb) Roy, Walter Miller, and Mona Champagne. They participated in tournaments at the University of Alabama, LSU, and Millsaps, though they were not winners in these meets. Debate Coach William Casey was building up his team’s experience level, and the teams he directed would be winners soon enough. (66)

Freshmen Queen in 1957 was Patricia Lowe. Jacqueline Bouquet was Homecoming Queen, and Peggy Addison, Sue Coleman, Marie White, Sally Linker, Charlotte Clarke, and Margie Hayes were on her court. Peggy Addison was LaBelle, and Jennabeth Powdrill, Sally Linker, Joanna Steele, Frances Domingues, Patricia Lowe, Brenda Bailey, Dena Christ, Lady Leah LaFargue, and Marie White were her maids. Freshman Glenda Clark of Shreveport was McNeese Rodeo Queen. (67)

Calvin Billings was elected president of McNeese alumni in fall 1957, with Fred LeBlanc as first vice president, Fred Flores as second vice president, Asa J. Weeks as third vice president, and Eva Jo Ward as secretary. Leneta Doucet, LeRoy Gauthreaux, and Alyse Preston were elected to the Alumni Board. Preston, incidentally, replaced Carol Ashburn, daughter of Dean Karl Ashburn, who resigned. Among alumni whose accomplishments were noted was Dr. Paul Shorts, the first McNeese student admitted to medical school, who opened a practice in Kinder. Governor Earl Long named Keith Lyons to complete the term of D. W. Devaney as Commissioner of Finance and Public Utilities in Sulphur, and Allen Commander earned a master of arts degree from Georgetown University. (68)

Increases in enrollment necessitated increases in faculty. In the sciences, Mary Franciska Kordisch came to teach zoology, Clifton Q. Miller to teach geology, Mrs. Nancy Hellwig and Richard Joseph Sullivan to teach engineering, and Mrs. Ruby E. Dougherty and Mrs. Constance White to teach nursing. Mrs. White replaced Mrs. Sample as director of the Nursing program and worked with it until her retirement. New mathematics teachers were Billy J. Turney, Lionel Hebert, Mary Robert Lademan, and James Bennett Lewis. In education, Marjorie McQueen, Laura M. Patterson, Robert H. Pittman, and Don T. Lyons appeared on the scene. Pittman would eventually become academic vice president, and Lyons would serve in many capacities and remain on the faculty until his retirement at age 70. Among other new faculty members were Maurice Pullig in speech, Grace Ramke in art, and Benjamin Harlow in English. (69)

There were also resignations. One was that of Dean Ashburn, already discussed. Cliff Johnson resigned from McNeese to become youth director for the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Department under Sheriff Ham Reid. Norman Ledgin, assistant professor of journalism and head of the news bureau, resigned to become the full-time director of the Calcasieu Safety Council. He was replaced by I. J. (Jim) Wynn. It should also be noted that this was the year that the Reverend Tom Lutner became director of the Baptist student center, a post he would hold until his retirement 30 years later. (70)

Dean Ashburn, before his departure, published an article in the July 1957 issue of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. Mrs. Walter Richard was chairman of the editorial board of the McNeese Review in 1957 and 1958, and that journal published a number of articles by McNeese faculty. In 1957 Clifford M. Byrne's "The Philosophical Development in Four of Robert Penn Warren’s Novels" appeared. The next issue included George Ruffin Marshall, "American Music and History;" Rodney Cline, "Seaman Asahel Knapp;" Donald J. Millet, "Robert J. Walker: Polk’s Secretary of the Treasury;" and Ralph A. Tesseneer, "Why Do So Many Louisiana Youth Fail to Complete High School." (71) Among other faculty activities and achievements, Dee Newland and William Knipmeyer took fifteen geology and geography students on a 7,000 mile field trip in a college truck that also carried sleeping gear. Onis D. Hyatt was elected president of the Louisiana Camellia Society, and Ralph A. Tesseneer was certified as a Louisiana psychologist. Nowell Daste had an exhibit of his drawings and sculpture at the Lake Charles Public Library, and new faculty member Grace Ramke received a Ford Foundation grant for nine months in Europe studying African art. Dean Bulber, Ada Sabatier, Robert H. James, Wylma Reynolds, Donald J. Millet, Inez Moses, Paddy Ann Doll, William Welch, Mildred Davis, and Mrs. Walter Richard made up the largest delegation McNeese had ever sent out of Lake Charles to the Louisiana College Conference. (72)

Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Yarbrough remained professor of military science and tactics in 1957-1958. Larry DeRouen, George P. Sougeron, Thomas J. Campbell, Chester B. Arceneaux, Jr., Don R. McGowan, Billy W. Partin, and Jesse T. Perry, Jr. were designated distinguished military students. DeRouen was cadet lieutenant colonel in the spring, and he was named the outstanding cadet at the end of the year. Twenty-eight seniors were commissioned. (73)

The Fine Arts Department was becoming more active in the summer. Three outdoor concerts were scheduled, but Audrey canceled one of those. A summer musical, Down in the Valley, was presented in August 1957, with Frances Greer, Jerry D. Malone, and J. M. Thom in singing roles. A new group, the McNeese String Quartette, made its first appearance in August. Warren Signor played first violin, George Marshall second violin, Florence Kushner viola, and Donald Goss, a McNeese alumnus, the cello. (74)

The Bayou Players presented Eugene O'Neill's Ah Wilderness on November 20-23. The play had alternate casts. On Wednesday and Friday, Lady Leah LaFargue, Jacqueline Bouquet, Ray Valdetero, Ken Cusic, Layne Stone, Ama Lee McKague, Mrs. Layne Stone, and Mrs. Shirley Benefield appeared. On Thursday and Saturday the audience saw Joan Adams, Roderick Guillory, Mary Ann Hamilton, John Harmon, W. S. Cummings, Leslye Ann Ward, Barbara Breedlove, and Barbara Luttrell. (75)

The Messiah, with 225 voices and a 40-piece orchestra, presented Frances Greer as soprano soloist, Marcella Uhl Robnett contralto soloist, and Richard Wentworth bass-baritone soloist. This performance was broadcast nationally over the Mutual Network on the night of December 14, 1957. The Messiah chorus sang "The Hymn of Praise" at Easter 1958, with McNeese students Roland Hebert, Shirley Partin, Mrs. Jerry Malone, and Marcia Feldes as soloists. At the December Messiah performance Dean Bulber finally found the solution to the problem of children. A nursery was provided on campus, supervised by Mrs. Constance White of the Nursing Department; parents could not take small children into the Auditorium. (76)

The McNeese-Lions Club musical for the year was Victor Herbert’s The Red Mill, presented March 6-7. The cast was a large one: Patricia Allen and Shirley Partin, Rod Guillory and Ray Valdetero, and Lamar LeBoeuf and Bernice Timpa alternated in lead roles. Others were Carl Lueg, Jr., Waddell Burge, Marcia Feldes, Bill Blalock, Layne Stone, Lewis Spear, Don Land, J. M. Thom, James Wolverton, Melba Hebert, Barbara Breedlove, Fred Patterson, Burl Vincent, Larry Hauskins, Robert LeCour, and Barbara Luttrell. The spring play was Moliere’s The Miser, and Roy Harmon, Roderick Guillory, Lady Leah LaFargue, Layne Stone, Charles Burrows, Walter Farque, Raenell Lutgring, Barbara Luttrell, Leslye Ann Ward, Ama Lee McKague, Mrs. Mary Louise Zempter Stone, William Hinch, Don Land, and Ray Beasley had parts. Reviewer Fritzi Krause gave the play high praise in the Lake Charles American Press. Roy Harmon, at the end of the year, was awarded an acting fellowship with the Dunes Arts Foundation of Michigan City, Indiana, a professional dramatic company. (77)

Other cultural activities presented on campus, some of them by the Community Concert organization, were worthy of note. The Lyceum program brought the Dublin Players back to present Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock in January, and in February Kathleen Allums and Patricia Cavell gave a duo-piano recital for the public. The Community Concert program for February was the Minneapolis Symphony under the direction of Antal Dorati, and for those with more plebeian tastes, the college presented the Glenn Miller orchestra in May. The McNeese "Choraleers" gave a public concert, as did the college Symphonette, both in May. Finally, an exhibit of the art works of McNeese students was displayed at the Lake Charles Public Library. (78)

The spring band tour was as much for recruiting as for cultural purposes, but it was successful in both senses. In 1958 the band went to Iowa, DeRidder, and Leesville on April 16, to Pineville and Kinder on the 17th and to Vinton and Westlake on the 18th. Perhaps the band got more attention than usual this year because it was accompanied by Cowbelles Muriel Bruno, Sandra Neff Fleming. Mrs. Bilece Curless Morrison, Jacqueline Bouquet, Geraine Horton, Betty Trouard, June Cooper, and Brenda Bailey. (79)

McNeese athletic teams were more successful than usual in 1957-1958. Les DeVall’s football squad won 8 and lost only 2, and the two losses were not to Gulf States Conference opponents. This record brought not only a tie for the GSC championship; it also brought DeVall as conference coach of the year, and Robert Morris, Rogers Hampton, Don Tunney, Gene Gibson, and Richard Salley as members of the All-GSC team. The basketball team won 19 games to a loss of only 4 and won the GSC championship for a third straight year. There was no NAIA bid; however, the season seemed almost anti-climatic after the glories of 1955. Few people noted or cared that the track, golf, and tennis teams also won GSC championships. (80)

McNeese had 201 seniors ready to graduate in May 1958. The Reverend C. W. Williams of Trinity Methodist Church in Beaumont was the baccalaureate speaker, and Dr. C. E. Hawley of the United States Information Agency gave the commencement address. Cum laude graduates were Catherine C. Barker, Mrs. Lou Guidry, Lucille Mae Duhon, Mrs. Imogene E. Kounter, Mrs. Ethel Davis Deaton, Cloyd M. Allison, Sr., Constance Toelkes, Elizabeth E. Friesen, Mrs. Althea Davis Pitre, Mrs. Marie Wallace, Sylvia Marie Funk, and Mrs. Colleen Frazer. (81)

McNeese’s enrollment had increased from barely half a thousand (501) in the fall of 1950-1951 to more than two thousand (2,024) in the fall of 1957-1958). This was an average increase of well over two hundred per year. The college could have been satisfied merely to hold its own when faced with the necessity of constant expansion while financial resources always ran behind needs, but it was not. The quality of education at McNeese was also increasing through these years. Much remained to be done, much would always remain to be done, but a fine beginning had been made.


Bigger and Perhaps Better

As had become customary, summer school enrollment in 1958 was greater than ever before. But it was in the fall that, as a newspaper put it, an "Enrollment Wave Engulf[ed] McNeese." Final enrollment for the fall semester was 2,444 students as compared to 2,024 in the fall of 1957. These included 891 freshmen, 438 sophomores, 306 juniors, and 313 seniors, 464 night students and 32 special and non-credit enrollees. All dormitories were full to overflowing, and classroom space had reached a saturation point. Not a single classroom was unused from eight o’clock in the morning to two o’clock in the afternoon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and they were full except for a few vacancies the last two hours before two o’clock on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday classes, of course, have always been avoided by students. Spring enrollment was another spring record, but at 2,163 it was substantially below the fall and gave a bit of a breathing spell. (1)

McNeese classes had now been peacefully integrated since the spring of 1955, but in Baton Rouge the battle against integration had not yet reached its peak. LSU was caught between the legislature and common sense when blacks began to attend the Louisiana State University-New Orleans (now the University of New Orleans), and the university’s administration issued a statement that Negroes were "unwanted." Segregationist legislator Willie Rainach, who was convinced that a "Red conspiracy against the West" was responsible for the integration drive, sought once more to use the "eligibility certificates" referred to in the previous chapter, but the lower court order against the certificate requirement was upheld by the United States Supreme Court. Not all students had their pictures made for the Log, and sometimes it is impossible to tell whether a picture is of a black person or a white person, but the class pictures for 1958-1959 show 22 black seniors out of 304, 8 black juniors out of 307, 10 black sophomores out of 409, and 52 black freshmen out of 842. Almost certainly there were more blacks than that enrolled, but however many, there was no violence and no recorded agitation. Yet students riding city buses to an integrated college were still segregated on the bus, and the City Council refused to make any change. (2)

In September 1958, State Treasurer A. P. Tugwell said that the state was almost out of money and a few days later Lieutenant Governor Frazar backed him up, saying that Louisiana really was almost bankrupt. Governor Earl Long had suffered an apparent nervous breakdown and was unable to provide leadership. The State Board of Education and the LSU Board of Supervisors issued a statement in November 1958 warning the legislature and the public that $140,000,000 worth of new facilities would be needed for the state’s colleges over the next ten years. A proposed bond issue of $73,000, 000 was introduced into the legislature, and of this Southwest Louisiana legislators sought $800,000 for a new library for McNeese, and in time this would come about. (3)

People who were at McNeese in 1958-1959 probably remember the cold January day when an overheated boiler blew out in the Administration Building and required the attention of the Lake Charles Fire Department before it was subdued. It is comforting to note that the State Bond and Building Commission came up with $11,000 for a replacement boiler. In November the McNeese Federal Credit Union was organized, with Robert H. James as president, Bruce Landers as vice president, Harry Champagne in charge of personnel, and Wallace Lee assistant personnel officer. The Credit Committee was made up of Arthur Lee, Brownie (Mrs. Roy) Boozer, and Dan S. Montz, Jr. Huey McFatter, Stephen Spencer, and Mrs. William B. Underwood were the supervisory committee. Lastly, Mrs. Emma Squires, daughter of John McNeese, and long time Lake Charles city clerk, died on February 5, 1959. (4)

At the beginning of the fall semester, McNeese offered students 52 four-year curricula, almost certainly too many; 6 three-year curricula, all in Engineering; and 5 two-year curricula. Agriculture and Home Economics offered 9 four-year curricula, Education offered 10, as did Music and there were 8 in all the Sciences. In Business Administration, on the other hand, there were only 4, and there were only 3 each in Languages and Social Sciences. There has been a tendency toward too many curricula at McNeese throughout most of its history. The Catalogue for 1958-1959 listed no fewer than 655 courses. Art, Business Administration, Chemistry, Education, English, Forestry, Geology, Health and Physical Education, Home Economics, Music, Nursing, and Physics each offered 20 or more courses, and Music offered 63. It should be noted here that the Louisiana State Nursing Examiners approved the McNeese nursing program in the spring of 1959. (5)

The Catalogue listed a new and elaborate purpose for the college in 1958-1959:

McNeese State College, which was established to meet the growing educational needs of a rapidly expanding population in Southwest Louisiana, dedicates itself to the task of giving every possible consideration to each of its students. At this college the success of each student in all aspects of his life is the primary concern of the teaching and administrative staff.

The college tries to help the student toward maturity in his personal life - intellectual, emotional, and cultural - by bringing him in touch with knowledge of the heritage of civilized man, and helping him turn knowledge of man and nature into understanding of life in the world today and his role in that life. Special attention is given to the development of critical thinking and that means of transmitting abstract and creative thoughts into terms of positive action that will result in the greatest good for himself and the world in which he lives.

The aim of the college to aid the student economically is realized through helping him select the field of endeavor best suited to his wishes and talents, and to provide him with experiences that will permit his developing a high degree of professional competence. The student is shown that the mature individual has a high regard for doing every job well; he seeks to continue his professional growth and respects the job well done in any field of activity.

Socially the student is taught to develop the ability to judge trends and conditions in contemporary society according to the moral and ethical values of Western Civilization, and become competent in weighing the values of contemporary customs and attitudes against perennial values. He is encouraged to see and respect various paths to individual and collective goals, and to become effective both as a leader and as a follower, working with other members of society in striving to attain the goals that he judges compatible with the highest moral and ethical values.

McNeese State College expects that her students will direct this personal, economic, and social maturity toward effective citizenship and toward constant individual development, both spiritual and material. (6)

Various students distinguished themselves during the year, James Austin Hunt, a freshman, won one of the four scholarships in forestry offered nationwide by Textron Corporation. No names are available, but mathematics and science students under Dr. Miller Clarkson’s direction put together an analogue computer from a $2,000 kit purchased for the purpose. M. W. Veuleman and Walter J. Rusek were honored by the Sabine Chapter of the National Association of Accountants as outstanding accounting students, and society editor Marsha Lee Smith and sports editor Gary Snyder of the Contraband attended the Annual Meeting of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association at Columbia University. In the College Writers of Louisiana contest, Rex O’Neal Miller won first place in short story, Ray Beasley was first with his one-act play, and Clarence (Bubba) Monismith received honorable mention in the feature story division. Benjamin L. Carroll of Dry Creek won a fellowship for the graduate study of chemistry at the University of Iowa. Sixteen students won listings in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. They were Henry P. Decell, Jr., Julie Ann Christ, Irvin R. Bonnin, Marie S. White, Evelyn Thompson, Harry Wilson Miller, Margaret Barman, John Maurice Thom, Jr., Fred Nodier, Martha Dale Land, Jerome A. Long, Rex O’Neal Miller, Jr., George Treese, Olen Clark, Claribel Stansbury Jones, and Leslye Ward. In January, Julie Christ (the future Mrs. Kalil Ieyoub) became McNeese’s first female student body president, replacing Fred Nodier, who graduated in December in the middle of his term. If distinction it be, Ervin Gusik was chosen the ugliest man on campus and given the title Mr. Le Goon in a takeoff on the LaBelle contest. (7)

Freshman Queen at the beginning of the fall semester was Jeanette Carney, and her maids were Suzanne Fuller, Robbie Kingrey, Sandra Sudduth, and Judy Gill. Peggy Addison was selected as Homecoming Queen, attended by Grace Abrahams, Marie White, Dena Christ, Connie Burnette, Suzanne Fuller, and Frances Domingues. In March Frances Domingues was LaBelle, and her court was made up of Suzanne Fuller, Betty Jo Potter, Grace Abrahams, Marie White, Joanna Steele, and Jeanette Christ. Marie White was also Little Colonel for the campus ROTC. In June, coed Mary Ann Hamilton was selected to represent Lake Charles at the Miss Louisiana Beauty Pageant. (8)

McNeese’s debate team was exceedingly active, entering eight tournaments, including the LSU Intercollegiate Forensics Conference and meets at Louisiana Tech, Millsaps, and Florida State. Debaters were Sandra Sudduth, Max Morris, Gilbert Wiggins, Jr., William Robinson, Henry McGowen, Jr., Russell Fontenot, Jerry Watson, and Marilyn Penn. The team won the first debate trophy in McNeese history at the Tech meeting, but there would be literally hundreds more in the years to come. In April the debate team began a tradition that has persisted, a head-to-head debate with a Harvard University team. Harvard took the affirmative on the proposition "that the further development of nuclear weapons should be prohibited." Gilbert Wiggins, Jr. and Max Morris of McNeese lost by a vote of 5 to 4. (9)

As a result of the elections in fall 1958, Fred LeBlanc became alumni president, Fred Flores first vice president, Gene Booth second vice president, and Asa Weeks third vice president. Kathy Coleman replaced Mrs. Eva Jo Mertina as secretary. In November news arrived from Nashville that alumnus Lamar Robertson was singing a lead role in a George Peabody College production of Thieves’ Carnival. (10)

A number of new faculty members came to McNeese in the fall. Lieutenant Colonel George Cole, now retired from the Army, was put in charge of placement and given a teaching assignment in Social Sciences. Jason P. Xenakis became assistant professor of philosophy, and William P. Sullivan, who had taught at McNeese in 1955, returned to the fold with a doctorate. Bessie Jean Ruley had been an outstanding undergraduate home economics major at McNeese, and after graduation she earned a master’s degree in Home Economics at the University of Arizona. She returned to the McNeese campus as an instructor in the fall of 1958. Roy Dobyns became an assistant professor of Mathematics, replacing assistant football coach Lee Hayley in the classroom. Two new Nursing instructors were employed, Miss Annie Mae Green and Mrs. Joan Ratchford. In the Department of Education, Ella Roberts and Bernice Lowry became instructors. Finally, former Army chaplain Charles W. Fogleman, Ph.D. in sociology joined the Social Science faculty as an assistant professor. C. W. Fogleman would be a loved and respected teacher and, soon, head of the Department of Social Sciences until his retirement. (11)

During the year, a number of faculty distinguished themselves in various ways. Mr. Armand Perrault of Business Administration and Miss Ann Tilton Cash of Home Economics were married in September. B. Warren Signor of the music faculty was named to direct the first performance of the Lake Charles Civic Symphony on November 11; McNeese faculty were to play a major role in the Civic Symphony from this time forward. Jason Xenakis published an article in The Christian Scholar, a publication of the National Council of Churches. Constance White, head of Nursing, was elected president of the Quota Club of Lake Charles, and Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Grant of the ROTC detachment was assigned to attend the Army Command and Staff School at Leavenworth. In the spring, C. W. Fogleman read a paper at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Sociological Society at Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Kenneth Gaburo was no longer on the faculty, but his "Elegy," performed by the New York Philharmonic, was praised highly by critic Howard Taubman in the New York Times. (12)

One way of estimating the qualifications of a college’s faculty is by the number, or percentage, of terminal degrees they hold, which in most fields means doctorates. When McNeese became a four-year college Clet Girard and Francis Bulber were the only faculty members who had earned the highest academic degree, and they were 5 percent of a faculty of 36. At the end of the next year, the number of doctorates had increased to 5 as the faculty grew to 51, and the percentage doubled to 10 percent. By 1955, 13 of 76 faculty had the doctorate, and the percentage had climbed to 17 percent. The departure of a number of Ph.D.s that year, and an increase in total faculty, brought the percentage down to 13.5 percent in 1956-1957. By 1958-1959 there were 22 persons holding the doctoral degree on the faculty, but the total faculty had grown to 130, so the percentage of doctorates was back only to the 17 percent of 1955. The percentage would go down before it would begin to rise permanently, but it must be remembered that the 1950’s and early 1960’s were periods of tremendous enrollment increases nationwide, creating a seller’s market of college faculty. Ph.D.'s were on the market, but they could command high salaries; the Louisiana legislature has devoted many words to the importance of education, but it has never provided the kind of appropriations that would be necessary to gather a truly top-notch faculty at any one of the Louisiana state colleges. What finally made great improvement possible, as will be discussed later, was a temporary decline in enrollment accompanied by an increased supply of persons with doctoral degrees, creating a buyers market in some academic areas. (13)

The fall presentation of the Bayou Players was William Shakespeare’s A Winter's Tale. In the large cast were Roy Harmon, Lady Leah LaFargue, Curtis Baggett, Layne Stone, Noel Meadows, Annette Pousson, Ama Lee McKague, William Himel, Mildred Clarke, Barbara Breedlove, Leslye Ann Ward, Sara Wyman, Mrs. Mary Louise Stone, Dolores Tanner, Arlene Welsh, Walter Farque, Jr., Don Land, Richard Mercer, Jr., Thomas Watson, Henry Ray Beasley, Marvin Barber, and Marie David, plus two children, Patrick and Lila Tritico. Fritzi Krause gave A Winter’s Tale a highly favorable review. (14)

Because of crowding, Dean Bulber reduced the number of voices in the Messiah choir to 220 in 1958, though the orchestra remained at 40 pieces. Soloists were William McGrath, tenor; Mary MacKenzie, contralto; Mac Morgan, bass-baritone; and Beverly Bower, soprano. Once again the house was full, and again the performance was broadcast over the Mutual Radio Network. (15)

For the McNeese-Lions Club production, light opera and popular musicals were forsaken for real one-act operas, Mascagni’s Cavelleria Rusticana and Minotti’s The Telephone. These presentations were highly praised by Truman Stacy in the Lake Charles American Press, especially the singing of imported soprano Ilona Kombrink, McNeese alumnus Sanford Linscome, and ROTC Captain E. F. Faust. Nonetheless these short operas did not draw the audiences that earlier performances of musicals and light opera had drawn. Since the object was to earn money which the Lions Club than used to establish McNeese music scholarships, the public reaction was important. Incidentally, in 1958-1959, eleven music students held Lions Club scholarships. (16)

The Bayou Player’s spring presentation was Sean O’Casey’s Cock-A-Doodle-Dandy. Don Land, Dick Mercer, Layne Stone, Annette Pousson, Ama Lee McKague, Mary Louise Stone, Mildred Clarke, Marie David, Carl Lueg, Jr., Dennis Grady, Curtis Baggett, Boyd Williamson, Roy Harmon, William Himel, Walter Farque, William Dickerson, and Ray Beasley made up the cast. So that viewers seated in the front part of the Auditorium could see all the action, the stage floor was slanted upward from front to back. (17)

In addition to these productions, there were other noteworthy cultural occasions. The New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra presented a concert at McNeese on October 31, its third appearance on campus. Pianist Claudio Arrau gave a Community Concert piano recital in the Auditorium on December 13, and when the Little Theater building on Bilbo Street was ruined by fire, the last Little Theater performance of Inherit the Wind was presented on the McNeese stage. Community Concert also presented the Vienna Boys Choir, and as mentioned earlier, Warren Signor conducted the first concert of the new Lake Charles Civic Symphony in the Auditorium in November. (18)

Nor was McNeese’s cultural effort confined to the campus. Undoubtedly recruiting was one objective, but cultural development was another when the college’s concert choir sang at Leesville, DeRidder, Pineville, Oakdale, Welsh, and Vinton in January. Then in April the band’s tour took it to Welsh and Vinton in January. Then in April the band’s tour took it to Bunkie, Marksville, Istrouma in Baton Rouge, St. James, Morgan City and Rayne. In the 1950’s the performance of a well-trained ninety-piece band was a sight seldom seen by high school students. (19)

A. I. Ratcliff was still athletic director in 1958-1959, and Les DeVall was head football coach, aided by Lee Haley and Jack Doland. Dowell Fontenot was trainer. The football season was not a good one, 5 wins to 5 losses; the worst DeVall was to have in his career. The record in basketball was also a disappointment; this was the first year since 1955 that McNeese had not been GSC champion in that sport. It was partial compensation, perhaps, that the tennis team won the conference championship for the third year in a row, and that the golf team also was the champion. In track McNeese ranked fourth in the GSC. One McNeese team that distinguished itself in 1959 was the rodeo team, which at the Colorado Springs meet won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association championship for the second time. McNeese stars were Jim Miller, Tommye Flenniken, and Miss Dean Flenniken. Dezere Lynn Miller of McNeese was not only chosen as Rodeo Queen, but also crowned by western movie star Tex Ritter. (20)

In November, a three-judge federal court declared that Louisiana’s law banning racially mixed athletics was unconstitutional, but the State Board of Education kept the rule in effect for the state colleges. The McNeese team withdrew from a round robin tournament at Barksdale Field because the Barksdale team had some black players. By this time, of course, there had been black players in major league baseball for almost ten years. (21)

There were 224 graduates in the spring of 1959; they heard a baccalaureate address by the Reverend David J. Coughlin of the Church of the Ascension in Lafayette, and a commencement address by Dr. Forrest W. Murphy, Dean of Education at the University of Mississippi. Fifteen men were commissioned into the Army, and seven others had been commissioned in January. One graduate, Mrs. Katherine Blum, had completed all four years of her undergraduate work with no grade lower than A. Other cum laude graduates were Gaynell Theresa Verrett, Mrs. Juanita G. Isaac, Malcolm Wayne Veuleman, Patricia Ann Hathaway, Mrs. Evelyn Chester Thompson, Marjorie Nell Iles, Mrs. Dorothy Ann Lee, Benjamin Lester Carroll, and Eloise E. Moses. Forty-eight of the graduates had majored in secondary education, 31 in health and physical education, 32 in elementary education, and an astounding 28 in geology, 16 in nursing, 8 in horticulture, 7 in mathematics, and the remainder in various other curricula. (22)


Summer enrollment in 1959 was 1,263, an increase of 88 over the previous summer. In the fall 2,502 students were on hand, only 56 more than the previous year. There were actually 22 fewer freshmen than the year before, 8 fewer sophomores, but 15 more juniors, and 6 more seniors. The increase came in night students. Spring enrollment 1960, on the other hand, saw 200 more than the number registered in the spring of 1959. (23)

McNeese began the decade of the 1960’s with Wayne Cusic as president, Francis Bulber dean of the college, and Ralph Squires dean of Fine Arts. Department heads were C. A. Girard in Languages, R. A. Suarez in Social Sciences, O. D. Hyatt in Plant Science, J.C. Barman in Animal Science, Miller B. Clarkson in Physical Science, Stephen Spencer in Mathematics, George White in Biology, Robert Bruce Landers in Education, R. L. Rouse in Accounting (acting head), Constance White in Nursing, A. D. Sterkx in Business Administration, Robert James, director of night school, and Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Yarbrough, professor of military science and tactics, all of whom reported directly to Bulber, at least in theory. In practice Cusic frequently dealt directly with department heads. (24)

There were a dozen other administrators, many of whom also taught classes. Samuel Marino was head librarian, Inez Moses registrar, and Arthur Lee auditor. Ellis Guillory was dean of student life, and Miss Linnie Lacy was counselor to women. A. I. Ratcliff, as noted earlier, was athletic director; John Oakley functioned as purchasing officer; Roy Price was director of housing; George Cole directed placement; and William H. Welch was attendance officer. Mrs. Margaret Richard was director of publications, Miss Paddy Doll director of testing, and Wallace Lee supervisor of buildings and grounds. (25)

Student fees were now $27.50 in the fall, $22.50 in the spring. For resident students, room and board was $256 a semester, but there still were only two dormitories, Alpha and Beta, for women and one for men. There was a relative abundance of scholarships, however. Band scholarships were freely available, legislative fee exemptions scholarships were fairly easy to come by, and if a student had a legislative warrant, he might get cash from the finance office. For graduates there was a scholarship to LSU, and students who placed in the literary rally received special scholarships to McNeese. Probably the most prestigious awards available were the T. H. Harris Scholarships named for a former state superintendent of education, but by now there were also 40 other scholarships of various kinds accumulated by McNeese in its two decades of operation. (26)

The most important development of the year, insofar as facilities were concerned, was the beginning of construction of a new library. The legislature appropriated $800,000 for a library building in its 1959 session, but the money was to come from mineral leases which had not been let at the time. By spring the money was available, and bids were taken on the building. Bartley, Inc., made a low bid of $534,260, and the contract was awarded on March 16, 1960. Construction began that spring. (27)

One of the memories of the 1959-1960 year was the ordination of Harry E. Benefiel, former faculty member, into the Catholic priesthood by Bishop Maurice Schexnayder. But people who attended McNeese in 1959-1960 probably remember the death of Lether Frazar more than any other happening of the year. Frazar had not been in good health since becoming lieutenant governor; in fact, his health was said to be responsible for his not being a candidate for governor in 1960. In the spring he suffered a series of strokes, and he died in Lake Charles Memorial Hospital May 16, 1960. Frazar was still highly popular at McNeese and among most people of Lake Charles, and his death brought widespread grief. (28)

On the positive side, an accrediting team of the National Collegiate Association of Teachers of Education came on campus in October and reported favorably on McNeese. Likewise McNeese was admitted to the Association of University Evening Colleges, which meant that the evening school was accredited. An arrangement was made with the East Louisiana State Hospital whereby three McNeese nursing students could study psychiatric nursing there. Mrs. Eldridge Harper, Mrs. Marion R. Carnahan, and Mrs. Sue B. Henning were chosen for this program. On the less exalted side, vandals clipped the tails of six horses belonging to the rodeo team, and City Councilman Sam Tarleton complained loudly about McNeese students who exceeded the speed limit on Common Street trying to make it to class on time. (29)

Frank Sadler was president of the student body in fall 1959, but resigned in February and was replaced by Harold Guillory. In August three students were accepted for dental school, Brenda Lynn Bailey at Baylor, and Charles B. Frush and Harry Snatic at Loyola. Eight juniors who attended summer camp at Fort Hood, Texas, were named distinguished military students; they were Frank L. Setliff, Bobby W. Smith, Peter L. Crawford, Charles R. Pratt, Shelby R. Adams, Freddie L. Patterson, Tommy M. Partin, and Olen O. Clark. In 1959, Log editor George Mitchell attended the Columbia Scholastic Press Association meeting, and the 1959 Log was given the highest possible rating. In March, I. J. Wynn announced that Contraband editor C. H. Seiber and associate editor Gene Mearns, as well as Log editor emeritus J. B. Smith, II, would attend this meeting and would also visit the offices of the New York Times and Life Magazine. (30)

Twenty-four students were named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities; among them were Carolyn Gay Hudson, Mrs. Eldred Harper, and Barbara Breedlove. Robert L. Myers won a fellowship at the University of Houston for graduate study in geology. McNeese writers as a whole placed third in the Louisiana College Writers Society contest; Ray Beasley placed first in short story, and Wilburn L. Maddox and Lynwood Hebert won honorable mention in that category; William V. Booth and Lorena L. Bride received honorable mention in personal essay and one-act play, respectively. Students Janet Pollard and Patsy McClain, plus assistant professor Lynda Jane McCaskill, attended the convention of the National Association of Student Nurses at Miami. Dena Christ, a senior who was on the honor roll, Homecoming Queen, listed in Who’s Who, and an active member of Chi Omega social sorority, had an exhibit of thirteen paintings and three sculptures shown in the Lake Charles Public Library. Charles David Whitman won a senior scholarship for study at the Tulane School of Law, and Floyd M. Clay won a scholarship for graduate study in history at Louisiana State University. (31)

The number of students on the honor roll had become so embarrassingly large that in 1959-1960 only those who made the President’s Honor Roll, reserved for those with a grade point average of 3.5 or better out of a possible 4.0, were honored on Honors Day. In October Mrs. Marianne Dunn, Floyd M. Clay, Virgie D. Laughlin, Lester A. Parra, Barbara L. Romero, Earl D. Bruce, Jimmie Ann Meaux, and Gaynel T. Verrett were recognized as having achieved a 4.0 average in spring of 1959. In March President John Hunter of LSU spoke to only 89 honorees; included were straight A students Mrs. Della M. Guillory, Mrs. Marjorie F. Ayer, Mrs. Althea J. Pitre, Mrs. Leonide L. Tanner, Mrs. Betty Hobbs Delaney, Frank L. Setliff, Don E. Bastion, Elsie M. Beard, Rita A. Calderera, Amy S. Deaver, Sharon M. George, Virgie D. Laughlin, Arnetta M. Rider, Mrs. Mary U. Spates and Jimmie Ann Meaux. The dominance of women, including a large proportion of married women, is obvious. (32)

As noted earlier, Dena Christ was Homecoming Queen in 1959; Frances Henshaw, Janice McManus, Kathleen Ann Gordy, Frances Domingues, Judy Roberts, and Sylvia Andrus were her court. Kathy Gordy was selected LaBelle, and her maids were Judy Roberts, Beverly York, Julie Gayle, Janice McManus, Frances Domingues, Anne Pellerin, Angela Terranova, and Dena Christ. Frances Domingues also had the honor of serving as ROTC Little Colonel. (33)

William Casey’s debate team had eleven people this year: Max Morris, Gilbert Wiggins, Russell Fontenot, Robert Hayes, William A. Robinson, Brenda Streeter, Pamela Broussard, Amelia Franklin, Carole Carlin, Carolyn Thompson, and Richard H. Mercer. Early in the year it placed second in the LSU Forensics Conference and then again in a tournament at Louisiana Tech. In March the team finished third in the Tulane tournament, with Wiggins and Morris, senior debaters, defeating four colleges before going down before the University of Houston. In January it was noted that Wiggins and Morris had won ten of twelve debates so far in the year; in March they added to their score, and McNeese won the Louisiana Speech tournament at Natchitoches. Nor was this all; in April Wiggins and Morris defeated Harvard’s debaters to even that score. (34)

In November Fred Flores was elected over Nyles Spurlock as president of the McNeese alumni. Asa Weeks was first vice president, William Clarke second vice president, and Alyse Preston third vice president. James Beam, Sam Liprie, Mrs. Edward Daugherty, and Thomas D. Watson were elected to the Alumni Board. Three nursing alumnae, Mrs. Rena Dupre, Carolyn Griffin, and Elizabeth Storer joined the Calcasieu-Lake Charles Health Unit, and home economics major Mrs. Marie White became assistant home demonstration agent for Calcasieu Parish. Finally, McNeese horticulture graduate Larry Trammel was made supervisor of grounds for the newly restored Governor Tryon Palace at New Bern, North Carolina. (35)

Grace Ramke of the Fine Arts Department returned home during the summer of 1959 after nine months in Europe studying African art. Paddy Ann Doll, director of testing and assistant professor of psychology, spent the summer in Europe and attended the meeting of the World Federation of Mental Health at Barcelona, Spain. Ada Sabatier and Wylma Reynolds also traveled in Europe in the summer, participating in a tour sponsored by the National Education Association. (36)

The new faculty that the college had needed badly in 1958-1959 finally was employed in 1959-1960, and some of these would become fixtures as the years went by. Three reported to Fine Arts: Betty Jean Hinton in Speech; Franklin A. LeBar, assistant professor of Music; and Juanelva Marie Rose, staff accompanist. In Education new faces were those of Dr. George Kirchener in Health and Physical Education, Bertha Walley in Elementary Education, and Dr. Edward F. McLaughlin in Psychology. In Business, Anna Ruth Wallace joined the Business Administration staff, Dr. Eldred C. Speck became assistant professor of Accounting, and Patricia Benoit came to teach Secretarial Science. (37)

Jack D. L. Holmes, who would be at McNeese only a short time but who would become an internationally know historian, joined the Social Science Department. Linda McCaskill became assistant professor of Nursing; Betty M. Walker was assistant professor of Home Economics; Evelyn H. Chandler became circulation librarian; and Errington M. Holt, Jr., became an instructor in Animal Husbandry. Victor Monsour, who would become head of the Department of Microbiology, joined the science faculty, as did Dr. B. E. Hankins, a chemist who would become dean of the College of Science and then academic vice president of the university. Donald L. Elfert became an instructor in engineering drawing, and Kalil Ieyoub and Raymond Chavanne, both McNeese alumni, became laboratory assistants in chemistry. Ieyoub would one day be head of the Department of Chemistry, and Chavanne would be director of Basic Studies. (38)

The Departments of Mathematics and Languages took the main onslaught from large freshman classes. Harold Rugby Green and Mrs. Tommy Hyatt Carroll became assistant professors of Mathematics, and alumna Mrs. Colleen Doane Frazer became an assistant in Mathematics. Richard Covington was on sabbatical leave from Languages, but he was more than replaced by seven new teachers. Martha Sue Brown, Edward J. Czerwinski, and Curtis C. Whittington became assistant professors of English. Albert N. Cole, Jr., became assistant professor of Spanish, and Loris D. Galford, Glenn R. Swetman, and Horace Taylor became instructors in English. Whittington would one day head the department. (39)

Patrick Ford of the Mathematics Department received a Danforth grant for work on his doctorate at George Peabody College in Nashville, and Mrs. Bertha Walley earned her doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Alabama. Mrs. W. E. Roberts chaired the editorial committee of the McNeese Review, and the 1959 issue carried articles by Samuel J. Marino and Jason Xenakis. O. D. Hyatt, in addition to many talks to local organizations spoke to a garden symposium at Lamar Tech in Beaumont, and Donald J. Millet became president of the Southwest Louisiana Historical Association. President Cusic was awarded an honorary doctorate by Illinois College, where he had earned his bachelor’s degree. Nowell Daste and Grace Ramke had works included in the Louisiana Art Commission exhibit of faculty art in Baton Rouge. It was Jack D. L. Holmes, however, whose scholarly papers and publications kept the name of McNeese State College before the scholarly community. In the fall he had articles published in the United Daughters of the Confederacy magazine and in the West Tennessee Historical Annual. Early in 1960 he published a booklet, Selected and Annotated Bibliography of the Planned Suburban Shopping Center, which is still in use. In April he read a paper to the Southwestern Social Science Association meeting at Dallas, and in May he spoke to the Southwest Louisiana Historical Association on Spanish rule in Natchez. (40)

Faculty members attended numerous professional meetings. Dean Bulber and Dr. George Marshall were on the program of the Louisiana Music Teachers Annual Meeting at LSU in October, and Dr. Ralph Squires attended the meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music in Detroit in late November. Also in November Robert B. Landers attended the meeting of the Southern Regional Board of Education in Atlanta. In April Landers and C. C. Baker attended the National Council for Exceptional Children meeting in Los Angeles, where Landers presided over a panel dealing with a "Critique of College Courses and College Teaching in Special Education." Finally, William Iglinsky was one of twenty genetics teachers in the whole country selected to attend an expense-paid summer conference on genetics at Colorado State University. (41)

Cultural activities for the year included Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, presented by the Bayou Players November 4-6, 1959. Marie David, Layne Stone, Douglas Robertson, Annette Pousson, Ronald Budge, Roy Harmon, Walter Farque, Richard Mercer, Jr., Daniel Roberts, Don Land, Curtis Baggett, Henry Ray Beasley, Mildred Clarke, Lady Leah Hathaway, and Barbara Luttrell composed the cast. Critic Bill Mertina praised the play, though his review speaks more of the play itself than of the performance. (42)

The Messiah was, as usual, a major event. Soloists were contralto Ruth Nikolaidi, soprano Ilona Kombrink, tenor Eugene Conley, and baritone Robert Kirkham. Nursery service was provided once more, and announcements stated that "pre-school children shall not be admitted." (43) Critic Charles Martin described the performance as "uniformly expert." (44) Four people - Bulber, Arthur Burch, J. L. Farque, and Miss Delia Gaunt - were recognized for twenty years with the Messiah chorus, and Kathleen Allums and Mrs. J. L. Farque were recognized for 19 years service. Bulber received a gift of matched luggage, and Miss Allums received a silver chafing dish. The Messiah chorus planned to present "An Evening with Faust" in the air-conditioned auditorium of Lake Charles High School in late April, but torrential rain forced a postponement until early May. (45)

The 1960 the Lions Club-McNeese musical was Annie Get Your Gun, with Lamar LeBoeuf and Louise Stone alternating in the lead role. Other members of the cast, some on alternate nights were Don Dehm, Francis LaRocque, Marcia Feldes, Barbara Luttrell, Sylvia Buck, Bernice Timpa, Layne Stone, Finers Cryer, Roy Harmon, Burl Vincent, Don Land, and Dan Roberts. The musical received a good review, and Lamar LeBoeuf was especially complimented. In May the Bayou Players presented Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, with Carolyn Thompson, Annette Pousson, Roy Harmon, Don Lands, and two children, John Harmon and Mary Ellen Brocato. Newspaper reviews of college performances in Lake Charles are never savage and seldom less than enthusiastic, but one is left with the feeling that this difficult play did not go over very well. (46)

Other cultural opportunities were abundant. On the evening of November 19, the Julliard String Quartette appeared before a small but highly appreciative audience. On the night of January 27, Isaac Stern presented a violin concert, and the Lyceum program for February 10 was The Taming of the Shrew, performed by a professional Canadian troupe. Also in early February a group of art students, led by Carolyn Piel, put on an exhibit of their works in the Wesley Center. In this busy February, actress Bette Davis and actor Barry Sullivan appeared in The World of Carl Sandburg, readings from the poet’s works adapted for the stage by Norman Corwin. The Lake Charles Civic Symphony presented George Marshall’s "An Irish Overture," and Ralph Squires was a piano soloist for the performance. An American version of the Oberammergau Passion Play was presented March 17-20; more than 150 local volunteers, mainly McNeese students, participated. Finally, on April 21, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra appeared in concert at 7:30 p.m. and then moved to the Ranch (student center) to play for the college’s spring dance later in the evening. (47)

In 1960 the football team had another lackluster season, winning 6 and losing 3, but the three losses were to Northwestern, Louisiana Tech, and SLI at Lafayette. Olen Clark, halfback, was McNeese’s outstanding player all season. The Homecoming game was played on schedule Saturday, November 14, but rain fell so abundantly that the parade and other Homecoming events were delayed until the following Monday. In October Coach DeVall kicked six players off the team for disciplinary reasons, which may have been the most interesting development of the season. The year 1959-1960 was not an outstanding year in other sports, either; all teams had an undistinguished season except that the rodeo team won another national championship, this time at Klamath Falls, Oregon. Perhaps the most exciting event of the year came when spectators at the Northwestern gymnasium attacked McNeese basketball players at the close of a game there. Two players, John Riddle and Don Troutman, suffered visible damage. They maintained that the crowd got in most of its licks while Natchitoches police had the McNeese players’ arms pinned to their sides. (48)

Homer Hitt, chancellor of the University of New Orleans, was the graduation speaker in 1960. Cum laude graduates were John G. W. Price, Jimmie Ann Meaux, F. Lamar Setliff, Arnetta Mae Rider, Mary R. Strahan, Mrs. Myrtis Lee St. Pierre, Marilyn Jane Penn, Dreaux Jude Summers, Jeanette Ada Christ, and Mrs. Mary U. Spates. Graduate John G. W. Price was nothing if not persistent. He had first enrolled at McNeese in 1946 and had persevered until he finally achieved his goal. Almost half of the graduates had majored in education of one kind or another, but 35 majored in one of the sciences, 28 in agriculture, and 22 in business. Ten chose one of the fine arts as a major, 7 mathematics, 6 each social sciences and languages, with only 1 each in medical technology and home economics. Seven of the graduates were admitted to medical or dental school. (49)


The 1960-1961 academic year was one of those that faculty and administrators long in the system remember as a "bad year." The nation was in an economic recession, Louisiana’s revenues were down, and the second Jimmie Davis administration in Baton Rouge, preoccupied with a vain attempt to prevent integration of the public schools, was one of the least competent since the Second World War. The enrollment for summer school, 1,347 was a 14 percent increase over the preceding summer, definitely forecasting heavy enrollment in the fall, but the college’s budget was reduced rather than increased. (50)

The total fall enrollment was no less than 2,697, an increase of 195 over the previous year. This enrollment included slightly more than 1,000 freshman, 478 sophomores, 348 juniors, and 341 seniors, a total of 2,174 regular students, and this was an increase of 235 over 1959-1960. All dormitories were filled and some 70 resident men were housed in temporary buildings. In the spring the total was 2,506, including 831 freshmen, 425 sophomores, 339 juniors, and 422 seniors. An enrollment increase of this size meant at least ten more sections of freshmen English and ten more of freshmen mathematics, plus probably fifteen more classes of one kind or another, and this had to be done with less money. (51)

Nor did McNeese do well insofar as capital outlay funds were concerned. Out of a $10,000,000 appropriation, the state gave the college only $575,000, less than went to Northwestern, Northeastern, or Nicholls, schools that were not growing as rapidly as McNeese. Representative Jim Brown tried to get $1,300,000 for expansion of the Fine Arts Building, but the House of Representatives took no action on his bill. Bids were taken in February for furnishings for the new Library under construction, and McNeese was able to borrow $500,000 from the Federal Housing and House Finance Agency. This half-million dollars was to be used to build housing for married students on the south side of McNeese Street on the land originally purchased as a college farm, and the loan was to be repaid from revenues from the housing. The contract for these was let before the end of the year. (52)

McNeese was involved in controversy during the 1960-1961 academic year. One English instructor attracted attention, to say the least, when he flunked twenty-four out of thirty freshmen in one of his classes. A newspaper editorial was sympathetic to the instructor and insisted that there be no relaxation of standards. Another editorial a month later, not necessarily related, deplored the fact that high schools were sending their incapable students on to college to be flunked out there. (53) Perhaps more serious were two letters to the editor in June that accused President Cusic of getting rid of large numbers of faculty and staff for political reasons. What prompted these letters is difficult to determine. There were no public firings in 1960-1961, and the loss of faculty members was not any greater than would be normal in any year. A newspaper editorial prompted by the letters suggested that what Cusic needed to do was to replace many of the hastily created faculty with more qualified people. In fact, suggested the writer, Cusic might not be political enough: "To accomplish anything in Louisiana public life today, you MUST be a politician. Certainly the likes of Earl Long and Jimmie Davis will be moved by no other appeal." (54)

This prompted a number of additional letters to the editor, including one from a lady who asserted that all the courses she had at McNeese Junior College before transferring to LSU were excellent except a course in educational psychology under Cusic that she had had to take over. One wonders what dire set of circumstances had made it necessary for Cusic, a health and physical education major, to teach educational psychology. A more sensible letter pointed out that so far Cusic had been unable to improve significantly on the percentage of Ph.D.’s on the faculty. Another sensible letter suggested that one of McNeese’s biggest problems was lack of community support. In nearly all of these letters, however, there is a curious assumption that standards at McNeese were higher in Frazar’s day than in Cusic’s. In only one way was this true. Professional education courses are notorious for low standards practically everywhere, and McNeese offered many more professional education courses in 1960 than in the early 1950’s. But standards in languages, history, the sciences, mathematics, and other basic college courses were just as high, and perhaps higher, under Cusic than they had been under Frazar. (55)

In July of 1960 Senator Jesse Knowles of Lake Charles said that a legislative act to authorize McNeese to grant a master’s degrees in education would go into effect about September 1, 1960. The legislature did take action to this effect, and in late July the State Board instructed McNeese and other colleges to prepare specific plans for such degrees. In March the college announced that graduate work would begin in the summer and that education degrees would be granted in administration and supervision, elementary education, chemistry, biology, mathematics, English, and social studies. The plans were worked out by a Graduate Council made up of R. A. Suarez, C. A. Girard, C. C. Baker, Stephen M. Spencer, Thomas Zolki, and George White. Some welcomed the coming of graduate work, but everyone realized that McNeese lacked both the facilities and the faculty needed; there was much to be done. (56)

During the year the nursing program was favorably evaluated by a team headed by Dr. Jean Campbell, assistant director of baccalaureate and higher degree programs for the National League for Nursing. The Board of Education approved salary increases for college presidents and doubled the fees paid by out-of-state students, though there was no apparent connection. But the most noteworthy and nauseating event of the year came on November 14, 1960, when McNeese, Sowela Tech, and all the other colleges and public schools in the state were closed for a holiday declared by State Superintendent of Education Shelby Jackson for the day set by the federal courts for the integration of public schools in New Orleans. (57)

Student body officers, elected in May 1960, were Louis Hobbie, president, and Larry Gardner, vice president. Four senior cadets were announced as distinguished military students in October; they were Henry Ray Beasley, George V. Culpepper, Norman L. Beadle, and Douglas R. Courville. It is certainly noteworthy, too, that identical twins Carolyn and Clarene Carver gave an organ recital at First Methodist Church in Lake Charles during the summer. Contraband staff members editor-in-chief C. H. Seiber and society editor Rochelle Kristal, as well as Log staff members editor George Hurlbut, sports editor Glenn Vincent, and associate editor Katherine Zerger, escorted by Barbara Belew of the Music Department, attended a college publications workshop at Millsaps College at Jackson, Mississippi. Janet Pollard of Sulphur was elected president of Louisiana Association of Student Nurses, and W. R. McDonald received a National Office Management Association scholarship. Robert Coffman received the outstanding Accounting student award for the year, and Norman Beadle was named outstanding cadet at ROTC Honors Day. Robert G. Lasater won the McNeese State College Outstanding Science Student award from the Lake Charles Chapter of the Louisiana Engineering Society and Edgar D. Mott received the first Outstanding Engineering Student plaque from the same organization. (58)

An important first took place in the spring of 1961 when Tommie Sue Carroll was accepted by the LSU School of Medicine, the first McNeese coed to be so honored. Don Cowick, George Mitchell, John Stubblefield, and Paul Zehnder were also accepted for medical training at LSU, and Phillip Dater was accepted by the Tulane School of Medicine. Two other students, J. B. Smith, II and Allen W. Sibley, were accepted for dental training at Loyola University. The record of George White and the McNeese pre-medical program was improving every year. (59)

In the spring of 1961 senior art major Dorothy Ratcliff exhibited twelve oils, four pencil drawings, and four sculptures in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building. James Michael Greene won the annual scholarship for graduate work at LSU, and Wilbert E. McReynolds won the annual scholarship to the Tulane Law School. Honor graduate Charles Raleigh Newman decided to enter law school after finishing McNeese in the spring of 1961. Newman was no ordinary student; he had entered McNeese Junior College in 1948, then dropped out to work as a shift worker in industry for ten years. During that time he became world champion duck caller and world champion goose caller, which presumably makes him unique among McNeese graduates. He became, of course, a prominent Lake Charles attorney. (60)

The spring of 1961 saw a formal beginning of one of the best programs in Louisiana higher education. The State Board of Education had taken note of complaints that all-expense scholarships were freely available for athletes but that there was nothing comparable for students of outstanding academic ability. In 1959 a few experimental "honorary scholarship" awards had been made to outstanding high school graduates, and these had brought Alice Ann Phillips, Mary Ann O’Bier, Mila Blount, Patricia Ann Kelly, Jane Hebert, Samuel Andrews, and Roland Loup to McNeese. The first "regular" winners of these scholarships, in May 1961, were John Hoskins, Rebecca King, Paula Farris, Ann Coleman, Judy Mouhot, and Joan Vallee. These scholarships were to bring many fine students to McNeese over the years to come, but it should be noted that they never numbered more than a fraction of the total of athletic scholarships. (61)

The debate team was rapidly improving. In December it placed second in a tournament held at USL, and the fact that two freshmen coeds, Marianne Prejean and Patricia Materne, won five of six debates was an omen of things to come. In April Robert Hayes and William Robinson debated the Harvard team, suffering from the affirmative on the proposition "That a system of compulsory health insurance should be adopted for all citizens." The judges declared Harvard the winner, giving that school a 2 to1 record in its debates with McNeese. (62)

In October 1960, state school board member Dr. Boyd Woodard spoke to the 84 students who made the president’s honor roll in the spring semester, 1960. In December it was announced that 23 students had qualified for listing in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. For whatever it may signify, 8 of them were education majors; 4 English majors; 2 each from health and physical education and business administration; and 1 each from secretarial science, music, home economics, accounting, drama, and social studies. Superintendent of Schools H. A. Norton was the speaker to 88 students who made the president’s honor roll in the fall semester. Willie Stephens Baty, Elsie Marie Beard, Barbara G. Bearden, Veronica Ann Finn, Robert Eugene Hamburg, LaWanna M. Mills, Mary Ann O’Bier, Robert Edward Coffman, Jr., Mrs. Jane W. Cummins, Perry Brooks Dennis, III, James Michael Greene, Charles Raleigh Newman, and Mrs. Virgie L. Regan had maintained a 4.0 average that semester. (63)

Betty Wills was Freshman Queen in September 1960, and Lana Bozeman, Glenda Ford, Carol Wills, and Linda LeBleu were her court. At Homecoming, Anne Pellerin was queen, and Sandra Sudduth, Glenda Ford, Janice McManus, Frances Domingues, Kathleen Gordy, and Suzanne Fuller were maids. Suzanne Fuller was LaBelle, and her maids were Anne Pellerin, Kathleen Gordy, Angela J. Terranova, Betty Wills, H. Bonnie Case, Maureen Talbot, Glenda Ford and Lynda Lee Scarber. (64)

Attorney Fred Godwin was president of the alumni in 1960-1961, with William T. Clarke, Miss Alyse Preston, and Coy Scott as vice presidents. Some controversy arose when the alumni sponsored a closed-circuit showing of the Johansson-Patterson heavyweight championship boxing match and were sued by the state for a portion of the take in taxes. The first issue of The Arena, the magazine in which works of students and alumni of McNeese are published, came off the press in 1961, and it carried a contribution from Marine Corps First Lieutenant Andre Dubus. Alumnus Milton R. Lege of Crowley was awarded a fellowship to pursue graduate work in psychology at LSU, and four alumni, Willard R. Williams, Larry R. DeRouen, Reva Chesson, and Constance M. Reynolds were added to the teaching staff during the year. Worth Moffett, a 1958 graduate, became an administrative assistant on the staff of the Lake Charles Association of Commerce. A sadder note was struck when a memorial fund was established to honor former student and Air Force Captain Daniel Harvey, lost on a reconnaissance mission over the North Sea. (65)

The summer of 1961 saw no fewer than fourteen faculty members in graduate school working on advanced degrees. William Casey, Robert James, Huey McFatter, Eugene Richard, and George Cole were at LSU; Ruby Dougherty and Laura Patterson attended the University of Texas; Barbara Belew and Wylma Reynolds went to the University of Alabama; Edward Steiner and Roy Dobyns to George Peabody; William Sullivan to Columbia; Clifford Byrne to Vanderbilt; Ada Sabatier to the University of Rochester; and Benjamin Harlow to Tulane. Colleen Frazer went to the University of Mississippi, Ella Roberts to the University of Virginia, and Harold Green to the University of Alabama. This scattering to the winds is evidence of the fact that many McNeese faculty did not hold terminal degrees, but it is also evidence of a faculty that was rapidly improving itself. It should be also noted that librarian Samuel Marino attended a joint conference of the American Library Association and the Canadian Library Association in Montreal in June, and that Jason Xenakis taught philosophy at LSU during the summer. (66)

During the regular year Miller Clarkson went on sabbatical to work on a doctorate in physics at Northwestern University in Illinois. Patrick Ford, as noted earlier, had won a Danforth Grant and went to George Peabody College to work on a doctoral degree in mathematics. Both would earn the advanced degrees. Clarkson returned to McNeese for only one year; Pat Ford became head of the Mathematics Department and completed his academic career at McNeese. Also, at the end of the 1960-1961 year, J.C. Barman retired after 37 years in Louisiana education. (67)

New faculty included Colonel J. F. Williams, a West Point graduate retired from the Army, as assistant professor of engineering; Ronald D. Crain, who held a Ph.D. from Purdue, as assistant professor of chemistry; and Martin Hall, who had earned the doctorate from LSU, as assistant professor of history. Dr. M. P. Weiss became assistant professor of Languages, teaching both German and French, and Carlyle Cross became an instructor in English. James W. Batchelor, who would remain at McNeese more than a quarter of a century, became an instructor in geology; Ray M. Thibodaux came as a replacement for Patrick Ford in mathematics; and Maxine D. Steckelberg and Ralph E. Denty joined the special education faculty. Mrs. John F. Reedy came to the Library late in the year; she would become head librarian and remain at McNeese until her retirement. Finally, Lieutenant Colonel J. L. Bryan became professor of military science and tactics, replacing Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Yarbrough. (68)

Jack D. L. Holmes was without question the most productive faculty member in a scholarly sense in 1960-1961. In October he discussed Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Civil War raid on Memphis with the Houston Civil War Round Table, and in November he read a paper at Tulsa before the Annual Meeting of the Southern Historical Association. In April 1961, he received a grant from the American Philosophical Society to study the New Orleans Cabildo of the Spanish colonial period, and in May he received a Fulbright grant for a year’s study in Spain. His work in Spain eventually led to his being knighted by the Spanish government, making him Sir Jack D. L. Holmes. (69)

Kenneth Sweeny was elected to the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Holstein-Friesian Association, and Onis D. Hyatt became president of the Louisiana Camellia Society. Dr. Charles Faulk of the Education Department, collaborating with Thomas R. Landry of LSU, published an article in The Arithmetic Teacher. Dr. Horace Taylor of the Language Department won the Lake Charles city chess championship for the second time. Athletic trainer Dowell Fontenot became a registered physical therapist during the year, and he also published an article in the Athletic Training News. (70)

Margery Wilson’s Bayou Players presented Thornton Wilder’s play The Matchmaker in the fall. The cast included Monique Fleury, Larry Bruce Morgan, Mary Crawford, Linda Walker, Roderick Guillory, George Zientowski, Jr., Richard Mercer, Don Land, Annette Pousson, Walter Farque, Dan Roberts, Hardy Parkerson, Richard Wallis, Layne Stone, Judy Whatnall, Donna Gauthier, and Anita Joe Savino. Mrs. Wilson, hospitalized, did not see the production, but she was no doubt comforted when critic Bill Mertina called the play "warm and amusing." The Bayou Players turned to Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard for their spring production, presenting it in three-quarters round with original music by George Marshall. Once more Monique Fleury had a lead role; other members of the cast were Larry Morgan, Carolyn J. Tomlinson, Marsha Crain, Annette Pousson, Don Land, Malcolm Fry, Walter Farque, Jo Ann McCollister, Arthur Bonvillian, Ray Beasley, Raymond Valdetero, and Danny Roberts. (71)

The Messiah had lost none of its appeal with the passing years. Soloists in 1960 were tenor Albert DaCosta, mezzo-soprano Frances Bible, soprano Betty Ann Busch, and bass-baritone Norman Treigle. A crowd of 2,000 filled the Auditorium. Once more McNeese provided a free nursery service for pre-school children, allowing none in the Auditorium. The McNeese-Lions Club musical was Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. Patricia Guidry sang the lead role, supported by Don Land, Don Behm, Finers B. Cryer, Billy Gueringer, Malcolm Fry, Francis LaRocque, Rex Brashear, Dennis LeDoux Basile, Joyce Behm, Carole Dartez, Jo Ann Chaput, Pamela Bounds, Martha Howell, Mrs. Nelda Boese, Patricia Guillory, and Lamar LeBoeuf. Many of the cast alternated performances. Patricia Guidry was especially praised. (72)

The McNeese-City Opera workshop grew ambitious in the spring and set out to produce Bizet’s Carmen. Actually, it would be just as accurate to refer to this as a project of the Messiah chorus. Francis Bulber directed the production, Maurice Pullig served as narrator, and Lamar LeBoeuf sang lead the first night, Mrs. Donald Gene Doland the second. Two pianos and an organ provided the music, and the chorus was not costumed. The opera was presented in Lake Charles High School’s air-conditioned auditorium, and after the performance Mrs. Constance White was in charge of a reception at which Mrs. Cusic and Mrs. Gordon Gano presided over the punch and coffee. Truman Stacy, after high praise for Lamar LeBoeuf and Robert L. Snead, optimistically concluded that Lake Charles music lovers were developing a taste for opera workshops. (73)

These did not exhaust the cultural opportunities open to McNeese students and the public. The New Orleans Symphony appeared again in the fall, and in spring the National Symphony, directed by Howard Mitchell and featuring Jaime Laredo as violin soloist, gave a performance. Rear Admiral Frederick B. Warder, who had commanded the submarine Seawolf in the Second World War, gave grim warnings about the dangers of communism in December, and in March Dr. Peter B. Carmichael, head of the Department of Philosophy at LSU, spoke on anti-intellectualism in America. A number of McNeese students and alumni appeared in the Lake Charles Little Theater’s production of The Boy Friend, and the band gave its annual spring concert in April. Then in May five drama students, Carolyn Tomlinson, Bill Dickerson, Annette Pousson, Paul Ellender, and Richard Mercer, directed and presented one-act plays. (74)

The athletic record in 1960-1961 was good. The football team lost only 3 of 10 games, though two of these were to Gulf States Conference opponents. In basketball the record was 16 won to 7 lost, and Ralph Ward won another GSC championship. The golf team managed to hold second place in the GSC for the second year, and the tennis team won the conference championship for the fourth year in a row. Apparently the baseball and track seasons were not distinguished, but one member of the rodeo team, Wayne Foster, did get into the national finals. Incidentally, E. M. Holt replaced Kenneth Sweeny as rodeo coach. (75)

On April 11, 1961, the city of Lake Charles observed Ralph Ward Day in honor of McNeese’s basketball coach, who had brought the college four Gulf States Conference championships and one national title in nine years. The main feature of the day was a contest between the varsity and an alumni basketball team made up of Bill Reigel, Roy Moore, Charlie Decker, Frank Glenn, Stan Kernan, Dick Miller, Dudley Carver, Jesse Perry, Ruble Scarborough, Hugh Cole, Jerry Doland, Dick McNabb, Jerry Simmons, Bill Breen, and Stan Chelchowski, coached by Ted Chapman. How hard-fought a game it was cannot now be determined, but the alumni won. (76)

There were 271 candidates for degrees in the spring of 1961. The practice of separate baccalaureate and commencement speakers was abandoned, and the only speaker was the Reverend Sam Nader, District Superintendent of the Methodist Church. Education majors were the most numerous, with 47 graduates in elementary education, 46 in secondary education, 22 in health and physical education, and 13 in music education. Other popular majors were business administration, with 31 graduates; sciences (all disciplines) with 19; agriculture with 25; social studies (sociology, history, and pre-law) with 16; engineering with 13; and mathematics with ten. No other curriculum attracted more than five students. Mrs. Virgie Ryan, Rita Ann Calderera, Mrs. Betty Hobbs Delaney, Robert Eugene Hamburg, Mrs. Doris Reed, Mrs. Althea Davis Pitre, Barbara L. Romero, Mrs. Lois Marie Fulwood, and Sandra Zita Sudduth graduated cum laude. (77)

McNeese State College had continued to grow and it had managed to improve both in facilities for education and in the size and quality of its faculty. This was no mean accomplishment because financial support from Baton Rouge was stingy at best and in 1960-1961 woefully inadequate. The college was more than adequately fulfilling its role as a cultural leader for Southwest Louisiana. A beginning was made in graduate work, a role for which McNeese was probably not ready, but the responsibility would be met quickly and competently in the next few years.


Struggling On

Summer school enrollment in 1961 was another record, with 1,584 students. In the fall there was an increase of 249 over the previous fall, to 2,946. One thousand and seventy of these were freshmen, 493 sophomores, 384 juniors, and 401 seniors. But there was something new this time; 98 graduate students were registered. The remainder included 455 night students and 2 non-credit students. In the women’s dormitories were 217 people, and reservations were being taken for the 1962-1963 year. There were 236 in the men’s dorm, which had been designed for 214, and 64 more men were in a "temporary" frame building. Spring semester enrollment was less than fall but greater than the previous spring. Of the 2,704 registrants, freshmen numbered 790, sophomores 456, juniors 376, and seniors 419. There were 520 night students and 87 graduates. Obviously the attrition among freshmen was great, and inevitable consequence of open admissions. (1)

The most important development of 1961-1962 insofar as physical facilities were concerned was the completion of the new Library, which was named Lether Frazar Memorial Library in honor of the deceased former president. The building was dedicated on November 14, Homecoming Day 1961. It was about time; the money had been appropriated in 1959. More important, the Library now had about 35,000 books plus files of 625 periodicals and 21 newspapers. The space formerly used in Kaufman Hall was entirely inadequate for any serious research work, even for undergraduates. Mrs. Frazer participated in the dedication, and State Board member Boyd Woodard made the dedication speech. (2)

In 1960 the legislature had provided money for an addition to the Administration Building, and bids for this work were called for in the summer of 1961. Bartley and Company submitted the low bid, $527,217; the contract was awarded to that firm in September, and work began in October. It would not be finished until early 1963, but this added the central offices, the offices at the back of Kaufman Hall on the first floor, and the classrooms at the back on the second and third floors. The legislature had authorized $1,300,000 in capital outlay for adding 36,000 square feet, including a 244-seat recital hall, to the Fine Arts Building and for the construction of another men’s dormitory. The Bond and Building Commission released only $700,000 however, and work was limited to the Fine Arts addition. Bartley and Company was again low bidder and began work on the project in late winter of 1962. (3)

There were a few minor administrative changes for the previous year. Roy Price was once more director of housing, and Robert James was listed in the Catalogue as head of a new "Evening Division," which meant that he was in charge of night classes. Carroll Wilson had replaced Barman as head of the Department of Animal Science, and Thomas P. Zolki was acting head of the Department of Physical Sciences. Robert Landers of the Department of Education, also chairman of the Graduate Council, took a six-week sabbatical leave during the summer to tour graduate schools in Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. (4)

A look at the Catalogue for 1961-1962 is instructive. Fees were now $30 for the fall semester, $25 in the spring. A semester’s room and board for dormitory students was $268. There were 53 four-year curricula, 6 three-year engineering curricula, 4 two-year curricula, one of them now geology, and a one-year secretarial science curriculum. For the first time master’s degrees - master of arts, master of science, master of education, and master of music education - were listed, but all were in education. These curricula were supported by a listing of 687 courses. By this time, the list of scholarships included band scholarships, high school scholarships, legislative fee exemptions, legislative warrants, T. H. Harris scholarships, and Rally Association scholarships. Also there were scholarships limited to students in certain majors: five for agriculture, four for accounting and business administration, eight for education, five for music, seven for nursing, plus eighteen that did not fit into any of these categories. (5)

There was also a cloud on the horizon, though at the time no one realized that it was a bad omen. Chennault Air Force Base had closed; leaving an installation that was well adapted to basing strategic bombers but of little use for anything not connected with aeronautics. In July, a letter to the editor of the Lake Charles American Press suggested that the base should be turned over to McNeese. Two weeks later an editorial in the same newspaper demanded that McNeese get the base. The next spring the Association of Commerce set up a committee to "promote" McNeese. One of the things this committee did was advocate giving Chennault to the college. Perhaps there was some good use to which the base might have been put, but making it a second campus for the college, was not that use. McNeese would soon get a large part of Chennault, which turned out to be a hungry white elephant, devouring resources that could have been much better applied elsewhere. (6)

Students who lived on campus in the summer may very well remember that Alpha and Beta Halls were emptied for two hours the last day of June because a woman called State Police Headquarters and announced that a bomb would explode in one of them shortly. Every student should remember that during an intensely cold spell in January classes were called of for two days because gas pressure was too low for heating. In fact, final examinations had to be delayed. Few will remember, however, that State Superintendent of Education William Dodd spoke to the annual Student Senate banquet. (7)

C. H. Seiber was elected president of the student body, and William Robinson and Mary Ann Maxey were chosen as vice presidents. Angela Terranova was secretary, and Marjorie Rasmussen served as treasurer. Three other students, who showed courage, if not leadership, were Everett B. Waddle, Kelly B. McWright, and Dan R. Sistrunk. As part of an experiment directed by Professor Robert H. Pittman, they spent 68 hours buried in a radiation shelter that had been constructed near the president’s home. (8)

Eight of the junior ROTC cadets who went to Fort Hood for summer camp were cited as distinguished military students. They were Charles C. Browne, Daniel W. Cupit, Reginald P. Fontenot, Eugene J. Leveque, James G. Manning Jr., James R. Welch, John S. Boudreaux, Irving V. Hayes and Hunter C. Hess. Dean Edward Bane Roberts of the LSU School of Education was the speaker at the fall honors convocation. One hundred and four students had earned a place on the president’s honor roll, 18 of them with a perfect A average. Dr. Stith T. Thompson, professor emeritus at Indiana University was the speaker to 89 students honored at the spring convocation. Among the 18 with a perfect average was Mrs. Barbara Doland Coatney, who was to become chairman of the Home Economics Department at McNeese. (9)

Monique Fleury, now Dr. Nagem of the Languages faculty, won the France-American scholarship. She was also one of the 32 students picked for Who’s Who, as was Ted Brevelle, later McNeese athletic director. Dennis L. Scott received a $3,000 graduate fellowship for foreign service studies at Georgetown University from Louisiana District Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. Mrs. Peggy Ann Meadows, who graduated cum laude in January, received a fellowship at LSU for work on her master’s degree in chemistry, and William Alan Robinson received a scholarship to Tulane Law School. Robinson had an outstanding record at McNeese; he served on the Student Senate, made Who’s Who, debated three years, belonged to Blue Key, and was an active fraternity member. He was also active in ROTC and decided to complete his obligatory two-year military service before attending law school. (10)

In the spring of 1962, F. H. Broussard was admitted to the University of Tennessee School of Dentistry at Memphis, and Robert M. Tafel was accepted at the Tulane School of Medicine. Six seniors were admitted to the LSU School of Medicine: Larry Wendell Davis, Jay Noel Serve Meadows, Robert Dale Hayes, Harmon Madison Knight, Beverly Ann Bertrand, and Marsha Lynn Cain. Six high school seniors, Melody Allison and Edward F. Goshorn from Lake Charles High School, Linda Bailey and David L. Nerien from LaGrange, Holly M. Davis from Sulphur, and Sammie Kerry Cooper from DeQuincy, got the new State Board academic scholarships to attend McNeese. (11)

In 1962 the College Writer’s Society of Louisiana, from which McNeese students had won many honors in the past, met on the McNeese campus. This meeting was distinguished from others by the fact that the chief speaker was the famous poet and critic Cleanth Brooks. McNeese did not sweep the contest this time, but William Pelletier did win second place in the feature article category. The debate team in 1961-1962 was made up of Ann Coleman, Patricia Materne, Royland Miller, Carolyn Baker, Sherry Devereaux, and William Roberson, and it was one of the best McNeese ever had. In the Millsaps tournament in January, Coleman and Materne won nine straight debates without a loss, and McNeese won the tournament. Then in February the debaters took first place in the Florida State tournament. The Louisiana Speech Tournament at Northwestern was no different; McNeese was the first out of twenty colleges and universities, the University of Alabama second. In late March the time had come to meet Harvard again, and the team of Materne and Coleman won, holding forth in the auditorium of the science building, now Frasch Hall. (12)

Barbara Saucier was chosen Freshman Queen at the beginning of the fall semester, with Mary Louise Pack, Harleen Broussard, Jeanette McDonald, and Sandra Benton as her maids. Suzanne Fuller headed the Homecoming court, with maids Shirley Gilbeaux, Mary Ashburn, Glenda Ford, Mary Ann Maxey, Kathy Gordy, and Angela Terranova. In March Mary Ashburn was LaBelle, and her court consisted of Mildred (Terry) Barnett, Gary Lynn Curnutt, Diane Primeaux, Angela Terranova, Glenda Ford, Suzanne Fuller, Mary Louise Pack, and Betty Wills. (13)

William T. Clarke of the class of 1953 was president of the alumni for 1961-1962. Alyse Preston, Kalil Ieyoub, and Kathy Coleman were vice presidents. Alumnus Don Land, who had been active in the Bayou Players as an undergraduate, had a role in the Dallas Theater’s production of Naked to Mine Enemies, and closer to home, alumnus Al Nesmith replaced Tony Byles as the basketball coach at LaGrange High School. Former student body president Allen Commander announced that he would run against United States Representative T. A. Thompson in the Seventh Congressional District, but Commander was not successful as a Louisiana politician. (14)

In 1961 Loris Galford returned to the English classroom after a year’s leave. George H. Weydling, Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg became associate professor of German, and Dr. James H. Morriss, a psychologist, joined the Department of Education. Albert L. Stoutamire, who held a D. Ed. degree, came to Fine Arts, and last, but certainly not least, Thomas Leary, who would succeed Cusic as president of McNeese, came to the college as associate professor of engineering. (15) The 1961-1962 year was notable for the number faculty members who earned terminal degrees. Before the beginning of the fall semester, Robert H. Pittman received the doctor of education degree from the University of Mississippi. Horace Taylor of the Language Department and Carroll Wilson of Animal Science earned Ph.D.’s from LSU in mid-year, and William P. Sullivan received the same degree from Columbia University. McNeese needed these advanced degrees; at the beginning of the year, only 28 of 168 faculty members held doctorates, slightly less than 17 percent. In one year, as a result of this upgrading of existing faculty and the employment of people with the doctorate, the percentage would reach 25. That was a highly significant improvement, though it left plenty of room for more. (16)

John Norris of the Language Department was on sabbatical at the University of Texas for the summer. Recently promoted to full colonel in the Army reserve, he was editing a technical treatise on atomic energy. Martin Hall’s Sibley’s New Mexico Campaign was the first publication by a McNeese faculty member to occupy a special faculty display case in the Library. Librarian Samuel Marino had collaborated with Frank Monaghan to produce a bibliography, French Travelers in the United States, which was published by the Antiquarian Press. Ronald Crain was responsible for a grant of $17,000 from the National Science Foundation for studying "Scent Gland Secretions of the Hemiptera." Finally, D. M. Alford, an instructor in biology, read a paper on the diseases of ornamental plants to the American Psychopathological Society at a meeting in Biloxi. (17)

The year was not without tragedy. In January, Richard Joseph Sullivan, assistant professor of engineering, died of a heart attack, leaving six small children. Then in April Dean Ralph Squires, who was only 56, died a victim of Hodgkin's Disease. Squires had been a major figure at McNeese, and his loss was keenly felt. When the addition to the Fine Arts building was completed, the new small auditorium would bear his name. (18)

Francis Bulber’s Messiah was just as popular in 1961 as it had ever been, and was far more professionally produced than had been the case twenty years earlier. Soloists this year were soprano Sara Enlich, contralto Florence Kopleff, bass-baritone Kenneth Smith, and dramatic tenor Charles O’Neil. The presentation was on December 3, and once more a nursery was provided for small children. Eight members of the chorus and orchestra - Roger Chassay, Jerome Scalisi, Mrs. Charles P. Morrison, Arthur Reed, Donald Gene Doland, Lamar Robertson, Mrs. Bessie Gibson, and Mrs. Dale Reichley - received awards for ten year’s participation. An overflow audience heard the performance, and taped excerpts were broadcast over the Mutual Radio Network on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (19)

In the fall the Bayou Players presented a second Jean Giraudoux drama, The Madwoman of Chaillot, with a cast of 35 persons, in the round. The spring play was Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Glenda McGee and Kathryn White alternated as Juliet, John Sullivan played Romeo, Annette Pousson and Rosalie Robinson alternated as the nurse, and David Franks portrayed Mercutio. Both plays were well received, but one gets the impression that Romeo and Juliet had greater appeal for the audience. (20)

The opera workshop production for 1962 was Tosca, scheduled for April 26 and 27 in the air-conditioned Lake Charles High School auditorium under Francis Bulber’s direction. A former faculty member, Robert L. Snead, was brought in to sing a lead role, but participants Shirley Patin Hebert, Dr. H. H. Robinson, Frederick Tooley, George Marshall, Jerry T. Crews, James W. Batchelor, Finers B. Cryer II, and Francis J. LaRocque were also McNeese faculty, students or alumni. Maurice Pullig was the narrator. Tosca was postponed because of Dean Squire’s death, but it was presented in early May. (21)

The spring operetta was Carousel, and after a quarter century, the records still leave an impression of great fun had by all who had anything to do with it. Carole Dartez and Francis LaRocque had the lead roles, but Joyce Behm, Lee J. Monlezun, Jr., Orville Behm, Jr., Pamela Bounds, Rosalie Robinson, Joseph Black Jr., Ellis LeBoeuf, Robert Spear, Mrs. Layne Stone, Samuel Douglas, Jerry Delaney, Ruby Womack, Charles Ray Squyres, and Ronald Tilton all had singing roles. According to a newspaper critic, a near-capacity audience saw one of the best McNeese productions in some time. (22)

The Lake Charles Civic Symphony, which gave its concerts in the Auditorium, was almost an extension of McNeese in these years. In November George Marshall conducted the Symphony and pleased critic Truman Stacy of the Lake Charles American Press. Marshall also directed the chorus for the opening production of the Shreveport Civic Opera Association; then in April he was made permanent director of the Lake Charles Symphony and directed its last performance of the year. In the meantime, in February, Frances Bulber had directed the orchestra, and according to a review in the local paper, "the Civic Symphony players reached a height of musicianship that numbers of persons in the audience did not realize they possessed." (23)

Two art exhibits were available during the year. Russell Guirl of SLU had a show of 25 drawings in the Library in October, and J. Werlyn Martin of the McNeese faculty exhibited 20 paintings at Sarver Art Gallery on Hodges Street in early April. In February James T. Matthews led the University of Houston band in a performance in the Auditorium, and in July the McNeese band began its normal series of outdoor summer concerts. (24)

As part of the integration controversy of the late 1950’s and 1960’s, Louisiana colleges had been forbidden to recruit outside the state. This was a handicap to some schools, including McNeese; because of its location. McNeese could often attract good high school football players from East Texas. In September, the State Board was persuaded to allow colleges to recruit up to 15 percent of their athletes out of state. The team would go far out of state in 1961, to Mexico to play the National Polytechnical School in Mexico City. Thirty-two years earlier, Athletic Director Ratcliff had gone to Mexico as captain of a Louisiana College team. The game was no contest, but presumably those who made the trip enjoyed themselves. (25)

The 1961 football season was a great success; the team won 7 games, lost only 2, and tied for the Gulf States Conference championship. Four players - Tom Sestak, Johnny Steed, Don Breaux, and Don Bossier - were named to the All-GSC team. Don Breaux signed a contract with the Houston Oilers, Julius Fincke, with the San Francisco Forty-Niners, and Sestak with the Buffalo Bills professional football team. One of the seniors on this team was Ted Brevelle. (26)

The basketball team for 1961-1962 won 17 games and lost 8, earning third place in the conference. Incidentally, James David Cain was a player on this team. This season was Ralph Ward’s tenth at McNeese, in which time he had won 178 games, lost 86, won four GSC championships, and one national championship. Fate was not kind to Ward this year, however, because in December baseball Coach Reed Stephens resigned for reasons officially unknown, and Coach Ward became temporary baseball coach. He was relieved in April when Ted Chapman took over that job. (27)

The number of graduates had become too great for all of them conveniently to go through commencement exercises at the same time, so beginning in 1961-1962, there were three ceremonies. At the end of summer school, G. W. Ford, superintendent of the Lake Charles School District, was speaker. There were four cum laude graduates at the August ceremony: Mrs. Barbara Isdale Bankens; her mother, Mrs. Katherine Wincey Isdale; Mrs. Adrienne Parra Hunt; and Mrs. Barbara Turner Chisholm. The first January commencement took place January 24, 1962, and Dr. Boyd Woodard was the speaker. Cum laude graduates were Mrs. Willie S. Baty, Mrs. Maude Gidlaw, Peggy Ann Meadows, Lena Wittler, and Marilyn Strait. (28)

General Troy Middleton, president of LSU, was scheduled as the graduation speaker in the spring, but he became ill, and Dr. Nathaniel Caffee, vice president and dean of academic affairs at LSU, replaced him. Cum laude graduates at this ceremony were Betty A. Roberts, Mrs. Marjorie Ayer, James A. Hunt, Alice A. Phillips, Monique Fleury, and Joseph P. Distefano. It was obvious that women made much better grades than men, and it appeared that married women exceeded single women in academic performance. (29)

An examination of class pictures in the Log shows that far more seniors majored in one form or another of education than in any other curricula; in fact, between one-third and one-half had education majors. Other popular curricula were business administration, agriculture, and nursing. This publication also shows that integration had not gone far in 1961-1962. Only 4 of the 228 seniors pictured were black, and only 8 of 268 juniors, only 17 of 460 sophomores, and only 64 of 946 freshmen. (30)


Summer school enrollment in 1962 totaled 1,268, of whom 141 were night students, 146 in graduate classes, and 52 in education workshops. This was a slightly smaller enrollment than in the summer of 1961, but any misgivings aroused by this were relieved when the fall enrollment was 3,131, some 165 above the previous fall. Day students totaled 2,537, 2,395 undergraduates, 132 graduates. The fall enrollment included 1,030 freshmen (40 less than in the previous year), 504 sophomores, 406 juniors, and 417 seniors. It was in night students and graduate students that the increase had come about. Total enrollment in the spring was 2,607, and this was 97 fewer than the previous spring. (31)

The budget process for a Louisiana fiscal year begins about the middle of the preceding year. President Cusic asked for a 12 percent increase for McNeese ($249,642) when the state colleges as a whole were requesting an increase of twice as much. The other colleges presumably had asked for more, hoping that something would be left after cuts. Cusic turned in a realistic estimate of needs, so any cut would really hurt. He was criticized for this error in bureaucratic tactics. The criticism must have had some effect, because the college budget request came out of the State Board of Education at $250,000 higher. When the legislature met, McNeese asked the Budget Committee for $524,868 more than had been received the previous year. The governor usually controls the appropriation process in Louisiana, and this time Governor Davis demanded heavy cuts. McNeese State College came out of the legislature with $23,000 less in operating funds than had been available in 1961-1962. (32)

There was some comfort in the fact that work on the additions to the Fine Arts Building and to the Administration Building (Kaufman Hall) was progressing. These improvements would relieve overcrowding, which had been a problem almost throughout the history of the college.  In July, 48 new housing units for student families were ready for occupancy, and no vacancies were expected. The old "temporary" housing along Common Street was to be razed. Only families in which the husband was a full-time student were accepted as tenants in the new apartments. There was more talk of making use of Chennault Field, and no one put a stop to it. (33)

At its December 1962 meeting, the State Board of Education authorized master’s degrees in biology, chemistry, mathematics, English, and history in addition to the education degrees that had been previously established. It should be noted here that students seeking degrees in secondary education specialized in some academic subject, though they did not necessarily receive their degrees in that subject. The Graduate Council now consisted of George Marshall from Music, William Knipmeyer from Social Studies, Patrick Ford from Mathematics, William D. Lademan, a philosopher, and William M. Smith from Education. (34)

By the end of the 1961-1962 academic year, the growth of student body and faculty had made impossible the system of academic administration in which President Cusic dealt directly with department heads. With the approval of the State Board, Cusic created five divisions, each under a dean. Stephen Spencer was dean of the Division of Sciences, which included Agriculture, Home Economics, Engineering, Nursing, and Mathematics as well as the sciences proper. Raleigh A. Suarez was dean of the Division of Humanities, including Social Sciences, Languages, Accounting, Business Administration and Secretarial Science. It was understood that the Commerce departments would be made into a separate division as soon as possible. Francis Bulber, at his own request, ceased to be dean of the college and became dean of the Division of Fine Arts, with the departments of Music, Art, and Speech. Robert Bruce Landers became dean of the Division of Education, which included Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Special Education, and Health and Physical Education. C. A. Girard headed the Division of Graduate Studies. (35)

This made the appointment of new department heads necessary. In the sciences, Miller Clarkson was chairman of Physical Science and Engineering, though Thomas Leary would soon head a separate Department of Engineering. Clara Louise Jones headed Biological Science, Carroll Wilson Animal Science, and O. D. Hyatt Plant Science. Mrs. Constance White remained head of the Department of Nursing. In the Division of Humanities, John M. Norris headed the Department of Languages, and C. W. Fogleman was chairman of the Department of Social Studies. Robert H. James was to direct Evening School; Roderick Rouse headed Accounting; and Albert D. Sterkx headed Business Administration. (36)

In the Division of Education, Robert H. Pittman became head of Elementary Education and James D. Hobbs head of Secondary Education. Hans Leis was not quite a department head; rather, he was director of Health and Physical Education. Francis Bulber, for all practical purposes, was himself head of the Department of Music, though George Marshall was assistant to the dean. Margery Wilson was named coordinator of Speech, and Nowell Daste was named coordinator of Art. (37)

The administrative side of the college outside of academics remained much the same, though James H. Morriss was added as director of testing. Mrs. Margaret Cosse Richard, who had come to McNeese in 1951 and had become full professor and publications director, resigned so that she could accompany her husband, who was transferred away from Lake Charles. I. J. Wynn, already assistant in charge of publicity, succeeded her as director of publications. Ellis Guillory was promoted to dean of student life, giving him a wider clientele. (38)

The dramatic arts curriculum underwent a name change to theater arts, and a curriculum in botany was added to the Catalogue. The curricula in agricultural, chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering had been three-year curricula; in other words, a student would have to go to some other college for the final year. Now all these became four-year curricula, and a new one, petrochemical engineering, was added. This was a big bite, and not all of it could be chewed; electrical and petroleum engineering were cut back to two years. To support these curricula and the new graduate program, 56 new undergraduate courses and 65 graduate courses were added to the Catalogue. (39) Among other developments of the year, McNeese began the practice of early admission for summer of high school juniors whose grades and whose principals indicated that they could handle college-level classes. Credit for courses passed would be given if these students enrolled at McNeese after graduating from high school. In Alexandria, Timothy M. McNeese, son of John McNeese, died at age 75. Finally, 1964 would be the tenth anniversary of the college’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, which meant that accreditation must be renewed. A self-study steering committee was set up with Stephen Spencer, chairman, and Clifford Byrne, Nowell Daste, Bob Hankins, Robert Bruce Landers, and Raleigh A. Suarez. (40)

The 1962 session of the Louisiana legislature adopted a resolution expressing its belief that all college and high school students in Louisiana should be taught the dangers of communism and the advantages of "Americanism." It is difficult to say what the legislature intended; Louisiana State University concluded that it could comply with the resolution by requiring that all students take courses in American history. However, the State Board of Education ordered the state colleges to set up a one-hour course in "Americanism" versus communism and ruled that no student could graduate without having taken and passed this course.

Without question, Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Shelby Jackson equated communism and integration. Seminars on "Americanism" were held over the state, one at McNeese. At one of these seminars, not at McNeese, a student quoted Voltaire’s famous words defending another’s right to say something with which he disagreed, and the State Education Department official conducting the seminar asked if Voltaire had not been a radical. Insofar as it was possible within a one-credit-hour context, the colleges attempted to give students some knowledge of the theory and practice of communism on the one hand and representative democracy on the other. When Superintendent Jackson attempted to go a step farther, as will be noted later, a controversy of sorts was stirred up at McNeese. (41)

Student body president for the academic year was Donald C. Cornett; Frank Brocato was first vice president, Mary Frances Chase second vice president, William Corcoran treasurer, and Sylvia Wright secretary. Cornett was also cadet commander of ROTC. Sixty-eight students had earned a place on the president’s honor roll in the spring semester and were honored in October. Among them Linda E. Gray, Mrs. Betty A. Roberts, Kathryn Claire Oakley, Mrs. Leonide L. Tanner, Mrs. Alice Phillips Miller, Mrs. Marian Wadsworth, Mrs. Barbara L. Cooley, Wanda Estes, Leitha B. Fisher, and James A. Hunt had perfect A averages for the semester. No convocation or speaker was scheduled; presumably the honor was now enough. (42)

In the summer the Lions Club established a $300 a year scholarship in memory of Ralph Squires, and Ruby Womack, a sophomore music major from Dotson, was the first recipient. Students who made a straight A average in the fall semester, honored in the spring, were Melody S. Allison, Mary Boyette, Rose Ann Camalo, Patricia Gardner, Linda E. Gray, Mrs. Yolande L. Rossito, Leonide L. Tanner, Mrs. Marian Wadsworth, Wanda Estes, and Mrs. Betty P. Johnson.

Mrs. Althea Davis Pitre was the first person at McNeese to earn a master’s degree outside the field of education, taking a master of arts in history at the May 1963 graduation. Five high school seniors became McNeese freshmen with State Board scholarships; they were Janet Ardoin of Iowa High School, John Hicks of Marion, Gay Kirchner of LaGrange, Nancy Thornton of Lake Charles High, and Kitty Wilson of LaGrange. Finally, the Student Senate recognized John Croom, Patricia Materne, Ann Coleman, and Tom Sestak as outstanding students. (43)

Two of the students recognized by the Student Senate were coeds who led one of the best debating teams that McNeese had ever had. Patricia Materne and Ann Coleman were the senior team, Paula Guillory and Dianne Gabriel the junior team, and all four were graduates of St. Charles Academy. In December the team was sweepstakes winner of the Louisiana Speech Association Festival at Lafayette, and then in January Materne and Coleman defeated the University of Alabama in the final round of the Millsaps tournament. Guillory and Gabriel reached the quarterfinals. In addition to debate proper, Materne took second place in oratory, and Coleman second place in extemporaneous speaking. Materne was ill at the time of the Mardi Gras Tournament at Tulane, but Coleman and Gabriel nonetheless managed to salvage a tie for third. It must be mentioned that in April Materne and Coleman, taking the negative on "Resolved: That the world should establish an economic community," defeated the Harvard debate team to give McNeese a 3-2 lead in those encounters. McNeese has held a lead ever since. (44)

Sandra Price was Freshman Queen in 1962, and Pat Shepherd, Bernice Louviere, Judith Allison, and Sandra Bradley were her maids. Rochelle Kristal reigned over Homecoming, Patricia Materne, Celina Demarie, Diane Primeaux, Glenda Ford, Abi Heasley, and Patricia Shepherd as the court. LaBelle was Abi Heasley, and the court she headed included Judith Allison, Terry Barnett, Celina Demarie, Rochelle Kristal, Bernice Louviere, Patricia Materne, Rita Odom, and Diane Primeaux. Nor was this quite all. Rita Odom was the ROTC’s Little Colonel, and Rebecca Ann Simpson was Miss Lake Charles. (45)

At Homecoming, William Clarke turned over the presidency of the McNeese State College Alumni Association to Lloyd Hennigan, Jr., a 1956 graduate. The three vice presidents were Albert Newlin, II, Kathy Coleman, and Sam Liprie. At the business meeting the alumni agreed to devote part of their dues to a fund that would be used, eventually, to erect an alumni building on campus. This would in time come about. Four alumni of the Music Department had important parts in the spring opera, Cavalleria Rusticana, presented in Lake Charles in April, and alumna Monique Fleury was now working in the French Embassy in Washington. Also, Captain Simon W. C. Moses, who had left McNeese in 1950 to enter the Air Force, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for daring low level reconnaissance flights over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. (46)

The trend toward faculty improvement was demonstrated by the fact that eight faculty members were on sabbatical during the summer of 1962. New positions and replacements added up to 16 new faculty members in the fall of 1962. Unfortunately, with qualified instructors in great demand, only four of these held doctoral degrees. They were Glynn Carver and William Lembeck in biology, Wilmon H. Droze in history, and William Lademan in philosophy. The remainder included John Carson in economics, Walter Mosely in English, Leo T. (Ted) Chapman in health and physical education, and Ferdinand J. Tate in engineering. (47)

In addition to those who took summer sabbatical, two other faculty members improved their formal academic credentials. Roy Price received a Master of Science degree in school administration from the University of Southern Mississippi, and Librarian Samuel Marino received the Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Other faculty members published scholarly works. Martin Hall and E. A. Davis collaborated in editing A Campaign from Santa Fe to the Mississippi, a Civil War regimental history. Jack D. L. Holmes was researching in Spain and would not return to McNeese, but he published "Research Opportunities in the Spanish Borderlands" in Louisiana Studies and another article in the McNeese Review. Benjamin Harlow and Martin Hall also had articles in the 1963 issue of the McNeese Review. Finally, Thomas Leary had an article in the January issue of Chemical Engineering Progress. (48)

Roderick L. Rouse was a delegate to the Louisiana Education Council, and Thomas Leary attended the Forty-Ninth Annual Convention of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in New York City. Donald Millet spoke to the Southwest Louisiana Historical Society on "Population Movements in Southwest Louisiana," and Samuel Terranova, a new member of the Music Department, became concertmaster for the Lake Charles Civic Symphony. During the year, George Marshall conducted the Symphony in four performances. Finally, the American Association of University Professors was revived; William Lademan was president of the new chapter, Nowell Daste vice president, and Laura Patterson secretary-treasurer. Apparently the officers made up about half of the membership. (49)

One of the more unfortunate incidents in McNeese history took place during the summer of 1962. As noted above, State Superintendent of Education Shelby Jackson apparently looked on communist subversion and racial integration of the public schools as synonymous. A book by Carleton Putnam, Race and Reason: A Yankee View (Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1961), somehow came to his attention. Jackson recommended this book as a text for the "Americanism Versus Communism" courses required by the State Board of Education. The State Board did not adopt it as a text, but it did make the book required reading for teachers. Teachers of "Americanism Versus Communism" were instructed to make the book required reading for their students. (50)

Race and Reason was a pseudo-scientific work that attempted to prove the natural inferiority of black people. Any bright high school student could have seen with a quick reading that it was really a racist tract. William P. Sullivan, assistant professor of English at McNeese, wrote a highly critical review (any honest review would have been highly critical) and submitted it for publication to the Louisiana Register, a Catholic publication in Lafayette. Eleven members of the University of Southern Louisiana faculty followed up on this review with a letter to the Register that agreed that Race and Reason was a terrible book. Practically all faculty members in the state agreed, though some lacked the courage to say so, and others believed the wisest course was to do nothing. If any student read Race and Reason, for example, it was of his own volition. Sullivan’s review was picked by the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta and reprinted, and this brought it to the attention of Shelby Jackson. Jackson sent a copy to each member of the State Board, but the board was wise enough to do nothing publicly. (51)

When summer school began at McNeese, Sullivan was not employed. It must be understood that nine-month faculty members had no contractual right to summer employment. Actually, according to one source, President Cusic was ordered to fire Sullivan, but wishing to keep a good teacher, settled for keeping him off the faculty for one summer. Sullivan found a summer job in industry, but when questioned by a reporter, he expressed his belief that he had been denied summer teaching because of his review of Race and Reason. President Cusic denied this, pointing out that cuts in the budget had made it necessary to reduce the number of summer school classes. Also, Sullivan had worked five consecutive summers, and Cusic said that this was another reason he had not been employed in the summer of 1962. (52)

All this was perfectly reasonable, but unfortunately, according to a local newspaper, President Cusic said more: "I’ve made it clear to my faculty, that if any of them speak out on something they shouldn’t, they can’t come to me with their problems." He then went on, "I won’t fight for them…I don’t have tenure like teachers. Jackson can fire me right now, and I can’t say a thing." President Cusic was correct in his last statement, though technically it was the state board rather than Jackson who could have fired him. On the other hand, he made it clear that on the matter of race, academic freedom did not then exist in Louisiana state colleges, and that he was not particularly concerned about it. (53)

The Bayou Players presented a melodrama, Fireman Save My Child, in the multi-purpose room of the Library during the summer of 1962. They presented Eugene Ionescu’s Rhinoceros, a contribution to the theater of the absurd, in October 1962, with Royland Miller, Jr., and Kathy White in lead roles. Critic Bill McMahon gave the play a good review, with special praise for Miller, while calling attention to some weaknesses. He also stated that the audience was disappointingly small. In January Edward Albee’s The American Dream was produced in the Library, with standing room only. The players presented Chekhov’s Three Sisters in May 1963. Experienced members of the cast were Arthur Bonvillian, Walter Farque, Jo Ann McCollister, and Annette Pousson. Rosalie Robinson, Frank Spano, Patsi Collins, Jerry Brown, Katherine Guintard, C. H. Seiber, Ray Squyres, and William Woods were newcomers to the McNeese stage. Once more the audience was small - only about 50 people. (54)

The Messiah was presented again, as it had been for 22 years. Soloists were soprano Margaret Kalil; contralto Marcella Robnett, who had also appeared in 1953 and 1957; tenor James Bailey; and baritone Bruce Foote. Kalil was a member of the faculty at North Texas State, Bailey and Foote of the University of Illinois. Once more the Auditorium was full to overflowing. (55)

The McNeese-Lions Club musical for 1963 was the celebrated South Pacific. Mary Smothers played Nellie Forbush, Francis LaRocque played Emile de Beque, Ellis LeBoeuf was Luther Billis, Patricia York played Bloody Mary, Lady Leah LaFargue Liat, and Roland Loup Lieutenant Cable. By all accounts this was one of the best McNeese productions of all time, though it is impossible to say how much of the audience’s enjoyment was due to the quality of the music, how much to the ability of the performers. (56)

The main athletic staff of 1962-1963 consisted of Albert Ratcliff, athletic director; Les DeVall, head football coach; and Ralph Ward, head basketball coach. Lesser lights were Lee Hayley, end coach; Jim Clark, line coach; Charles Kuehn, chief scout; and Dowell Fontenot, athletic trainer. Ward in 1963 was also golf coach, and Ted Chapman was assistant basketball coach and baseball coach. Kuehn doubled as head track coach, and Milton White coached the tennis team. Jim Wynn was in charge of sports publicity. (57)

The football team had a fair record in 1962, winning 6 games, losing 3 and tying 1. This earned a bid to the Golden Isles Bowl at Brunswick, Georgia, where McNeese was to play Howard College of Birmingham, Alabama. The bowl game had to be postponed because of weather, but it was played on December 1, 1962, and McNeese won 21-14, thanks to an 85-yard punt return by Tommy Thompson. One player, linebacker Walter Burden, was drafted by the Oakland Raiders. The 1962-1963 basketball team won 16 games and lost 9 but it won the right games and became GSC champion once again. (58)

Much more important than games won and lost is the fact that a number of varsity athletes earned a place on the college honor roll. Bruce Dinsmore of the tennis team and Joe Kazmar of the baseball squad made president’s honor roll. Freddie Limbocker of the baseball team, Wilbert Moore and Don Upshaw in basketball, Eddie Nelson of the golf team, Glen Guillory, a tennis player, and Lou Eschete and Mike Ryan of the football team made the honor roll. (59)

McNeese was now committed to three graduation ceremonies each year. Seventy-six students earned degrees in the summer, when President Jay Taylor of Louisiana Tech was the speaker. Mrs. Mary Ann Carrier and Mrs. Gloria Doucet Noel were graduated cum laude, and Mrs. Mary Bailey, Mrs. Opal Lord, and Mrs. Ann Worrell earned master of education degrees. The January graduation was notable chiefly because 31 of the graduates had already accepted jobs in Louisiana public schools for the second semester. Dean Joseph G. Tregle of the University of New Orleans was the speaker at the May commencement. Cum laude graduates there were Martin Kordas, Mrs. Margaret Guillory, Rose Ann Camalo, Mrs. Leonide Tanner, Mrs. Marian Wadsworth, Mrs. Martha J. Thompson, and Mrs. Pat LeJune. Martin Kordas, in addition, had the pleasure of graduating at the same commencement as his son, Alex Kordas. (60)


Summer enrollment in 1963 was 1,772, an increase of 172 over the previous summer term, but fall enrollment would tell a different story. Then the total was only 2,827, a decline of 304 students, or a 9.7 percent, below the previous fall. The freshman class almost held its own, 1,022 as compared to 1,030 , and there were 490 sophomores, a loss of only 14. The junior class of 401 declined by only 5 and the senior class actually increased, from 417 in 1962 to 484 in 1964. The number of graduate students increased from 132-164. The decline lay in night students, only 213 in 1963 as compared to 594 in 1962, and this was brought about by the closing of Chennault Air Force Base. There was a decline in the spring also, from 2,607 students in 1963 to 2,588 in 1964. Once more, the number of night students had dropped, from 338 in 1963 to 179 in 1964. When students registered for the fall semester, they paid $30.50 in fees, reduced to $23.00 in the spring. Dormitory residents paid $268.00 per semester room and board. Freshman men were spared one indignity; their heads would no longer be clipped, but all freshman were to wear a freshman cap. (61)

The Catalogue for 1963-1964 contained a revised purpose for the college:

McNeese State College was established to bring to Southwest Louisiana an institute of higher learning which would provide students with the education and training needed to participate fully and wisely in the social, economic, and political life of our democratic society.

The educational goals of McNeese State College are to expand and liberate the capacities and interests of its students and prepare them for productive and satisfying lives. Through academic divisions of the college, students may acquire the broad cultural education which will enable them to have full, rich, and well-balanced lives and at the same time provide themselves with specialized training necessary for success in many of the professions and vocations.

McNeese State College is deeply interested in the physical and mental health of its students. For this reason the Division of Student Life assists the student in making the adjustments necessary for optimum achievement in college through a continuing program of orientation and guidance. The college makes every endeavor to provide opportunities for clean wholesome living and to assist the students in developing the attributes of healthy, thoughtful, participating citizens. (62)

From the point of view of the faculty, and probably of the administration as well, the most important development of 1963-1964 was the adoption and implementation of a new salary schedule. This was delayed somewhat by some bureaucratic infighting; the State Board instructed the college presidents to use any funds available for salary increases, but the Division of Administration in Baton Rouge maintained that it must approve these increases. The Legislative Budget Committee refused to take any action, but Governor Davis stated that since the funds had already been appropriated, neither the Division of Administration nor the Legislative Budget Committee had any voice in the matter. The revised college budgets were not always completed in time for first faculty contracts to show the new salary figures, but they were ready in time for the first payday. (63)

Administrative changes were not great. Hans Leis formally became head of a separate Department of Health and Physical Education, and all areas of Agriculture were consolidated under O. D. Hyatt. George Cole became director of scholarships, and Robert James became alumni secretary. Late in the year, Edward F. McLaughlin was named head of the Department of Psychology and Guidance. There was a revision of the personnel of the graduate council. Girard, as dean of the Graduate Division, was secretary, and George Marshall was chairman. Other members were Don Lyons, Pat Ford, Ron Crain, William Knipmeyer, and Joe Gray Taylor. (64)

In June 1963, the Louisiana Bond and Building Commission approved the allocation of $1,500,000 to McNeese for building a football stadium. There was as usual, some confusion over the bidding and contracting, but on December 20, 1963, Lanza Enterprises of Lake Charles was awarded the contract. There would be a long wait before the stadium held a football game. That fall the state authorized the installation of underground utilities on the campus, and late in the year permission was granted to raze the old president’s home on Ryan Street and build a new $75,000 home. In September, the band and some faculty members began moving into the new addition to the Fine Arts Building, though it was not expected to be in full operation before the middle of the fall semester. (65)

The college now offered 59 four-year curricula and 4 two-year curricula. The Catalogue listed a total of 788 courses, including for the first time a course in computer programming. Of these, 575 were for undergraduates only; 121 could be taken by upperclassmen or graduate students, and 92 were for graduate students only. During the 1963-1964 year it was decided to add a master’s program in health and physical education. Scholarships available to undergraduates continued to include band scholarships, legislative fee exemptions and warrants, Rally Association scholarships, and T. H. Harris scholarships. To these had been added the State Board scholarships for superior high school students. In addition there were now 50 more scholarships available, 8 in education, 7 in nursing, 5 in agriculture and home economics, 4 in music, and 22 others. (66)

People who were at McNeese this year may remember that everything had to be closed down for three days in mid-August so that the electricity for the addition to the Fine Arts Building could be connected. A folksinger group scheduled for the concert and lecture series canceled because it refused to appear for a segregated audience. It is probably true that no black students would have attended the performance, but they could have done so. The death of President Kennedy was a traumatic experience for everyone; McNeese’s football game with USL was postponed, and the college closed for all of Thanksgiving week. And finally, bomb scares twice forced the evacuation of Kaufman Hall as final examination time approached. (67) Another death was that of Mrs. Overton Gauthier, Sr., born Stella McNeese, daughter of John McNeese, at Jennings at the age 85. Dr. Curtis Baker, head of Special Education died very suddenly in April, and a student, Mrs. Barbara Miller, died unexpectedly of an illness. Mrs. Zola Czepiel of the nursing staff escaped death but was seriously injured in an automobile accident in Roswell, New Mexico. (68)

Many students earned laurels during the 1963-1964 academic year. Perry Dennis was a cadet colonel, and cadet lieutenant colonels Mike Thibodaux and Jared East commanded the two ROTC battalions. Nannette Benoit was ROTC Little Colonel. Bruce Dinsmore, a varsity tennis player, was honored as the outstanding McNeese engineering student. Georgene Fleming won a graduate assistantship in business administration at the University of Arkansas; Arnold A. Perkins won one in horticulture at the University of Florida; and Perry Brooks Dennis, III won another in chemistry at the University of Texas. Guillermo A. Vasquez was accepted by Tulane Medical School, and William D. Pelletier, Michael S. Tritico, Roland Fontenot, Frederick R. Kirchner, Samuel L. Liles, Robert E. Hanchey, Steven Snatic, and Maurice R. Rumbarger were accepted by the LSU School of Medicine. (69)

Carolyn Loup and Carolyn Tupper attended the American Home Economics Association meeting in Detroit in June 1964. Lynwood Hebert and John Hicks won honorable mention in the Louisiana College Writers annual contest. Eleven high school seniors won state board scholarships to attend McNeese. They were Sharon Collins, Laurine Annette Elkins, and Sonja Ellzey from LaGrange High School; Barry Davidson, Gordon M. Propst, and John Worrell from Lake Charles High; Lauryn Ann Martin from St. Charles; Lambert B. Austin and John R. Patin from Landry; Barbara Jean Vincent of Sulphur; Kenneth V. Moss of West Lake; David E. Lemoine and Gretchen Laureen Miller of Bolton High in Alexandria; and Jerry G. J. Walls from Evergreen. (70)

Thirty-four students were selected for inclusion in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. Twenty of them were education majors. Other majors represented were mass communications, secretarial science, chemistry, music, business administration, nursing, home economics, French, accounting, engineering, and mathematics. During the fall semester Linda C. Bailey, Eileen M. Blessing, Timothy A. DeRouen, Linda Gray, Arnold Perkins, Elma Riley, Nancy Thornton, Kitty Wilson, Roland Barras, Holly Davis, Betty Magee, Wanda Estes, Mary Faulk, Henry J Hebert, Jr., Virginia Self, Bennie Stark, and Ruby Womack made nothing but A’s. In the spring semester Ronald Bertrand, Sharon Bertrand, Judith Churchman, Linda Gray, Royland L. Miller, Jr., Susan Pettit, Scotty Rozas, Mrs. Leonide Tanner, Mrs. Marian Wadsworth, Judith Arnette, Mrs. Mary Boyette, Barbara Cooley, Gene Couvillon, Kara Eberley, Arnold Perking, Paula Reynolds, and Ruby Womack Dodson accomplished the same feat. (71)

One coed who did not get listed in Who’s Who and who did not make all A’s was even more noteworthy. Mrs. Annie Pinder of Starks was the mother of three children and had ten grandchildren. She was also 70 years old. She had taught in a two-room school as a girl, but then became a farm wife. In 1951 she began taking night classes, and by 1964 was attending three days a week. Her ambition, as she put it, was to die with a college degree, and she earned that degree. (72)

The McNeese debate team was not quite so overwhelming in 1963-1964 as it had been the previous year, but it was still very good indeed. Patricia Materne had graduated, but Ann Coleman and Paula Guillory were an outstanding senior team. Junior members were Dianne Gabriel, Paul Schexnayder, Lynne Logan, Mickey Neely, Noel Moss, Ronnie Bertrand, and Bette Talbot. In November they won the sweepstakes at the Louisiana Tech tournament, and at Millsaps in January placed third. At the LSU tournament in late February they placed first and second, with the University of Mississippi third. Then on April 2, 1964, Coleman and Guillory represented McNeese against Harvard and won on a 7-6 decision, making the series 4 for McNeese and 2 for Harvard. (73)

Sonja East was Freshman Queen in 1963. Diane Primeaux presided over Homecoming, and Judy Elwell, Terry Barnett, Abi Heasley, Nannette Benoit, Jill Methvin, and Sonja East were maids. In April Nannette Benoit was LaBelle and Judy Elwell, Johnny Ray Long, Jill Methvin, Diane Primeaux, Becky Simpson, Rita Odom, JoRaye Dunham, and Bernice Louviere made up her large court. (74)

Alumni officers for 1963-1964 were Albert Newlin, II, president, and Max E. Jones, Billy Frank Gossett, and Betty Lou McKellar, vice presidents, in that order. Olen Clark, Jack Doland (then head football coach at Sulphur High School), Paul Kitt, Billy J. Moses, and Mrs. Roy Price were elected to the alumni Board of Directors. The annual alumni president’s cup was awarded to Registrar Inez Moses. A larger than usual number of alumni had publicized activities during the year. Joan Hebert, visiting the United States from Japan, where she taught music to American children at a United States Air Force Base, gave a slide lecture in the multi-purpose room of the Library in July. Charles Glendon Hambrick, after earning a master’s degree at LSU, joined the faculty as an instructor in physics. Dr. Charles Anderson, M.D. opened a practice in Lake Charles, and Allen Commander, who had previously been assigned to Thailand, was sent to the Agency for International Development team in Iran. (75)

Joe Distefano conducted the orchestra for the Little Theater production of Carnival at the Arcade Theater in November, and in that same month Claire Oakley, Purchasing Agent John Oakley’s daughter, was piano soloist with the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville Symphony. In the spring she accepted a position teaching music at West Virginia Wesleyan College. In June, Joseph G. Spano and Richard Joseph Clement received their doctor of medicine degrees from LSU. Barbara Luttrell joined the Peace Corps. And William Brown became the first male nurse employed by the State Board of Health. (76)

New faculty members included Sylvester Pendarvis and Doris Conway in Education, Fred Sahlmann in Music, and Joe Gray Taylor in the Social Science Department. The college annual, the Log, for 1964 recognized Kathleen Allums, Dolive Benoit, Miriam Callender, Clet Girard, John Oakley, Wallace Lee, and Ada Sabatier for 25 years of service at McNeese, and the alumni presented Donald J. Millet and Wylma Reynolds with 20-year pins. Edward McLaughlin, when he became head of Special Education, made Dr. George Middleton director of clinical operations and Tony Byles director of special education administration. Finally, a number of faculty members received promotions in academic rank. Don Lyons, Edward F. McLaughlin, Robert H. Pittman, and Bertha Lee Walley, all of the Division of Education, were promoted to full professor. Clifford M. Byrne, Roy A. Dobyns, Victor Monsour, and Ella N. Roberts achieved the rank of associate professor, and Ralph E. Denty, Jr., Maxine D. Steckelberg, and Grace Ramke rose from instructor to assistant professor. (77)

Nowell Daste and Grace Ramke presented an exhibit of their works at the Camellia House Art Gallery in Lake Charles in October, and in the same month, William E. Yates published an article in Louisiana Schools. In November, Wilmon H. Droze read a paper to the Annual Meeting of the Southern Historical Association at Asheville, North Carolina. George Cole, Donald Millet, Joe Gray Taylor, and Clet Gary also attended this meeting. John Carson read a paper on international trade to the Southwestern Economic Forum at USL in March, and in that same month Dean of Humanities Raleigh A. Suarez was elected vice president of the Louisiana Historical Association, which meant that he would automatically become president the next year. (78)

Mrs. Constance White, head of the Department of Nursing, attended the meeting of the Southern Regional Educational Board Section on Nursing at Clearwater, Florida in October. Members of the Library staff did not have to travel to attend the Annual Louisiana Meeting of Academic Librarians, because McNeese was the host for this group in 1963. Thomas Leary went to Las Vegas in his roles as co-chairman of the technical program for the Annual Meeting of the American Institute of Civil Engineers, and Hans Leis attended the National Convention of the American Association for Health, Physical and Recreational Education at Washington. (79)

Frank Pigno of the Mathematics Department received a National Science Foundation Grant, which he would use to enroll at LSU for work toward his doctorate. Mrs. Lynda McCaskill Jones of Nursing received a grant from the Southern Regional Education Board to attend a short course in nursing education. In the summer of 1963, Roy Dobyns received his doctorate in mathematics from George Peabody College; in January Robert Bryant of Agriculture received his doctor of philosophy degree from Michigan State University and Donald Millet received his degree from LSU. (80)

During the summer term of 1963 two dramatic productions were offered. Tennessee Williams’s Glass Menagerie was produced in the multi-purpose room of the library. Mrs. Rosalie Robinson played the lead, ably supported by Jeannie Guintard, Jo Ann McCollister, Royland Miller, Jr., and Alex Kordas. The play was so well received that two more performances were added to the one originally scheduled. Captain Lovelock, with an all-girl cast of Joyce Behm, Donna Chapman, Pamela Bounds, Mary Koonce, and Mrs. Joanne Ellis was scheduled for the lawn in front of the Auditorium for the night of July 25, but an untimely shower forced actors and audience inside. The play received a good review. (81)

The Bayou Players were more active in 1963-1964 than they had been in previous years. In October they presented Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding, the first play performed in the new Squires Auditorium of the renovated Fine Arts Building. Becky Hannie, Joyce Luttrell and Ray Valdetero played lead roles. (82) The advent of Squires Auditorium was a boon to drama faculty and students. The Auditorium seated 2,000 people, and it was indeed a rare dramatic presentation that would attract an audience that large. Even a large audience of 500 was dwarfed by the empty seats, and the more common crowds of 100 to 200 people were so completely swallowed up that it seemed that nobody was there. Squires Auditorium was much smaller, and since it would seat few more than 200, it kept things in perspective. In January, the Players put on Ibsen’s Ghosts, with Jo Ann McCollister in the lead supported by Wade Daigle, Frank Spano, Lamar Robertson, and Jeannie Guintard. The audience was small but the newspaper review was good. In April the ambitious Players put on Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. This play had a huge cast: Joe Bellinger, Kathy White, Robert Sorrells, Carolyn Foreman, Becky Hannie, Lynne Logan, Dave Franks, Jo Ann McCollister, Nancy Thornton, Frank Spano, Jeannie Guintard, Mickey Neely, and Wade Daigle were part of the cast. R. Young said in a newspaper review that Jere Broussard as Puck and Dave Franks as Bottom almost stole the show. No doubt this was as Shakespeare had intended. (83)

The Messiah choir in 1963 numbered 225 voices supported by a 36-piece orchestra. One of the soloists was Virginia Babikian, soprano, who had debuted in Italy and who had 35 oratorios and 23 operas in her repertoire. Other soloists were Juanita Teal, a contralto who had sung with the London Philharmonic; tenor Howard Jarrett, who had sung Messiah more than 200 times; and baritone Robert Kirkham, who was a member of the music faculty at Memphis State University. (84) The McNeese-Lions Club operetta for March was the ever-popular Brigadoon. Francis LaRocque and Henry LaFleur alternated leading roles, as did Mary Smothers and Barbara Harris, Sammy Douglas and Ellis LeBoeuf, Lorraine LeBoeuf and Patricia York. Other cast members were Sally Ann Short, Nancy Thornton, JoAnn Chaput, Gary Meek, Rex Brashear, Dave Franks, Hope Hackler, Robert Hackett, and Tom Graham. The newspaper review praised Brigadoon to the skies, mentioning "many rounds of applause." Dean Bulber immediately announced that the musical for the 1965 presentation would be My Fair Lady. (85)

The Montovani Classical Orchestra, sponsored by Community Concert, played at McNeese on October 31, 1963. In February pianist Red Camp presented a fascinating "Aural History of Jazz" as part of the Concert and Lectures program. On March 20, McNeese pianist Fred Sahlmann gave his first concert since coming to Louisiana, and "Lake Charles music lovers were enthralled." Finally, Francis Bulber was guest conductor of the Lake Charles Civic Symphony in the spring. (86)

The 1963 football season was Les DeVall’s time of glory. His team was undefeated and unquestioned Gulf States Conference champion. Nationally, the McNeese team was ranked fourth among small colleges. DeVall was himself GSC coach of the year, and four of his players - Darrell Lester, Charles Anastasio, Robert Young, and Horace Harrington - were on the all-GSC team. DeVall must have been especially gratified when Charles Anastasio was named to the All-American Academic football team. (87) The basketball team of 1963-1964 won 10 games and lost 16 to place fifth in the GSC. The only thing noteworthy about it was the fact that future McNeese basketball coach Glenn Duhon was on the squad. McNeese could take pride in the new stadium on which work was progressing and in the performance of athlete alumni. DeVall believed in the spring that the stadium would be ready by October 17, 1964, but that was an overly optimistic view. Alumnus Tom Sestak of the Buffalo Bills was named to the American Football League All-Star defensive team. Alumnus Don Breaux was scheduled to be starting quarterback for Denver against Buffalo, for whom Jack Kemp would be the quarterback. (88)

The most noteworthy feature of summer graduation 1963 was that no fewer than 37 master’s degrees were presented. Graduate work was obviously going strong. Patricia Materne, half of McNeese's championship debating team of 1962-1963, was one of the two cum laude students of this graduation, and Wilbur Dahlquist, future faculty member and department head, was the other. Seven ROTC cadets were commissioned at the January graduation. Shortly afterward the Department of Biology announced that for the ninth straight year, McNeese had placed more than half of its pre-medical graduates in accredited medical schools. This included nine of eleven in calendar year 1962, ten of nineteen in calendar year 1963. (89)

The graduation at the end of the spring semester continued to be "the" graduation for the public and for most students. In May 1964, John Hunter, president of LSU, spoke to 250 graduates. Seventeen received commissions from the United States Army, and 8, all women, graduated cum laude. The eight were Wanda Layne Estes, a fine arts major; Barbara Lanelle Colley, mathematics; Mrs. Betty Lucille Wade, elementary education; Mrs. Faye Fryar Anderson, nursing; Anne Couvillion, English education; Judith Marie Arnette, social science education; Delores D. Ogea, elementary education; and Pamela Jeanne Bounds, vocal school music. (90)

The Log for 1964 had the pictures of 406 seniors, 82 percent of the total who enrolled at the beginning of the spring semester. Only 12 of those pictured can be identified as black. Of 351 juniors pictured, only 9 are black, only 11 of 431 sophomores, and only 53 of 686 freshman. Integration still had not gone far. A glance at the majors of the seniors pictured makes it clear that in 1963-1964 the main role of McNeese State College was as a teacher’s college. Eighty-three of the 406 seniors majored in elementary education, 69 in secondary education, 37 in health and physical education, 3 in special education, and 11 in music education. Combined, that amounts to exactly 50 percent of the seniors. Business administration boasted 32 graduates; and engineering, English, social sciences, agriculture, mathematics, and physics had between 10 and 15 each. Art, accounting, horticulture, chemistry, pre-medical, and nursing had more than 5 each. (91)

Despite a slight setback in 1963-1964, McNeese State College was still growing in number of students and faculty and in facilities. The college was also improving in quality, as can be measured by the qualifications and accomplishments of faculty and the accomplishments of alumni, but the growth in quality was much less rapid than the growth in size. Two things made improvement of quality difficult. One was the fact that as a result of the baby boom that followed the Second World War, every college and university in the country needed more and more faculty to deal with the crowds of students who sought an education. The salaries that McNeese could pay made it most difficult, if not impossible, to hire mature and qualified faculty. The college had to hire young men and women and hope that they would develop into mature scholars and teachers and be willing to remain at McNeese.

The other handicap was that McNeese, like all Louisiana state-supported colleges, had open admissions. Any student who had graduated from an accredited high school and who could pay the low fees could enroll at McNeese. This was social democracy in action, no doubt, but it also made the freshman year into one long, drawn-out entrance examination. This could have been remedied easily by entrance requirements, but entrance requirements were not only politically unattractive; the appropriations that colleges received from the legislature were based in large part on the number of students taught. No Louisiana college could have afforded to turn away unqualified high school graduates even had it been legal to do so.


Hard Times

Summer enrollment in 1964 was 1,953, of whom 328 were beginning freshman, almost 100 more beginning freshman than the previous summer. Also, the roll showed 252 graduate students. The fall enrollment was 3,360, an almost incredible 19 percent increase over the previous fall. There were 791 new freshman and 623 carry-over freshman, for a total of 1,414. Sophomores numbered 522, juniors 428, and seniors 475, and there were 211 graduate students and 215 night students. Almost 100 special and non-credit students completed the total. In the spring the total was 3,106, with 1,015 freshman, 506 sophomores, 449 juniors, and 489 seniors. Growth was continuing, but as usual freshman made up a disproportionate part of the enrollment. (1)

Of more than passing significance is the fact that more students were living on campus. These included 244 single women and 362 single men. In October, 148 of the men were at Chennault, but they would move to the new men’s dormitory as soon as it was opened. In addition, there were 68 apartments for married students on campus and 43 were being rented at Chennault. Integration had not gone far. The 1965 Log has pictures of 308 seniors, 12 of them black; 311 juniors, 10 of them black; 393 sophomores, 15 of them black; and 1,243 freshman, only 76 of them black. (2)

The Catalogue for 1964-1965 listed a revised purpose which was more accurate than the purpose set forth the previous year:

McNeese State College was established to bring to Southwest Louisiana an institution of higher learning which would provide students with the education and training needed to participate fully and wisely in the life of our democratic society. The purpose of the college is threefold: (1) to meet the educational needs of its students, (2) to provide cultural and educational leadership for this area, and (3) to contribute to the expansion of knowledge through research, both scientific and creative.

The goals of McNeese State College are enlightened citizens, increased competence, improved moral and ethical standards, and expanded cultural horizons. To accomplish these goals the college provides orientation and guidance services in addition to the curricula necessary for a broad cultural education and the specialized curricula necessary for success in many of the professions and vocations. (3)

This would be the college’s official purpose until the 1973-1974 academic year.

Those who were at McNeese in 1964-1965 might well remember it as a year of sorrow. In December, Donald Joseph Smith was killed when hit by a car on U.S. Highway 190 near Kinder. This tragedy, it must be mentioned resulted from a fraternity initiation. In another incident, a young woman student, Meleene Marie Giles, only eighteen, met an untimely death in an automobile accident in February. Then in April football player Kenneth Vizier of LaRose, home on holiday, lost his life, as did three other young men and the driver of the truck which collided with them, near Golden Meadow. In May English professor Horace Taylor died in a one-car accident on Highway 190 when returning from Baton Rouge in a blinding thunderstorm. Last, but certainly not least, George Ruffin Marshall, a truly outstanding faculty member and musician, died Saturday, March 20, after a long and painful illness. (4)

With enrollment up 18 percent in the fall of 1964, the college operating budget was up only 5 percent for a total increase of $147,000. Insofar as capital outlay was concerned, things were going fairly well. A new men’s dormitory was nearing completion as the fall semester began. The president’s home was under construction, though the cost had risen from $75,000 to $86,000, and the local newspaper was unkind enough to say: "Wonder what they are building it of - gold bricks?" More important, Governor John McKeithen promised in December that McNeese would get a new science building "right away." This building would cost $1,500,000, some of it appropriated by the legislature, some granted by the federal government. In the summer of 1964, the State Board authorized McNeese to ask the State Board of Liquidation for $100,000 for renovation of classrooms at Chennault. President Cusic hoped to get $1,200,00 for this purpose in the fall, but it was not forthcoming. The Board of Liquidation provided $50,000, all that became available for 1964-1965. In April, however, the State Bond and Building Commission did provide $693,047 for conversion of Chennault buildings for use as Engineering classrooms and laboratories. (5)

In administration, Louis Riviere replaced Robert James as alumni secretary, and Linnie Lacy became dean of women, a change more in title than in function. George Dukes became head of the Department of Biological Sciences. The power of the purse was demonstrated when McNeese and seven other Louisiana colleges pledged to obey the civil rights laws enacted by Congress and on the same day received federal funds for grants to students for low-income families, grants which would in time bring a significant increase in the number of black students at McNeese. (6)

The McNeese Foundation was established in the spring of 1965, and it has been an important factor in McNeese’s history ever since. E. R. Kaufman was named president, Cecil Colon vice president, and Marshall Abadie secretary. Arthur Lee, business manager of the college, was automatically treasurer. Members of the first board of directors were Ray Dominick, Jr., Frank Gibson, Judge J. T. Hood, Jr., Harry Huber, F. F. Johnson, Voris King, Dr. Robert Looney, Joe Pettijean, H. Moss Watkins, A. T. Raetzsch, Hugh Shearman, and Locke Paret. The Foundation treasury began with a donation from the Lake Charles Kiwanis Club. (7)

In March 1965, names were approved for streets and buildings on the McNeese campus. The Administrative Building became Kaufman Hall, honoring Leopold Kaufman, founder of the First National Bank of Lake Charles. The adjacent science building became Frasch Hall, named in honor of the man who invented the Frasch method of forcing sulphur to the surface. What had been simply "the Ranch" became Holbrook Ranch, commemorating W. A. Holbrook, who had been president of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury when McNeese was first established. Alpha and Beta Halls, the first two women’s dormitories, became Sallier Hall and Bel Hall, named for Caroline LeBleu Sallier, wife of Charles Sallier for whom Lake Charles was named, and for Della Goos Bel, wife of John Albert Bel. The men’s "blue dorm" became Watkins Hall, honoring the promoter who did more than anyone else to bring settlers into Southwest Louisiana in the 1880s and 1890s; the "red dorm" became Zigler Hall, named for a philanthropist of Jefferson Davis Parish. The Health and Education Center became McNeese Memorial Hall in memory of alumni killed in World War II and Korea. It should be noted that the Arena, the Auditorium, and the Fine Arts Building, kept the same names. The streets also got official names. The circle in front of Kaufman became McNeese Circle, others became North Calcasieu Drive, Cameron Drive, Beauregard Drive, Allen Drive, Vernon Drive, and Jeff Davis Drive in honor of parishes of Southwest Louisiana. (8)

Lee J. Monlezun was an active Student Government Association president in 1964-1965 despite the heavy academic load of a pre-medical student, and Maurice Duhon and Tim Barker were vice presidents. Governor John McKeithen made the year memorable for student officers by addressing the Student Government Association banquet in May. During the summer of 1964, coeds Paula Guillory and Gary Curnutt toured France, visiting with relatives part of the time. Honor student Rebecca King received a grant from the French government for advanced study of French at Sorbonne, and France-Amerique of Lake Charles gave her an additional cost-of-living stipend. Bruce Dinsmore did not travel so far, but he received a traineeship for a year’s study in the Biostatistics Department of the Louisiana State University School of Medicine. (9)

JoRaye Dunham was elected treasurer of the Louisiana Association of Student Nurses at the annual meeting in Alexandria, and Patricia York, soprano music student who had already won many honors was selected to perform with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra. Spring graduate Arthur Baehr accomplished the almost impossible by passing all parts of the certified public accountant’s examination on his first try after graduation, and Russell E. Roy, Jr., graduate student in Mathematics, read a paper before the Louisiana-Mississippi Section of the  Mathematical Association of America at its Biloxi meeting. Thirty-one students were selected for Who’s Who; fourteen of them were education majors, five were in nursing, three in biology and three in business administration, two each in history and engineering, and one each in art and music. (10)

Six McNeese art students - Richard Broussard, Johnny Cryer, Patricia Haynes, Pat McGowan, James Foshee, and Bobby Shores - exhibited works at Gates Gallery in Port Arthur, Texas. In the College Writers Society of Louisiana competition in 1965, Larry Lee Fontenot took first prize in essay, and Marianne Davidson took third prize in poetry. The Department of Agriculture honored Carolyn Loup as the outstanding home economics student and Jack. A. Richard as the outstanding agriculture student. Opal Peshoff led fourteen Louisiana delegates to the National Association of Student Nurses meeting in San Francisco. (11)

Ronald Guth won a scholarship to attend Tulane Law School, and Ruby Womack won a fellowship for graduate work in piano at LSU. Chester A. Monceaux received a graduate assistantship in mathematics at Wake Forest University, and Ann Coleman and Linda Gray, both English education majors, were among the first recipients of certificates of merit awarded by the Louisiana Council of Teachers of English. Sonja Ellzey, who would one day be on the McNeese faculty, won a freshman mathematics award. But probably the student most deserving of praise was Mrs. Annie Pinder of Starks who, at the age of 72, received the degree in elementary education on which she began work at the Lake Charles Junior College in 1939. (12)

Robert Landry was cadet colonel in 1964-1965, and Jill Methvin was Little Colonel for the year. The debate team - Louis Campbell, Gordon Propst, Mickey Neely, Paula Guillory, Elizabeth Sparks, John LaVern, Bill Welch, Abi Heasley, Clifford Newman, and Linda Gray - won more than its share of trophies. In April, Paula Guillory and John LaVern defeated Harvard in what had come to be almost an annual event, giving McNeese a 5 to 2 lead in the competition. (13)

In beauty competition, Nannette Benoit was Homecoming Queen in 1964, with Abi Heasley, Ann Coleman, Jill Methvin, Rita Odom, Charlotte Tyson, and Sheryl LeBleu as her maids. Jill Methvin won the LaBelle title in 1965. Perhaps the greatest tribute to McNeese beauty however was the disastrous career of Thomas James Casey, "the kissing burglar," who received a five-year sentence for burglarizing Alpha dormitory and attempting, apparently unsuccessfully, to kiss some of the coeds whose property he sought to steal.(14)

Max Jones was president of the alumni for the 1964-1965 academic year, and Billy Frank Gossett, Paul Kitt, and Mrs. Elizabeth Benoit Lake were his vice presidents. Genevieve Ancelet, Bobby Gauthreaux, Daniel Ieyoub, Patricia Materne, and Larry Roach were elected to the Board of Directors. At the Homecoming meeting, Alfred Guy, director of the Cafeteria, was the recipient of the alumni president’s cup. One alumna and member of the board, Patricia Materne, now an eighth-grade teacher at Pearl Watson, was named as an "outstanding young educator" by the Lake Charles Jaycees. (15)

Kathleen Allums, Dolive Benoit, C. A. Girard, Wallace Lee, John Oakley, and Ada Sabatier completed 25 years of service at McNeese in 1965. New McNeese teachers included James Hooper in Architectural Drawing, Jess Feist in Psychology, Joseph E. Smith in Chemistry, and Mrs. Betty C. Copeland in Languages. Three newcomers who would long be with McNeese were Eldon Bailey in Accounting, Mrs. LaJuana Lee in Office Administration, and Raymond LeBlanc in Sociology. William Groves returned to the Department of Music after a year at the University of Arkansas working on his doctorate. (16)

Lieutenant Colonel James L. Bryan, who was to retire from the Army in October after three years in charge of ROTC at McNeese, was formally commended by the Lake Charles Association of Commerce in September. Colonel Ferdinand J. Tate (ret.) was one of 40 engineering instructors in the United States chosen to participate in a Structural Engineering Institute at Oklahoma State University in the summer of 1964, and Thomas Leary chaired a program at the National Meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering at Las Vegas. Ronald Crain became general chairman of the Ninth Technical Conference of the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineering. Hans Leis became secretary-treasurer of the Louisiana State Lawn Tennis Association. (17)

Mrs. Linda Jones of the Nursing Department attended the Annual Meeting of the American Nursing Association in New York City and participated in a panel working on tests for the certification of nurses. Engineering instructor Paul Ritter, an architect, became president of the Southwest Louisiana Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In March, when the Louisiana College Conference met at LSU, McNeese was represented by Dr. Gene Erment, Mrs. Constance White, and Miss Linnie Lacy. Thomas Zolki attended a Houston meeting of the heads of twenty college and university chemistry departments who discussed their common problems, and Dean of Student Life Ellis Guillory attended the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ Conference in Washington D.C. No particular person can be given credit, but cooperation among departments in the sciences brought in a National Science Foundation grant of $11,300 to finance an in-service institute in biology and mathematics. (18)

Faculty members not only attended professional meetings, but they were frequently on the programs. Raleigh A. Suarez became president of the Louisiana Historical Association, and Joe Gray Taylor became chairman of the organization’s publications committee. During the year, Taylor read papers to the Southern Historical Association at its meeting in Little Rock, to the American Studies Association of the Lower Mississippi at Baton Rouge, and to the Institute of Southern Culture at Longwood College, Farmville, Virginia. Pianist Samuel Terranova was a soloist with the Shreveport Civic Symphony, and Pianist Fred Sahlmann appeared in a faculty recital that delighted all who heard it. Barbara Belew gave a harp recital, and in the absence of the mortally ill George Marshall, Francis Bulber conducted the Lake Charles Civic Symphony. (19)

Donald Millet spoke to the Louisiana Academy of Sciences, and Thomas Leary spoke to the Lake Charles sub-section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The Louisiana Federation of Garden Clubs awarded O. D. Hyatt a citation for his "outstanding work in the field of horticulture" at its Alexandria meeting. A drawing by Grace Ramke was in the 1965 Artists of Louisiana Exhibition at the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art in New Orleans. Finally, George Middleton, Edward F. McLaughlin, and James Morriss were licensed as psychologists under legislation enacted by the 1964 legislature. Two faculty members of the Department of Mathematics, Mrs. Coleen Frazer and Bennett Lewis, received grants from the National Science Foundation to attend mathematics institutes, Frazer at Rutgers and Lewis at Oklahoma State. Associate Professor Doris Conway of the Department of Elementary Education received her Ph.D. from Oklahoma State, and Marjorie McQueen of the Special Education Department was awarded the same degree, in social work, by Washington University at St. Louis. (20)

George Marshall was naturally memorialized after his death. A George Marshall music scholarship was established in March, and "Symphony Time" on radio station KPLC was devoted to his memory. The last concert of the Lake Charles Civic Symphony, with William Kushner as guest conductor and Fred Sahlmann as piano soloist, was likewise dedicated to Marshall’s memory. His "Irish Overture," composed for one of Sean O’Casey’s plays and then presented by the Lake Charles Civic Symphony, was used as incidental music for O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock in October. (21)

The Messiah, as presented in December 1964, had as soloists soprano Francesca Roberto, who had been auditioned by the Metropolitan Opera and had received a Ford Foundation grant, contralto Evelyn Reynolds of the University of Illinois, tenor Joseph Sofer, who had made many stage and television appearances, and bass Raymond Michalski, who had sung with the Philadelphia Grand Opera Association and the San Antonio Opera Festival. At this performance Francis Bulber, Delia Gaunt, and Arthur Burch were presented with the silver bowls for 25 years of service with the Messiah. Dr. J. Malcolm Leveque, Alma Leveque, Mrs. Margaret Mouton, Tim Dugas, Mrs. Myrtle Farque, Kathleen Allums, and J. L. Farque were honored for 20 to 24 years’ service. Thirteen members of the chorus had participated for 15 to 20 years, and 10 for from 10 to15 years. (22)

The Bayou Players were busy. The first play of the year was Juno and the Paycock, as noted above. Among those in the cast were faculty member Frederick Tooley and students Becky Hannie, Wade Daigle, Nancy Wilson, Mickey Neely, and Jere Broussard. Marie David gave the play a "rave" review in the Lake Charles American Press. In January, Jean Anouilh’s Time Remembered was scheduled for staging on January 15-16 but a power outage forced postponement of the second performance. Then the approach of final examinations intervened, and the play was not presented again. In the spring the Players put on Shakespeare's great Macbeth, a performance dedicated to the memory of George Marshall. James Tarver played Macbeth, Becky Hannie Lady Macbeth, Lowell Wilson King Duncan, Rudy Kasarda Banquo, and Mickey Neely McDuff. Finally, the Players put on the Greek tragedy Antigone, by Sophocles. Arlene Welch played Antigone and Robert Hilton undertook the role of Creon. (23)

The musical for 1965 was the always-popular My Fair Lady. Patricia York, who had earned great praise the previous year as Bloody Mary in South Pacific, had the role of Eliza Doolittle. Norris LeBoeuf played Professor Henry Higgins, Ellis LeBoeuf was Alfred P. Doolittle, Sammy Douglas was Colonel Pickering, and Buddy Hackett was Freddy Eynsford-Hill. The main auditorium was practically full for the performance, and the audience was unstinting in its applause, with York drawing special attention. In September a "Tribute to Rosa Hart," consisting of reading from plays that she had directed was put on in Squires Auditorium and drew a full house. In March both the McNeese Concert Band and the Marching Band played in the Rex Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans under the direction of Dr. Albert L. Stoutamire. They played in Jennings and Crowley on the way to New Orleans. Vietnamese Dr. Tran Van Chuong, father of the then notorious Madame Nhu, was a Lyceum speaker in February, and under the same auspices the noted actor Hans Conried presented "An Evening with Hans Conried" in April. (24)

The athletics staff in 1964-1965 consisted of A. I. Ratcliff as athletic director; Les DeVall, head football coach; Ralph Ward, head basketball coach; James E. Clark and Milton F. White as assistant football coaches; Charles Kuehn as track coach and assistant football coach; and Ted Chapman as baseball coach and assistant basketball coach. The football team won 6 games and lost 3, placing third in the Gulf States Conference. The basketball season was far less than perfect, the tennis team was dead last in the conference, and the track team placed fifth in the conference. It was not one of McNeese’s best athletic years. But in another sense this may have been one of the best seasons in the college's history. In the fall, ten athletes earned places on the honor roll. These included football player Charles Anastasio, who was accepted for the LSU School of Medicine; basketball players Tom Wunder, George Hoffner, Harold Watkins, and Mike Pigott; George Smith of the tennis team; Brian Heinen, Roger Bartee, and Craig Henry of the track team; and Bennie Hickman, who played baseball. Seven former McNeese players were to report to professional football teams in the fall of 1965. These were Tom Sestak, All-Pro tackle with the Buffalo Bills, Dick Harris, defensive halfback of the San Diego Chargers, quarterback Don Breaux of the Denver Broncos, and Ken Guilbeaux of Denver, Darrell Lester of the Minnesota Vikings, Earl Hicks of the Canadian League, and Curt Leggett of the Southern Football League, whatever that may have been. (25)

Legally, an athletic team from a white Louisiana college could still not play an opponent who had black players. This was obviously unconstitutional, and LSU had disregarded the rule the previous year in the Orange Bowl. Even so, Northeastern Louisiana University at Monroe had announced that it would no longer schedule Stephen F. Austin University because the Texas team had two black players. Dr. Boyd Woodard, member of the State Board from Lake Charles, announced that he would introduce a resolution allowing Louisiana teams to compete against blacks. Whether it was Woodard’s resolution or another, the rule was abandoned, and it would not be long before McNeese teams would feature black players. (26)

Coach DeVall and practically everyone else had hoped and expected that all, or most, of McNeese’s 1964 football games would be played in the new stadium, but this was not to be. In September, the job was picketed by the Carpenter’s Union, though this stoppage was soon abandoned. In October the construction was, in the opinion of Michael Lanza, of Lanza Enterprises, complete, but McNeese found fault with the seats. The State Board refused to accept the stadium on the grounds that the architect, Blake Shipp, had made unauthorized changes in the specifications. Lanza denounced the delay as a political attack upon Shipp, but the acceptance was delayed until the football season was over. In December, final acceptance came, and it was agreed that the stadium could be used for graduation in the spring. Even in December, however, no furniture was available for the offices of the complex. (27)

At the end of the summer term, 1964, 109 students received a bachelor's degree and 39 received master’s degrees. William Beyer, from the State Superintendent of Education’s office was the speaker and Rebecca King was the only cum laude graduate. In February, there were 109 graduates, 9 of them receiving master’s degrees. Board member Woodard spoke to the 290 spring graduates, of whom 11 were commissioned as officers in the United States Army. Honor graduates in the spring were Brantley Cagle, Mrs. Matilda E. Coffey Hickman, Ann Coleman, Linda Gray, Mrs. Gayle Smith Lafitte, Ronald Martin Kratzer, and Ruby Lynn Womack. (28)


Summer enrollment reached 2,252 during regular registration, and probably 130 more were added in workshops. For the fall, there was much confusion over fees. The colleges and universities raised fees, then the State Board reduced them, and in the end tuition at McNeese became $50 per semester. Other fees brought the cost of registering up to $75 in the fall and $67.50 in the spring, and dormitory room and board were now $280 per semester. Registrar Inez Moses announced total enrollment in the fall as 3,807, 2,165 men and 1,642 women. The count showed 1,723 freshman, 723 sophomores, 462 juniors, 499 seniors, 295 graduate students, 82 special students, and 23 non-credit students. The early admissions program, now in its third year, enrolled 53. In the spring the total was 3, 309, 1,421 freshman, 664 sophomores, 449 juniors, and 427 seniors. (29)

McNeese’s budget request for 1965-1966 was for an unrealistic $5,046,920, of which almost $2,000,000 was to be used for renovating facilities at Chennault Field. When the legislature had finished, $187,000 was cut from equipment, $325,000 from repairs, and $1,500,000 from renovation money. The remaining $3,161,241, was nonetheless a substantial increase over the previous year. Even so, the State Board found it necessary to order colleges to rework the budget so as to give bigger raises to instructional personnel and less to administrators and to limit athletic scholarships to $600 each. (30)

President Cusic was in the new president’s home by the beginning of the fall semester. In June, the State Board had authorized McNeese to issue revenue bonds to finance facilities for students, and when the bonds were sold in October, it was understood that the money would be used to construct 48 apartment units for married students south of McNeese street, for a women’s dormitory, a new cafeteria, and an infirmary. Work began on the married student housing and the infirmary almost immediately, and in December, Lake Charles Lumber won the contract for a new student center and cafeteria. In addition, the State Capital Construction and Improvement Commission allocated McNeese $126,751 for repairs and maintenance, mainly for the arena. (31)

In January, when McNeese was asking for almost $2,000,000 to be used at Chennault, there was much optimism, and when Governor McKeithen hinted that the money would be forthcoming, hope was unrestrained. In August, President Cusic believed that a full engineering school could be in operation at Chennault during 1966. Actually, the only thing material toward the rehabilitation of Chennault that occurred in 1965 was a gift by Cities Services of $20,000 worth of used equipment that the corporation did not need but that a school of engineering might be able to use. At long last, in March 1966, McNeese was allocated $346,523 for rehabilitation of buildings at Chennault, not nearly as much as was needed if anything was to be accomplished. (32)

Frasch Hall was entirely too small to house all the science classes and laboratories needed by a school as large as McNeese had become. The 1965 legislature appropriated $1,200,000 for a new building, and then the Louisiana Higher Education Facilities Commission allocated McNeese $500,000 in federal money that had become available. The State Bond and Building Commission came up with $250,000 more, and the legislature found another $100,000, bringing the total to about $3,100,000. Construction began early in January on a new home for the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics. (33)

Administrative changes in the 1965-1966 year were minor. In January 1966, the Board authorized McNeese to establish a Division of Commerce under a dean who would be paid $14,500 a year. Before the fall semester, this had been accomplished and Armand Perrault had become dean of the new division. During the summer of 1965, Roy Price had been transferred from director of housing to property manager, and Vernon Keating had been employed as dean of men; then in April 1966 Louis Bonnette became assistant director of publications. His real function was to handle publicity for athletics. (34)

Death stalked McNeese again in the fall of 1965. In September, Dr. Joseph T. Farrar, first dean of McNeese and president of Northwestern until his retirement, passed away. In November, Colonel Oswald McNeese, 84, son of John McNeese, died in Washington, D.C. Jack Waters, a junior, was killed in an automobile accident in September, and in December McNeese alumnus Perry Dennis was found dead in his pickup truck in Texas while on a hunting trip. Historian Joseph Robert Brown, who had joined the McNeese faculty in September, died in December. But the death that struck home particularly to students and faculty was that of Donald C. Cornett, 1964 graduate who was killed in action in the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam on November 17, 1965. Cornett had been a cadet commander of McNeese ROTC, president of the student body, active in the college’s social life, and an honor student. (35)

A "temporary" frame building, which stood where Farrar Hall is today, housed I. J. Wynn’s office, campus printing, and seven sororities and fraternities, all except one fraternity on the first floor. On the second floor were the Log office, the Contraband office, campus security, and several student organizations. In the night of January 27, 1966, a fire broke out that badly damaged the first floor and for all practical purposes destroyed the second. The Log, almost ready for final editing, had to be put together again. More important, many records of both publications were destroyed, records and pictures that might have been useful in composing a history of McNeese. (36)

A student forum sponsored by the Speech Department was active in 1965-1966. Bombing in Vietnam was the subject of a December forum, and in January McNeese students sent a petition to President Lyndon Johnson supporting his policies in Southeast Asia, but it is obvious from the Contraband that doubts concerning Vietnam and compulsory ROTC continued. In April the forum voted three to one in favor of permitting the governor of Louisiana a second consecutive term; this must have reflected statewide sentiment, because such a constitutional amendment did pass, and John McKeithen became the first two-term governor in the twentieth century. In May the forum decided after discussion that compulsory class attendance should be abolished. This would in time come to pass. As long hair and beards for men and strange dress for all spread on campuses of the nation, the rather strict dress regulations in force at McNeese came under more and more question, but this would not come to a head for several years. (37)

In August the Mathematics Department announced that it would offer a degree in statistics beginning in the fall of 1965; this was then the only degree of its kind in Louisiana, but other colleges soon followed suit. The 1965 legislature passed, and the governor signed, a student loan bill under which the state paid interest on student loans so long as the student was in school; this would help many in years to come. The "Friends of the Library" came into being to help develop the Library, which was suffering from repeated low budgets. Finally, the McNeese Foundation began a fund drive that by April 1966 had raised $18,000. (38)

Charles Poe was student body president for the year, and John LaVern and John Kuntz were vice presidents. Charles Davies was ROTC cadet colonel, and Jill Methvin was Little Colonel. Thirty-one students were name to Who’s Who; nine of them were education majors, but this year five were nursing majors. Four were in accounting, three in music, two each in mathematics, engineering, and biology, and one each in history, English, and business administration. John James Caruthers was named as outstanding engineering student by the Lake Charles Chapter of the Louisiana Engineering Society, and Charles Mims, a botany major, was awarded a graduate assistantship by the University of Texas. Richard Tharpe was selected by McNeese for a Tulane Law School scholarship, and Margaret Istre, a social studies major, received a graduate scholarship to LSU. Rita Odom was named outstanding home economics student and Douglas Hayes outstanding agriculture student. It should be mentioned too, that a group of McNeese students who got summer jobs picking melons in Arizona for $1.40 an hour plus fifteen cents a crate were such good workers that the growers asked for more. (39)

Renee Collet was Freshman Queen in 1965, with Pam Lyons, Pam Johnson, Jackie Porter, and Laura Faye Daigle on her court. Becky Simpson was Homecoming Queen, attended by Paula Guillory, Jill Methvin, Charlotte Tyson, Sonja East, Renee Collet, and Joyce Wyninger. Freshman Laura Faye Daigle was LaBelle, and Becky Simpson, Paula Guillory, Charlotte Tyson, Paulette McDonald, Pat Milner, Joyce Wyninger, Janet Pack, and Tina Hoffpauir were her maids. Another freshman, Cheryl Darlene McGrath, was selected as Miss Lake Charles. (40)

John LaVern, Bill Welch, Jr., Gordon Propst, Louis Campbell, and Michael Neely were the veterans on the debate team, backed up by Carla Elliott, Jude Theriot, James Hopkins, Rodney Guillory, Mike Adams, Brenda Kelly, Clinton (Wes) Shinn, and Diane Laborde. The debaters placed sixth in the Birmingham Debate Tournament, but in the Baylor University Tournament they placed second among 50 colleges and universities participating. They placed second in the Azalea Tournament in Mobile and in the LSU Tournament, and they were third in the annual Louisiana Tournament at Natchitoches. The high point of the year came in March when Propst and Campbell defeated the Harvard debate team, making the series 6 to 2 in favor of McNeese. (41)

Billy Frank Gossett was alumni president for the year, with Paul Kitt, Mrs. Betty Benoit Lake, and Bobby Gauthreaux as his vice presidents. New members of the board were Mrs. Leslye Ward Quinn, Dr. Charles Anderson, Dr. John R. (Mickey) Royer, Floyd A. Roddy, and Rudolph (Bo) Young. The alumni president’s cup went to Peggy Petty of the News Bureau. The most distinguished alumnus of the year was almost certainly Andre Dubus, whose novel, The Lieutenant, was published by the Dial Press. (42)

The Catalogue for 1965-1966 lists 33 faculty out of a total of 164 as holding a doctoral degree, or 20 percent. An unusually large number of new faculty came to the college in the fall. These included Ronald Skinner in Speech, Benjamin L. Carroll, a McNeese alumnus, in Chemistry, Glenn W. Cobb and James Lane in Biology, Frank W. Carter in Mathematics, Joseph Robert Brown and Thomas P. Coffey in History, William Greenlee in Philosophy, Maria Bustillo in Spanish, Lise B. Pedersen in English, and Kathleen Pittman, Thomas Jordan, Benjamin Ruhl, and Larry Covin in the School of Education. Woodrow James and William Groves in Music both earned doctorates before the end of the year. (43)

J. B. Lewis and Frank A. Pigno, both of the Department of Mathematics, went on sabbatical for the fall semester, and Mabel Kitt, Robert H. James, Norman Smith, Edward C. Steiner, John H. Carson, Huey K. McFatter, Clet J. Gary, and Glen D. Johnson returned from summer sabbatical. Numerous faculty members received promotions. Mrs. Margery Wilson became head of the Department of Speech and Thomas S. Leary was promoted to full professor and head of the Department of Engineering. Victor Monsour became full professor and head of the new Department of Microbiology, and Joe Gray Taylor became professor of history, William P. Knipmeyer professor of Geography, and Ronald D. Crain professor of Chemistry. Nowell Daste became associate professor and head of the Department of Art, R.G. Carver associate professor of Botany, William J. Lembeck associate professor of Microbiology, and Mrs. Mary Lofton associate professor of Nursing. (44)

John M. Norris, Jr., of the Department of Languages, was named a regional judge in the National Council of Teachers of English Achievement Awards program, and Onis D. Hyatt presided over the Gulf District Rose Show in the Arena. Bob E. Hankins was elected chairman of the Southeast Louisiana Section of the American Chemical Society, and Eugene D. Richard was named to head the regional radiation emergency team. Ellis Guillory became a consultant to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare on the allocation of federal funds for higher education; Dr. Glynn Carver was selected to attend the 1966 Summer Institute of Radio-Botany at Oak Ridge; and Ray M. Thibodaux was one of twenty mathematicians selected to attend a National Science Foundation Institute at the University of Illinois. (45)

Grace Ramke had two sculptures selected for exhibit in a show at the LSU Union, and one in Springfield (Missouri) Art Museum. L.C. Penland put on a one-man exhibit of his paintings in Lake Charles. Raleigh A. Suarez delivered the presidential address at the New Orleans meeting of the Louisiana Historical Association, and Librarian Samuel Marino was on the program of that organization. Albert L. Stoutamire and William C. Groves had an article published in Louisiana Musician. Joe Gray Taylor spoke to the initiation meeting of Phi Kappa Phi at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and he had an article published in Georgia Review. (46)

The Messiah was presented on the afternoon of December 5, with soprano Anna Maria Conti, contralto Eunice Alberts, tenor James Wainner, and baritone Robert Frankenberger as soloists. On December 19 the entire performance was broadcast over radio station KAOK, and as usual excerpts were broadcast over more than a hundred stations during the Christmas week. The Music Department contributed largely to the fall festival of modern art at McNeese in December. The college choir participated, as did student pianists Pepe Bowman and Melba Hebert, soprano Patricia York, and baritone Samuel Douglas. For the faculty, Patricia Bulber and Kathleen Allums provided a duo piano recital, Frederick Tooley sang, and Mrs. Betty Crossley and Dr. Albert Stoutamire played the violin and trombone respectively. (47)

During the summer of 1965, the Bayou Players presented Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, with Van Walker, Selma Chambley, Nancy Wilson, and Dorothy Betbeze taking major roles. Then the chorus put on Carmen again, with professional Robert Kirkham and former faculty member Robert Snead reinforcing the student cast. Janet Assunto Doland played Carmen and Patricia York Micaela, to great applause. The first performance of this classic had been with two pianos and an organ; this time there was a full orchestra. In the fall the Bayou Players’ presentation was The Queen and the Rebels, with Hope Hackler as the queen. Others in the cast were Selma Chambley, Wade Daigle, James Tarver, Van Walker, Johnny Desselle, Gene Hay, Nancy Martin, Chris Morgan, Eva Airhart, Ronald Berglund, and Will Moody. A newspaper review said that the play kept the audience spellbound. Next came the then popular but soon forgotten Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Bad, with Mrs. Sandra Sterns and Norris LeBoeuf starring. The McNeese-Lions Club staged their first full-length opera, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, with Patricia York and Robert Snead in the lead roles. (48)

The cultural activities available on campus during the year were numerous. In early October 1965, the Lake Charles Civic Symphony presented a "pops" concert in the Auditorium, and at the end of the month Arthur Fielder directed the Buffalo Philharmonic there under Community Concert sponsorship. The college presented Tong Il Han, a noted Korean pianist, in November; then in January, Community Concert sponsored a recital by famous baritone Robert Merrill. Community Concert followed this with a recital by French pianist Jean-Paul Sevilla, then in February put on the entertaining Varel and Bailly’s "Chanteurs de Paris." In March a capacity audience heard popular writer Harnett Kane speak in Squires Auditorium, and in May poet and editor John Ciardi spoke to a largely student audience in the Main Auditorium. The Student Government Association brought popular singer Brenda Lee to the campus in March, and in April, Community Concert presented the Beau Arts Trio in a contemporary chamber of music recital. Late in April the Civic Symphony, under the baton of guest director Charles Rosekrans of Houston, gave its last performance of the year. Before this performance, one of the players in an afternoon youth concert was Keith Gates of LaGrange High School. (49)

The new stadium, which had remained tantalizingly empty during the 1964 season, was ready for play in 1965. Senator Guy Sockrider made the formal dedication with State Board member Boyd Woodard, Louisiana state senators A. C. Clemons and Jesse Knowles, and state representatives Mike Hogan, Harry Hollins, and A. F. Lyons plus all members of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and officials of the Association of Commerce looking on. Despite a publicity campaign, the stadium was not full when McNeese met Tampa and lost in the first game of the season, and there were other troubles. Former City Judge Albert J. Cox died of a heart attack in the stadium during the first game, and traffic problems brought much ill will from fans seeking a way out of the parking lots. The parking problem was pretty well solved by the second home game. Even if the stadium was not usually filled, crowds were so much greater than previously that the football team produced income equal to 27.8 percent of the money actually spent on all athletics. (50)

The beginning of a program of putting restraints on McNeese college athletics came in June 1965 when the Gulf States Conference limited schools to 58 scholarships for football, 20 for basketball, 13 for track, 7 for baseball, and 1 each for golf and tennis. Ernie Duplechin and Marvin Adams joined the coaching staff as graduate assistants, and Desmond Jones, though he was employed as baseball coach, gave a hand in football. The team record was not particularly good, 5 games won to 4 lost, but that was good enough for a tie with the University of Southwestern Louisiana for the GSC championship. Five McNeese players were named to the All-GSC team: Merlin Wallet, Errol Eschete, Tony Bor, Felix Simon, and Paul Guidry. Guidry and Wallet signed with professional football teams, though neither would become a starter. (51)

Soon after the last game of the season, Leslie DeVall, who had been at McNeese for 9 years and never had a losing season, who had had an undefeated season in 1963, and who in 21 years of coaching had seen his teams win 159 games while losing only 45, announced that he would step down as head coach. He went away to graduate school in the spring semester, 1966, and Jim Clark was named to replace him. Now Desmond Jones became line coach, Milton White backfield coach, Ernie Duplechin full assistant, and Charles Kuehn chief scout. (52)

With the exception of golf, in which McNeese placed second in the GSC despite losing 5 matches out of 6 in April, other teams did not fare well in 1965-1966. The basketball team lost 17 games and won only 6 for perhaps the worst McNeese record of all time. The tennis team, which had been last in the conference in 1965, did not score a single point in the 1966 GSC tournaments. The track team ranked fifth among the six teams in the conference, and the baseball team ranked last behind Nicholls State. (53)

Speaker at the summer graduation in July 1965 was former McNeese faculty member Father Harry E. Benefiel, who still had many friends and admirers on campus. Dr. David W. Beggs, III, assistant professor of Education at Indiana University, was the speaker for 280 graduates in the spring. Fourteen of these - Ilene Blessing Bruegman, Sharon M. Bertrand, Linda C. Bailey, Ruby J. Cormier, Holly Davis, Sandra S. Denty, Pamela S. Franks, Anita M. Gilley, Mary E. McPherson, Charles W. Mims, Sally J. Montgomery, Ida W. Pope (later to be a well-loved faculty member), Virginia Self, and Carolyn Blue Terranova - were graduated cum laude. (54)


Enrollment in the fall of 1966 topped 4,000 for the first time for a total of 4,316. Of these 996 were beginning freshman, 973 carry-over freshman, for a total of 1,969. Sophomores numbered 754, juniors 578, seniors 655, and graduate students 333. In the spring there were 1,745 freshman, 713 sophomores, 558 juniors, 527 seniors, and 362 graduate students, with enough in other categories to give a total of 3,917. The Board of Education raised fees $10 per semester, so students paid $85 for registration. The terrible attrition resulting from open admissions was demonstrated by the fact that despite 1,969 freshman in the fall of 1966 and 1,745 freshman in the spring of 1967, there were only 894 sophomores at McNeese in the fall of 1967. (55)

Plans to make Chennault Air Force Base a permanent site for Engineering and Technology instruction continued. Between the legislature and the federal government, slightly more than $1,000,000 became available to rehabilitate and equip seven buildings for Special Education, Engineering, and Technology. McNeese was to get title to 242 acres of the former air base. Special Education moved to Chennault in November, even before Lake Charles Lumber Company was awarded a contract to convert the Chennault facilities. The Department of Engineering was to begin full operation from Chennault in the fall of 1967. Thomas Leary’s department now had six full-time faculty members, and there was talk of graduate work in engineering. (56)

The Agriculture Department announced in August 1966 that a curriculum in Wildlife Management would be available in the fall, and in November Dean Landers declared that an education specialist degree would be offered the next academic year. In January 1967, the State Board authorized McNeese to proceed with a new two-year program in Mortuary Science. George White made an announcement concerning the McNeese pre-medical program that should have aroused interest. Over 50 percent of McNeese applicants for medical school had been accepted over the preceding 27 years, as compared to 20-30 percent for most colleges, and in all that time only one student who entered medical school from McNeese had dropped out for academic reasons. (57)

Financially, McNeese did relatively well in 1966-1967; the budget was up over $600,000. The new women’s dormitory was ready for occupancy in the fall, and this provided on-campus living space for 440 single women. The building was named Collette Hall in honor of Ida King Collette, a pioneer Calcasieu Parish teacher. The new cafeteria did not open until spring, and even then the work on the student center was unfinished. The infirmary, named for Dr. Thomas Henry Watkins, an early twentieth-century physician in the area, was in operation before the end of the year. The bookstore, post office, and publications office moved into the old cafeteria space when it was vacated. In January President Cusic announced that if federal financing could be arranged, a new three-story education building and a "unique" circular administration building would go up. (58)

The Sixties were in full sway among American college students by 1966, but little of this turmoil affected McNeese. The McNeese Forum, gatherings of students to discuss current issues, did take note of the foreign affairs. In October a vote at the end of discussion was that foreign aid should be continued, and the November forum narrowly supported United States foreign policy in general. There were strong reservations about "over-commitment" in November, but in February the vote of participants was over three to one in favor of escalation in the Vietnamese War. A January discussion on the existence of fraternities and sororities resulted in a strong endorsement of such organizations, and in May the topic was whether Ronald Reagan should be elected president in 1968, to which the students voted no. Obviously, however, the most enjoyed discussion centered on whether coeds came to college primarily to find husbands. The strongest speaker for the affirmative, by the way, was a coed, but the forum voted down the proposition. (59)

John LaVern was Student Government Association president for the year, with Jim Hopkins and Kathy Bourgeois as vice presidents, Louis Campbell as treasurer, and Brenda Clark as secretary. Timothy DeRouen was cadet colonel. Lemuel E. Hawsey, III, who would play a large part in campus affairs while at McNeese, received the first McNeese Foundation Scholarship, a $1,000 a year for four years. In January 1967, graduate student Edgar King, Jr., received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture for the study of a new termite that had appeared in Louisiana, and senior pre-medical student John A. Worrell won a merit scholarship to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Kenneth V. Moss, a brilliant young man who completed the requirements for a degree at McNeese in two and one half years and was McNeese’s first recipient of a Woodrow Wilson fellowship, received a grant of $2,500 from the Atomic Energy Commission for advanced study at any university on the Commission’s approved list. (60)

Two McNeese music students, Mrs. Ruby B. McClung and Patrick Trimble, tied for second place in the Louisiana Federation of Music Clubs competition contest. In April Mrs. Josie DiGiglia gave her senior piano recital, and her husband, Dr. John A. DiGiglia, a special art student, presented a one-man exhibit in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building. Another music major, Robert L. Hackett, won a scholarship to the Tulane University Law School, and Annette Chevalier, a botany major, won a graduate assistantship at the University of Massachusetts. Kenneth R. Tyree, who was honored as an outstanding accounting student by the Lake Charles Chapter of the Society of Louisiana Public Certified Accountants, was awarded an assistantship for graduate work in accounting by the University of Maryland. Four Mathematics Department graduates distinguished themselves. Charles Braught received a National Science Council traineeship at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and Timothy DeRouen received a National Defense Education Act fellowship to the same institution. Larry Fontenot was awarded a graduate assistantship at Florida State University for work in that school’s computer center, and John Patin received a biometry traineeship at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine. (61)

Before the end of the 1966-1967 year, all fraternities and sororities on the campus had national affiliations. On December 10, 1966, Delta Theta Chi fraternity became Kappa Sigma. The others were Pi Kappa Phi, Alpha Kappa Lambda, and Tau Kappa Epsilon. The three active sororities were Chi Omega, Phi Mu, and Alpha Delta Pi. Two of the sororities, Phi Mu and Chi Omega, rented houses off the campus during this academic year. Thirty-five students were selected for Who’s Who, and 12 of them were education majors. The other 23 represented 11 disciplines, with 4 from mathematics, and 3 each from biology and pre-law. Twenty-five students had a 4.0 average in the fall semester, slightly more than one half of one percent of the student body; this percentage would grow with the years. A study by the registrar's office on the fall semester’s grades provides some interest; of 2,979 full-time students who had completed at least one semester at McNeese, freshman overall averaged 1.78, sophomores 2.28, juniors 2.45, and seniors 2.70. More interesting perhaps, is the fact that women averaged 2.36 and men only 1.95. (62)

The debate team, in its eleventh year under William Casey, but with Ronald Skinner now helping as a coach, had an erratic year. The team placed fifth in the Louisiana Tech Forensic tournament in December, but placed second against stronger competition at the University of Arkansas in December. In the latter contests Jude Theriot and Mary Frances Casey particularly distinguished themselves. At the Tulane tournament in January, the unheard-of took place and McNeese was eliminated. In February, however, Theriot, Casey, Wes Shinn, Louis Campbell, Gordon Propst, and John LaVern won the Azalea Tournament at Spring Hill, then went on to win the Gulf States Invitational at Hattiesburg. But when Harvard’s team arrived in April, the judges ruled in a 10 to 3 decision that the Ivy League debaters had won, making the series 6 to 3 in favor of McNeese. (63)

Queen of the freshman in 1966 was Sandy Kendrick, attended by Kay Wallace, Judy Eagle, Jan Cossey, and Tina LeBlanc. Linda Kaye Smith was Homecoming Queen, and Sherry Kordisch, Charlotte Tyson, Joyce Wyninger, Sheryl LeBleu, Laura Daigle, and Jan Cossey made up her court. Sheryl LeBleu was LaBelle, and her maids were Vivian Barbee, Rita Faulk, Pam Ford, Joanie Guillory, Sheila Sierra, Linda Kaye Smith, Melissa Stewart, and Cheryl Veron. Finally, McNeese coed Connie Berry was Miss Lake Charles in spring 1967. (64)

Larry A. Roach was president of the alumni in 1966-1967, with Mrs. Pat Domingues and Daniel Ieyoub as his vice presidents. At Homecoming, W. T. Burton, Dr. R. Gordon Holcombe, Jr., Harry Huber, and E. R. Kaufman were made honorary members of the Alumni Association. O. D. Hyatt received the alumni president’s cup, and "coach" Ratcliff and Louis Reilly were awarded 20-year pins. During the year First Lieutenant John R. Croom, class of 1964, won the bronze star in Vietnam for adjusting artillery fire while himself under heavy fire, and John C. Odom, a 1962 graduate, became a pilot for United Airlines. (65)

Many new faculty came to McNeese in the fall of 1966 including Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert J. Romero as Professor of Military Science and Tactics. Among a number of new appointments in Science, Kalil Ieyoub was appointed assistant professor of Chemistry, and Anthony Mayeux was among new teachers in the School of Humanities. Don Wilder joined the Music faculty, as did Ruby Womack. Womack, a 1965 graduate, had earned a master’s degree and was returning as staff accompanist. New Education faculty included Toffee Nassar, Ralph Womack, and Loretta LeBato. Jim Brown, who had played on the 1959-1961 McNeese tennis team and then had earned a master’s degree and served a year in the Peace Corps, became an instructor in Health and Physical Education and tennis coach. Ernest Duplechin and Al Tregle were ranked as instructors in Health and Physical Education, but their actual function was as assistant football coaches. (66)

Among those returning to graduate school in the summer of 1966 were George Cole and Clet Gary from the Department of Social Sciences, Robert Glynn Carver, J. Bennett Lewis, Frank A. Pigno, and Betty M. Walker from the Sciences, and Maurice Pullig, Edward Steiner, and Fred Sahlmann of the Division of Fine Arts. Sahlmann received his doctorate from the Eastern School of Music, and during the year, Glen Johnson earned a doctorate from the University of Arkansas. Clarence Hughes received a doctorate in education from Arkansas, and Kalil Ieyoub received the Ph.D. from Louisiana State University. Joseph Smith in Chemistry, Doris Conway in Education, and Clifford Byrne in Languages were promoted to full professor, and Maria Bustillo in Languages was promoted from instructor to assistant professor. (67)

Zoologist James D. Lane, normally a bat specialist, spent the summer of 1966 collecting chipmunks in the desert Southwest. In August Warrick J. Dickson attended a two-week workshop on biological electron microscopy at the University of California at Berkeley. President Cusic attended a Community Leader Seminar on the role of the United Nations in United States foreign policy in New York in October, and John Norris spoke to the National Reading Conference at its meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida. Francis Bulber, as usual, attended the annual meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music, this year in Dallas. From the Division of Education Bruce Landers attended the meeting of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; Don Lyons attended the Association for Student Teaching; and James Hobbs attended the meeting of the Association for the History of Education. For much more extended travel, George Dukes left in September for England, where he did post-doctoral study at the University of London, and in the Spring Glen Johnson took a year’s leave to serve as agronomy adviser to the Kingdom of Nepal. (68)

Members of the faculty of the Division of Fine Arts were especially active in 1966-1967 in the demonstration of their creative talents. Sculptures by Nowell Daste were selected for showing with a traveling exhibit sponsored by the Southern Association of Sculptors, and Arthur R. Bond had a one-man exhibit at the Camellia House Gift Shop on Iris Street. Don Wilder became the new conductor of the Lake Charles Civic Symphony, and Woodrow James scored a first and a second in the Louisiana Federation of Music Clubs composition competition. Flutist Patricia Bulber and baritone Edward Steiner presented a joint faculty recital, and Fred Sahlmann gave another of his extremely popular piano recitals. (69)

Albert Stoutamire had articles accepted by three publications, The Instrumentalist, Music Educator’s Journal, and American Music Teacher. Head Librarian Samuel Marino contributed an essay to a festschrift in honor of Rudolph H. Gjelsness, longtime chairman of the Department of Library Science at the University of Michigan, and Glen Johnson published an article in Agricultural Education Magazine. Pat Ford read a paper at the meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in New Orleans, a meeting also attended by Roy Dobyns, and John Beverly of the Department of Agriculture presented a paper to the American Society of Animal Science at its meeting at Rutgers University, a paper accepted for publication by the Journal of Animal Science. Joe Gray Taylor had a booklet published by Teachers’ College Press of Columbia University and was elected president of the Louisiana Historical Association. Obviously, the faculty of McNeese State University was rapidly growing in professional competency and reputation. At the beginning of the 1966-1967 academic year, the number of faculty holding terminal degrees exceeded 20 percent. (70)

Professional soloists for the Messiah on December 4, 1966, were soprano Patti Thompson, mezzo soprano Inci Basarir, baritone Richard Best, and tenor Blake Stern. The performance was broadcast over the country and much of the world on December 24. The Messiah chorus was disappointed, however, when lack of money prevented its accepting an invitation to sing in Taxco, Mexico, in the spring. The invitation resulted from the fact that former chorus member Ruby Nickel was the wife of the mayor of the Mexican town. The Bayou Players were almost incredibly active. In June they presented Ibsen’s attack on water pollution, An Enemy of the People, with Lowell Wilson playing the chief character. In the fall the audience saw Shaw’s The Devil’s Disciple, and in December Arthur Miller’s All My Sons had a four-night run with David Streeter in the main role. Finally, in the spring, came Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor. (71)

The McNeese-Lion’s Club presentation for 1967 was The Music Man, presented in the Auditorium March 9-11, and at Bolton High School in Alexandria on March 20. Frederick Tooley was stage director, William Groves chorus director, Lady Leah LaFargue Hathaway choreographer and dance director, Patricia Bulber and Mrs. Betty J. Crossley orchestra coaches, and Ruby Womack accompanist. Forty-seven singers and dancers participated and no fewer than 19 songs were sung. Donna Chapman played Marian the Librarian, and Richard Leff and Maurice Serice alternated as Howard Hill. The newspaper review by J. Stacy gave the performance high praise. (72)

In the Spring Bob Hayes was hired as track coach, and he would hold that job for many years. The football team won 5 games and lost 5, and the basketball team did better with a 12-10 record. In baseball the record was 14-13, and apparently the golf and tennis record was equally mediocre. No McNeese athletes were black or, if so, their pictures in the Log do not reveal the fact. (73)

Mr. A. D. Smith of the State Board of Education was the speaker when 144 summer students were awarded degrees. Mrs. Glynn Ann Kline was the only cum laude graduate in the group. In January, the number of graduates was 119, and three of them were McNeese’s first engineering graduates. State Board member Fred Tannehill was the speaker when 299 undergraduates and 34 graduate students received degrees in May 1967, and as befitted the times, his speech attacked "defiance of authority." Cum laude graduates were Mrs. Barbara Ann Beard, Timothy Allen DeRouen, David E. Ellender, Larry Lee Fontenot, Mrs. Betty Paige Hanchey, Joel Hext, John A. Hicks, Kenneth Van Moss, Peggy Ward Myers, John R. Patin, Mrs. Madeline Hearn Reynolds, Mrs. Evelyn White Roberts, and Nancy Lynn Thornton. (74)

McNeese was growing in size and in quality as the sixties wore on. While the Vietnamese War raged in Asia, and while college and university campuses were the scene of student protests that grew more and more violent and unruly, McNeese students and faculty concentrated upon academic and material improvements. The college would not be able to remain isolated in the years to come, but because it did concentrate on essentials, it would not be damaged nearly as much as could have been the case.


Growing Ambitions

Enrollment in the fall of 1967 came to 4,542, a 5.2 percent increase over the previous fall semester. Contributing to this total were 1,995 freshman, 894 sophomores, 643 juniors, 687 seniors, and 308 graduate students. Registration fees were still $85, but dormitory room and board had gone up to $320 a semester. Even so, for the first time in McNeese history, mote than 1,000 students lived on campus. In the spring there were 4,366 survivors: 1,870 freshman, 867 sophomores, 642 juniors, 599 seniors, and 376 graduate students. Parking decals were issued for more than 3,000 automobiles. (1)

During the summer two students, Donald J. Frederick and Howard White, Jr., both from Abbeville, were killed in an automobile accident near Jennings, and in November student Manuel Franklin Green died in a crash on Interstate 10 near Vinton. The next spring, Mr. John McNeese, last surviving child of the John McNeese for whom the college was named, died in Mississippi at the age of 83. (2)

The Catalogue for 1967-1968 showed a total of 56 four-year curricula, 5 in the Division of Commerce, 15 in the Division of Education, 12 in the Division of Fine arts (all but three in music), 7 in the Division of Humanities, and 24 in the Division of Pure and Applied Sciences. Half of the Science curricula were in Agriculture and Home Economics, and four were in Engineering. One was a new four-year degree in Environmental Science offered by the Department of Microbiology. In addition to the four-year curricula, there were five two-year programs, including a new one in Mortuary Science. These curricula were supported by a total of 919 separate courses, of which 149 could be taken by undergraduates and graduates, 139 by graduates only.

The Music Department offered a new master of music degree, and a veritable plethora of graduate degrees was planned for the coming year. The Division of Science would offer a master of science degree in microbiology and the Division of Commerce announced a a master of business administration and a master of business education. The Division of Education, already offering an education specialist degree in reading, announced that now that degree would be available in school administration, counseling and guidance, health and physical education, and elementary education. Then in January it was announced that McNeese would begin awarding a doctor of education degree. (3)

The granting of doctorates, even doctorates in education, was a highly controversial matter. The wisdom of the action was doubted by many McNeese faculty members, including some who served on the Graduate Council. Nonetheless, at its November meeting in 1967, the State Board authorized McNeese and most other state colleges to offer the degree. Cecil Taylor, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Louisiana State University, questioned the worth of such degrees and suggested that they might lead to a "quality gap." For this he was roundly censured, one could almost say damned, by five state college presidents. On campus, Dean of the Graduate Division Girard and Dean of Education Landers insisted that a doctorate in education from McNeese would be just as good as such a degree from anywhere, and they may well have been right. On the other hand, in a few years the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges would take a dim view of the doctoral program, and the Louisiana Board of Regents would eventually order it terminated. (4)

McNeese did extremely well in gaining new facilities during the 1967-1968 academic year. In July Bartley, Inc. won the contract to build the new science building, and construction began soon afterward. In May 1967 the college had obtained from the federal government and the legislature almost $2,000,000 for the Education Building and the circular administration building planned earlier, and this construction began February 15, 1968. Then in the spring a legislative appropriation and a grant from the United States Office of Education provided the money for an Agriculture and Home Economics building west of Ryan Street. Finally, philanthropist W. T. Burton gave $65,000 to McNeese’s new computer center. (5)

A curious incident of the spring of 1968 was a controversial plan to build a six-story, privately owned dormitory and cafeteria complex on the campus east of Ryan Street over Contraband Bayou. The rationale was that since the state was constitutionally forbidden to pay more than five percent interest, it could not sell the bonds to finance this project. Three members of the State Board of Education - A. D. Smith, J. Marshall Brown, and Boyd M. Woodard - were on the board of directors of the non-profit corporation created to promote this plan, and the State Board went so far as to state that it would seek bids for lease of the campus land to be used for this purpose. The project was short lived; it seemed to have been viewed with considerable suspicion by the public, and when the Louisiana State Attorney General announced that in his opinion the plan was illegal, it was quietly dropped. (6)

The year brought some significant changes in academic administration. William F. Matthews became head of the new Department of Mortuary Science, and Willard E. Hohnstein was appointed head of a new Department of Economics. Samuel Marino resigned after nine years as head librarian, and Clifford M. Byrne of the Department of Languages was named his replacement. Benjamin Harlow replaced Byrne as Coordinator of the Evening School, a position he would retain through many changes in title for more than twenty years. Maurice D. Pullig was named acting head of the Department of Speech with the understanding that he would become head when he received the doctoral degree. Finally, in the spring, Mrs. Constance White retired as head of the Department of Nursing and was replaced by Mrs. Lynda Jones. (7)

Those who attended McNeese in 1967-1968 may remember that in January the college joined the area public schools in closing down for part of one week because of a near-epidemic of influenza and other respiratory diseases. There was some shock when five students were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. More memorable, no doubt, was the fact that the kudzu along Contraband Bayou became infested with rats; some of the rodents were said to be chasing girls! (8)

Student opinion focused on a number of subjects during the year, but the radicalism abroad on so many campuses hardly touched McNeese. The Contraband had a "Radical Corner" column, but the most radical proposals were the abolition of compulsory attendance and doing away with compulsory ROTC. There was only one "demonstration," if it might be called that, and it was certainly not radical. In fact, it was disgracefully racist; when the flag was flown at half-staff after the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr., a small group of white students sought to raise it again to full staff. A racial conflict was about to break out when President Cusic ordered the flag struck. Students demanding change did accomplish something when they got the president to agree that one student should serve on each of the standing faculty committees, but the impetus for this came more from the State Board of Education than from the student body. (9)

Some students favored getting out of Vietnam; others favored enlarging the war. Almost nobody favored continuing without doing one or the other. The student forum voted down drafting women, but by a narrow margin; opinion was much more decisively in favor of the investigation of the Kennedy assassination then being carried on by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. By a decisive margin, students participating in the forum also disapproved of the legalization of marijuana, and they concluded that the United States was not in a state of decline. No presidential candidate had a majority at McNeese in April 1968, though Richard Nixon led with 23.3 percent. George Wallace was second, Robert Kennedy third, Eugene McCarthy fourth, and Lyndon B. Johnson, who had already announced that he could not be a candidate, fifth. Hubert Humphrey, who was eventually the Democratic candidate and a near winner, was not even on the ballot. (10)

James Hopkins was president of the student body in 1967-1968, with John Caulking and Wes Shinn as vice presidents and Ira Spears treasurer. William G. Mitchell was cadet colonel, and Sharon LeBleu was Little Colonel for the ROTC. Peter Leathard received a merit award from the auxiliary of the Louisiana Engineering Society chapter of Lake Charles, and Wayne L. Broussard got a cash award from the Society. Mary Rosalind Breaux was the outstanding home economics student of the year, and William Davis was outstanding agriculture student. A number of students distinguished themselves in the Louisiana College Writers Society contest: David Vancil took first place in short story; Patricia Pofahl was second in personal essay; David Ragona placed third in a one-act play; and Gayle Marshall and Sally Gerber earned honorable mention in general essay. (11)

Laurine Elkins, senior in piano, won a three-year fellowship for graduate work at the University of Texas, and Wesley Harold Martin was awarded a fellowship in mathematics by the University of Oklahoma. R. S. Young, Jr., a physics major from Sulphur, was offered no fewer than five fellowships; he accepted one from the National Science Foundation to be used at the University of Texas. Ira Spears, a senior in business administration, received the Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award, and Sonja C. Ellzey earned a National Defense Education Act fellowship to the University of Kansas and a major scholarship offered by that university. Mrs. Jeri Sue Smith won an assistantship in veterinary physiology at Texas A&M University, the first woman ever to receive this honor. Finally, seven McNeese graduates were accepted for medical training: Barry Davison at Baylor, and Steve Price, Jr., Foster Kordisch, Jackie Graham, Edmund Nagem, Jr., John Snatic, and Terrell Murphy at LSU. (12)

The debate team had a good start when three outstanding high school debaters - Lemuel Hawsey, III, of Lake Charles High School, Bob Kennedy of LaGrange, and Dian Guillot of Lafayette, Northside - chose to attend McNeese. William Casey was on sabbatical in 1967-1968, leaving coaching entirely on the shoulders of Ronald Skinner, who certainly proved equal to the task. Senior debaters were Jim Hopkins and Gordon Propst; juniors were Mike Adams, Jude Theriot, and Wes Shinn. Mary Frances Casey, Connie Stewart, David Tolin, Bryant Kuntz, Karen Wyatt, and Dare Summers were sophomores. Freshman were those mentioned above, plus Nelson Moss and James Jacobs. The team ranked fifteenth among 69 teams in the Texas Christian College Tournament in November, second among 22 at the Louisiana Tech Forensics tournament, and first among 45 at the University of Arkansas. Finally, the team was third in the Great Midwestern Speech Tournament at Oklahoma State University. For the debaters however, the high point of the year was almost certainly the night when by a unanimous vote of the judges, Gordon Propst and Jude Theriot defeated Harvard before KPLC television cameras. (13)

Diane Dunphy was Freshman Queen in 1967, and Amy De Cook, Willie Landry, Cheryl Prejean, and Sharon Andrus were her maids. Melissa Stewart reigned over Homecoming, with Joyce Wyninger, Allison Dark, Cathy Berry, Laura Daigle, Connie Berry, and Diane Dunphy in her court. Allison Dark was the daughter of Adrienne Managan Dark who had been the first homecoming queen at John McNeese Junior College. Laura Faye Daigle was LaBelle a second time, attended by Connie Berry, Dottie Daws, Terri Hollingsworth, Bonnie Johnson, Melissa Stewart, Joanie Guillory, Nancy Ray, and Joyce Wyninger. One of the Berry sisters, Connie, was queen of the Louisiana Dairy Festival in Abbeville, and Terri Hollingsworth was McNeese’s entry into Glamour Magazine’s Ten Best Dressed Coeds contest. (14)

Daniel Ieyoub became president of the alumni in October 1967, with Bobby Gauthreaux, Leland Parra, and Genevieve Ancelet as vice presidents. New members of the Board of Directors were James Beam, Dr. Robert O. Emmett, Bob E. Finnegan, William C. Fontenot, and Jerry Trouard. Margery Wilson was awarded the alumni president’s cup, a well-deserved honor. At Homecoming the alumni promoted a reunion of the first graduating class and were pleased at the high attendance. Lee J. Romero was recognized at honors night at Loyola University as the outstanding law student of that university. Romero was a recent graduate of McNeese, but as alumni grew older and more numerous, they were becoming more and more influential members of Southwest Louisiana society. (15)

A large number of faculty were away on sabbatical in 1967-1968. Huey McFatter and Frank Ingraham took summer sabbatical from the Division of Commerce, Barbara Belew from Fine Arts, Roy Dobyns and Mrs. Emerite Wilkinson from the Division of Pure and Applied Science, and Raymond LeBlanc and Joe Gray Taylor from the Division of Humanities. Loris Galford from the English Department, William Casey from Speech, Eldon Bailey from Accounting, and John Carson from Business Administration were on sabbatical for a semester or the entire year. He was not on sabbatical leave, but Don Wilder and two students, Mary Ann Giltner and Darrell Carriere, spent the summer in Pennsylvania working in summer stock. (16)

Fifteen new faculty members reported in the fall of 1967. Many of them were transitory, but they included Roy G. Robinson, Wilbur L. Dahlquist, John C. Young, James C. Watson, and Clifford L. Gaither in the sciences; Jerry W. Brown in Speech; Dr. Nicola Vulkovic, Robert Turner, and Duford Henry in Commerce, and William G. McCall, alumnus Theodore L. Moon, and alumnus Curtis S. Nelson, Jr., in Humanities. In Fine Arts, Albert Stoutamire was promoted to professor, Fred Sahlmann to associate professor, and in the Division of Education Robert H. James and Thomas Brand were advanced to associate professor. Thomas Brand received his doctorate from Baylor University in August, the same month in which Wilbur Dahlquist, onetime McNeese football letterman, was awarded the Ph.D. in physics from LSU. In the spring Don Adams of Engineering received his Ph.D. from Oklahoma State. Not yet on the McNeese faculty, but soon to be, alumnus Larry DeRouen, assistant professor at USL, earned the Ph.D. in French from LSU. No faulty member was busier than Anthony Mayeux. In July he was selected to attend an institute on electronic teaching devices at Tulane University, and in September State Superintendent of Education William J. Dodd selected him to serve as a consultant to the Louisiana Foreign Language Advisory Council. Then in December, at Shreveport, he was elected vice president of the Louisiana Foreign Language Teachers Association, and in April he attended a conference on education opportunities for Mexican Americans at Austin, Texas. (17)

Other faculty members and administrators were moving about the country. Armand Perrault attended an institute for deans of schools of Business on the campus of the University of Indiana, and Bruce Landers went to an Educational Development Laboratory conference in Austin, Texas. Kathleen Allums, Franklin LeBar, and Fred Sahlmann attended the Regional Convention of the Music Teachers National Association in New Orleans, and Ellis Guillory attended an institute for student personnel officers at Michigan State University. Tony Byles conducted a one-day seminar on special education at the University of Virginia on April 12, then went on to New York City to attend an International Council on Exceptional Children. He had hardly returned to the campus when he departed for Denver and a conference on improving the education of the handicapped. (18)

Don Wilder of the Music Department conducted the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra in two concerts in October 1967, and Fred Sahlmann gave piano recitals at Sam Houston College and at Elon College in November, and then an organ recital to dedicate a new Music Department organ in March. The Louisiana Association of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation presented its annual state honor award to Hans Leis. Ralph Womack was on the program of the San Diego meeting of the Association for Childhood Education, and E. F. Stallings read a paper to the Southwestern Division, Association of American Geographers, meeting at Dallas. A composition by Woodrow James won first prize in the instrumental category in the Louisiana Federation of Music Clubs competition, and William Groves spoke to the National Catholic Music Education Association meeting in Houston. (19)

Three faculty members had significant publications during the year. Albert L. Stoutamire published an article in The American Music Teacher, and Joe Gray Taylor's presidential address to the Louisiana Historical Association was published in Louisiana History; Ray Dobyns collaborated with John D. Baum to produce a mathematics textbook, The Structure of the Real Number System. The most important contribution to knowledge by a member of the McNeese faculty was the discovery by Dr. Joe Black of a new species of crayfish. Black named his new discovery Cambarus macneesei in honor of John McNeese. (20)

During the summer of 1967, the Messiah chorus presented "An Evening of Opera," with Mrs. Lois Ferguson, Patricia York, and Barbara Vincent Cady in lead roles. A newspaper critic gave the performance a stellar review, with particular praise for Patricia York and Charlotte Palmer. The annual Messiah presentation came on the afternoon of December 2, and Kathleen Allums and Tim Dugas were given silver bowls for 25 years’ participation. The program noted that the trip to Mexico that had been impossible earlier in the year would take place in 1968, but in the end money was as big an obstacle as before and the trip was never made. (21

The first dramatic production of the year was the Jean Anouilh adaptation of Antigone that had been presented some years earlier. Jude Theriot played the chorus, Mary Margaret Miller the title role, and Norris LeBoeuf portrayed King Creon. Contraband editor Jim Stacy’s review had high praise for Miss Miller, less for the remainder of the cast. In December the stage story of Helen Keller, The Miracle Worker, was performed. This was directed by Jerry Brown, with Brenda Bachrach as Annie Sullivan and Brenda Manuel as Helen Keller. The spring musical was Where’s Charley, a musical adaptation of the play Charley’s Aunt. Maurice Serice had the title role with Charlotte Palmer as his romantic lead. Other singing roles were taken by Patricia Sandlin, Lloyd Nelson, Richard Ramsey, Barbara Cady, Douglas Lee, Eddy Johnson, David Slaydon, Gregory LeDoux, and Darrell Carriere. The last play of the year was Shakespeare’s Tempest, with James Cuplin as Prospero, Maureen Griffs as Miranda, Bill Stratton as Ariel, and Paul A. Thomas as Caliban. (22)

Other cultural opportunities during the year, highbrow and lowbrow, were numerous. An art gallery of sorts opened in the former lounge on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building in September, and religious art by Sister Mary Corita, I. H. S., of Los Angeles and James D. Robison of Lafayette went on exhibit in November. In October, the Lake Charles Civic Symphony opened its tenth season in the Auditorium under the baton of Don Wilder of the McNeese faculty, and in November a professional French stage company, Les Comediens Francaise, sponsored by France-Amerique, presented Le Troisieme Temoin. Editor, publisher, and critic Bennett Cerf spoke on December 1, and then in March the New Christy Minstrels displayed their talents. The Concerts and Lectures Series presented The Battle of the Sexes, a pastiche of famous scenes from various plays in which the age-old battle was fought, and which had done well on Broadway. Agnes Moorehead appeared once more on April 22, far better known now from her role on the television comedy Bewitched than she had ever been during her great days on the stage. Finally, not long before final examinations began, Duke Ellington and his orchestra appeared, presumably to raise money for a Lake Charles zoo, which never materialized. (23)

The 1967-1968 academic year was a banner year for McNeese athletics. The coaching staff changed little, with A. I. Ratcliff still athletic director, Jim Clark head football coach, and Ralph Ward head basketball coach. Desmond Jones coached baseball and assisted with football, Charles Kuehn coached track and assisted with football, and Ernie Duplechin and Alfred F. Tregle concentrated on assisting Clark with football. Don Scott became golf coach, and Jim Brown, who had played on the championship tennis team of 1960, became tennis coach. (24)

The football team had an overall record of 4 games won and 5 lost, but all four victories were over GSC teams, which gave McNeese the conference championship. Clark was GSC coach of the year, and four players - Dickie Coburn, Earl Gothreaux, Nick Hebert, and Charles Landry - were named to the all-GSC team. Ralph Ward continued his winning ways, his team compiling a 23-3 record to tie with USL for the GSC championship. He also fielded the first black athlete in McNeese history, Willie Lee. During the season, Ward passed the 250 mark in basketball victories. He repeated a 1950 exploit by coaching a game with Northeastern by telephone from his sickbed. He was once more GSC coach of the year, and earned the same honor for NAIA District 27. The McNeese women’s basketball team, without scholarships and with very little support of any kind, managed to finish third in the Iowa (Louisiana) Invitational Tournament. The college also did reasonably well in the "lesser" sports. The cross-country squad placed fourth in the GSC conference meet, and the track team did equally well in the spring. The baseball team ranked fourth in the conference, and the golf team ranked third. Jim Brown proved that his championship habit had not atrophied; his tennis team brought McNeese first place in tennis in the GSC for the first time since 1961. (25)

Summer graduation brought degrees to 160 students and honors to Geneva Louise LaVern, Evelyn Gayle Broussard, and Sheridan Eugene Van Hook; 125 graduated in January. Federal Judge Edwin Hunter spoke to 387 graduates in May. This commencement was unique in that the first two-year associate in science degrees in technology and the first education specialist degrees were awarded. Mrs. Mary Landers and Mrs. Bessie Hobbs, wives of Dean Landers and Professor Hobbs of the Division of Education, were the first students to receive the new education specialist degree. One of those receiving a bachelor's degree was A. L. Bridges, who began taking classes at McNeese in 1952 when he was 38. Working full time and taking courses only at night, he finally got his degree in business administration at age 54. Cum laude graduates in May 1968 were Mrs. Louise Baker, Barbara Burch, David C. Clayton, Susan Daigle, Sandra Davis, Barry H. Davison, Laurine Elkins, Sonja Ellzey, Evelyn Fryar, Peggy Kalna, Diane Laborde, Mrs. Jeri Smith, Ira B. Spears, Mrs. Paula A. Watts, and Mrs. Barbara Williams. (26)


Enrollment for the fall semester 1968 exceeded 5,000 for the first time in McNeese history. The total was made up of 2,940 men and 2,150 women, 4,618 undergraduates and 472 graduate students. By classes there were 2,081 freshman, 959 sophomores, 746 juniors, and 780 seniors. This was a total increase of 12 percent, but the increase in freshman enrollment was only 4%. There was a warning here, and it became louder when total spring enrollment in 1969 was 4,533, a total increase of less than 4%. There were only 1,546 freshman as compared to 1,870 the previous spring. Most of the increase in fact, was in graduate students. The boom days were almost over; enrollment was leveling off. (27)

Academically, 1968-1969 saw some significant changes. The Department of Technology, instituted the previous year under Thomas Hampton, was moved to Chennault. The college was now offering a master’s degree in chemical engineering and would in the second semester begin offering graduate degrees in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. A new Department of History came into being, headed by Joe Gray Taylor, and a new curriculum in art education attracted 26 students the first year it was offered. During the year a decision was reached to make ROTC voluntary, so this was the last year in which all male students had to register for military training. As noted earlier, there was a new master’s degree in microbiology, and the new doctorate of education was offered. Indeed, the catalogue spoke of a Ph.D. in education, but no student was ever registered in a Ph.D. program. (28)

This was one of many years that have demonstrated that the gubernatorial administrations and legislatures of Louisiana in the last half of the twentieth century have had little real concern for higher education. President Cusic asked for $4,850,000 from state appropriations, expecting $661,000 from other sources. Instead the legislature appropriated $3,960,000, giving a total operational budget of only $4,600,000. Enrollment, as noted, was up over 12%, and funds for operating expenses were up only 2.1 percent. Governor McKeithen called a special session of the legislature to deal with these problems, but the special session gave higher education nothing. As an act of desperation, Northeastern State College at Monroe and McNeese asked for permission to operate at a deficit. This permission went to Northeastern, but it was denied to McNeese. Instead, the State Board instructed the state colleges to reduce their budgets by 30 percent for the 1969-1970 year. The board did permit a $50 tuition increase for the spring semester, and then made the increase permanent, and President Cusic was given permission to use some of this money for faculty raises, though none of it could go to administrators. (29)

Construction of new facilities continued, with the new Physical Science building nearing completion and an Education Center and an administration building under construction. In November, Bartley, Inc., won the contract to build two four-story dormitories, one for men and one for women, and work began on these projects before the end of the month. The Science building would be functioning before the end of the fall semester. (30)

Wesley (Wes) Shinn was elected SGA President in the spring of 1968 with Gayle Marshall and Adam Ortego as vice presidents. James Fruge was cadet colonel, and Bonnie Johnson was Little Colonel of the cadet corps. At the student government banquet in May, Lemuel (Chick) Hawsey was named outstanding senator. A month earlier, Hawsey had been elected governor of the Louisiana Intercollegiate Legislature. But to most minds, the outstanding student of the 1968-1969 was Joe Barbour, 73 years old, retired from a highly successful business career, who had decided to return to college. Not only did he enroll, but he pledged Kappa Sigma social fraternity. There was no more popular or respected figure on campus. (31)

Bryan Gray, a junior music student specializing in organ, won a Rotary Foundation scholarship for a year’s study in France in the fall, and in the spring French major Gary Medrano won a scholarship from the government of France for an expense-paid six weeks of study at the International Center for French Studies at Point-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. Wes Shinn won the Tulane Law School scholarship in 1969, and Patricia York won second prize in the Metropolitan Opera Company’s Gulf States Regional Auditions, receiving the Anne Dupont Peyton Memorial Prize of $200. Anna Marie Maricle was the outstanding female student in the Home Economics Department, and C. J. Tornabene was the outstanding male student in agriculture. From the Biological Science Department, Vicki Lee and Susie Parsons, classmates throughout McNeese, won three-year NDEA fellowships at the University of Houston. (32)

The debate team - including David Tolin, "Chick" Hawsey, Mary Frances Casey, Bob Kennedy, Ann Hogan, Jerry Casey, Diana Dudoit, Karen Wyatt, Brenda Manuel, Malcolm Lowrey, Teresa Payne, and Karen Hardy - had an exceptionally good year. After an uncertain start at Emory University, where McNeese placed 23rd in a field of 124 colleges and universities, the debaters won the University of Arkansas Razorback Tournament at Fayetteville and brought home the trophy for the Fulbright Sweepstakes, outpacing a field of 45 schools. The team placed second in the Azalea Tournament in Mobile, and came in 16th among 86 of the best teams in the country at the Washington Square Spring Forensic Tournament sponsored by New York University at Washington Square. In March, in Lake Charles, Diana Dudoit and Mary Frances Casey defeated Harvard to make the record between the two schools 8 for McNeese and 3 for Harvard. (33)

McNeese students were thinking about national and international issues as well as local matters during the year. In a number of polls that preceded the presidential election of November 1968, Richard Nixon and George Wallace ran neck and neck, reflecting opinion in the state as a whole. The student forum became somewhat disorderly in October when the topic was universal compulsory service, with a splinter group willing to accept neither positive or negative on the question. Another forum concluded that the commander of the Navy intelligence ship Pueblo was justified in surrendering his ship when attacked by overwhelming North Korean forces. Compulsory ROTC was the target of strong student opposition, led by "Chick" Hawsey, and in the spring the Student Senate unanimously approved a resolution calling for a voluntary ROTC. How much effect the McNeese campaign had cannot be assessed, but ROTC became voluntary statewide in a short time. In the student newspaper, the Contraband, the first of many editorials and letters in opposition to compulsory class attendance was published. Probably a skiing trip to Taos, New Mexico, sponsored by the Student Union Board, got more attention than any of the above however. (34)

Black students on campus still were not in proportion to the number of blacks in the general population of the area served by McNeese. Of 3,003 undergraduates whose pictures appeared in the 1969 Log, only 135, a mere 4.4 percent, can be identified as black. On the other hand, a black national fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, had appeared on campus, and two outstanding players on the basketball team, Willie Lee and Joe Metoyer, were black. Black History Week received more than a little attention, and Alfred Baker Lewis, national treasurer of the NAACP, spoke in the Ranch. Perhaps most significant of all, two highly articulate black students, Rudolph Keycrease and Albert Bellanger, began publishing letters in the student newspaper in which they expressed dissatisfaction with the place of blacks at McNeese, emphasizing the absence of black faculty. The future would bring more on this topic. (35)

In the spring of 1969, there were four social sororities and seven social fraternities on campus. Sororities were Alpha Delta Phi, Chi Omega, Phi Mu, and a newly organized local, Pi Sigma Rho. Five fraternities had been operational for years, Alpha Kappa Lambda, Kappa Sigma, Kappa Alpha Epsilon, Pi Kappa Phi, and Tau Kappa Epsilon. Kappa Alpha Psi, a national organization with black membership, and Phi Kappa Theta had been organized during the previous year. In addition to the social sororities and fraternities, there were 44 other student organizations on campus, far too many to be detailed in this narrative. (36)

Rita Coker was Freshman Queen in the fall of 1968, with Ann Ellender, Patsy Metreyeon, Elaine Hardesty, and Mary Jane Rodrigue as her maids. Laura Faye Daigle, who had twice been LaBelle, was Homecoming Queen, and Connie Berry, Molly Trimble, Cathy Berry, Trudy LeBlanc, Diane Dunphy, and Susan Pittman made up her court. Sara Beth Head was 1969 LaBelle, and Cathy Berry, Diane Dunphy, Joanie Guillory, Pam Lyons, Bonnie Johnson, Lynn LeBlanc, Trudy LeBlanc, and Jackie Schatzle were her attendants. In addition, coed Janie Richert was Louisiana Yambilee Queen, and Joan Ribbeck was McNeese’s nominee for Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Girls. (37)

Alumni officers for 1968-1969 were Bobby Gauthreaux president, Leland Parra, Genevieve Ancelet, and Raji Rahbany vice presidents. Kathleen Allums received the alumni president’s cup, and Inez Moses, who had retired, became an honorary alumna. When the McNeese Foundation began a $100,000 drive under the leadership of Edward Prendergast, the alumni pledged $5,000. During this year alumni in Houston organized a chapter headed by Allen Commander, and alumnus Captain Wayne Porter was awarded the silver star for gallantry in action in Vietnam. (38)

Ada Sabatier, who had been on the McNeese faculty when the school opened and who had served without interruption except for two years spent as a naval officer during World War II, retired at the end of the fall semester 1968. In the previous summer Registrar Inez Moses, who had not been at McNeese quite so long but who was also a fixture, had retired. Billy Brown became registrar, and Linda Finley became assistant registrar. This year also witnessed the death of R. L. Rouse, formerly head of the Department of Accounting, who had recently retired because of his illness. (39)

Some of the new faculty of 1968-1969 would play an important role in the years to come. In the Division of Commerce, Colonel Grady Rials, Mrs. Pat Houser, and Walter Primeaux were among the new arrivals. In the Division of Education, newcomers included Stanley Lejeune, Charley Wade Sparks, and Gene Virginia Campbell. New Humanities faculty were Larry DeRouen, Halbert A. Reeves, Mrs. Mavourneen Harrell, and Mrs. Ida W. Pope. Robert A. Jordahl, who held the Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music, joined the Fine Arts faculty as associate professor. In the Sciences, new faculty included Robert S. Maples, James H. Brooks, William J. Bergeron, Sundaram Swetharanyam, Tommy E. Bogle, and James W. Moss. (40)

Larry Covin in Education and Joe Black and Glenn Cobb in Biology were promoted to full professor this year and Kalil Ieyoub, Benjamin Ruhl, Ralph Womack, Kathleen Pittman, Tony Byles, William Casey, William Groves, and William P. Greenlee were promoted to associate professor. Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Romero of the ROTC was promoted to full colonel. All of those promoted to professor held the doctorate, and all but one of those promoted to associate professor. Ten of the new faculty held the doctorate, and Norman Smith in Music and Charley Sparks in Education would earn the degree during the year. (41)

The Council on the Development of French in Louisiana, nearly always called CODOFIL, was established in 1968; Larry DeRouen was appointed to the Council, and Anthony Mayeux was made an advisor. Ronald Skinner was elected vice president of the Louisiana Speech Association at its New Orleans meeting, and Mayor James E. Sudduth appointed William G. McCall to the Lake Charles Advisory Committee on Human Relations. The Lake Charles Junior Chamber of Commerce gave their Distinguished Service Award to Jim (Tennis Jim) Brown and Brantley Cagle, a McNeese alumnus who had become Documents Librarian in 1967, received the 1969 Handicapped American Award for Louisiana. Joe Gray Taylor and R. A. Suarez attended the meetings of the Louisiana Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians, and Taylor attended the Annual Meeting of the Southern Historical Association. John B. Keaton went to the Annual Conference of the Association of College Unions in Denver; William Groves went to Mobile to participate in the Southern Division of the Music Educators National Conference; and Norman Smith attended the College Band Directors National Association meeting. McNeese was especially prominent in the Louisiana College Conference, with Clet Girard liaison officer, R. A. Suarez on the program committee, Pat Ford chairman of the mathematics section, Larry DeRouen program chairman for modern and classical languages, and Walter Primeaux, O. D. Hyatt, and James Morriss on the program. (42)

Robert A. Jordahl, who had composed The Prospector for the Alaska Centennial of 1967, was commissioned to compose a work for the Anchorage Civic Ballet Company. Fred Sahlmann was exceptionally busy, acting as guest soloist for the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in November, giving a faculty piano recital of the works of Franz Joseph Haydn in January, and serving as guest artist with the Lake Charles Civic Symphony in April. Barbara Belew played in the Beaumont Civic Opera performance of Elixir of Love, and Bill Iles presented a collection of his paintings that he called An Exhibit to Celebrate the Joy of Seeing. Grace Ramke had works on exhibit at the University of Corpus Christi, and she put on a one-woman show in the Holbrook Ranch. In November Dr. Nicola Vulkovic read a paper to the Southern Conference on Slavic Studies, which met in 1968 at the University of Virginia. Then in March Dr. Benny D. Barridge read a paper to the South Central Branch of the American Society for Microbiology, meeting in Natchitoches. William Casey published an article in School Activities, and Donald J. Millet had an article in the winter issue of Louisiana History. Finally, Benjamin Harlow published an article in Eleusis of Chi Omega. (43)

The 29th performance of the Messiah took place in the afternoon of December 8, 1968, with soprano Barbara Blanchard, contralto Elinor Parker, tenor Dan Marek, and baritone Edward Baird as soloists. At the performance, which was broadcast over the country and to troops in Europe and Vietnam by the Armed Forces Overseas Network, silver bowls were awarded to Mrs. Myrtle M. Farque, Dr. J. Malcolm Leveque, and Mrs. Marguerite D. Mouton for 25 years with the chorus. The spring musical was The Sound of Music, with Virginia Palmer as Maria and Richard Ramsey as Captain Von Trapp. Mary Koonce was the mother abbess and Patricia York played Elsa Schrader. Others on the cast included Lloyd Nelson, Shirley Nutter, Jeanne LeBoeuf, Mrs. Diane Dyer, Patricia Klenk, and David Graham. (44)

Bertolt Brecht’s The Private Lives of the Master Race was the summer play in 1968, with Pat Hebert, Badiha Rahbany, Sue Mount, and Tom Munger in the cast. In the fall the Bayou Players' first endeavor was Jean Anouilh’s Thieves’ Carnival, which had been performed at McNeese in 1955. Norris LeBoeuf, Patrick Hebert, and Richard Nassar played the three thieves. The music that George Marshall had composed for the 1955 performance was used again for this one, and the members of the original cast who could be present were honored guests. In December, Ketti Frings’s dramatic adaptation of Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel was presented, with James Ayo as Eugene Gant, Connie Pizzolatto as his mother, Paul Thomas, Pat Hebert and Clark Borges as other family members, and Joan Landry as Laura James. In the spring the Players became ambitious, perhaps overly ambitious, and attempted Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Van Walker had the lead role, Ross Allured was Claudius, Don Honeycutt Polonius, Pat Hebert Horatio, James Ayo Laertes, Mrs. Kay Fuselier Gertrude, and Linda Robertson Ophelia. The burden of direction had fallen almost entirely upon Jerry Brown. (45)

The academic year 1968-1969 was far from the best year that McNeese athletics had ever had. The football team won 4 games and lost 6, the worst record since 1956, and placed at the bottom of the Gulf States Conference. The basketball team won 9 games while losing 12; there may have been some meaning in the appearance of a skunk in the arena during one game. The baseball team won 9 and lost 12 to tie for fourth in the GSC. Any cheer was to be found in "lesser" sports, with the cross-country team second in conference, the golf team, now coached by Don Scott, third, and the track team fourth in the GSC meet, earning coach Bob Hayes a citation as GSC track coach of the year. The only championship was in tennis; Jim Brown repeated his coup of the previous year. (46)

At the summer graduation, at which Reverend L.A. Richardson of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church was the speaker, 108 undergraduates and 58 graduates received degrees. Mrs. Flossie M. Bernard, Freda Chapman, and R. S. Young, Jr. were cum laude graduates. In February, 176 undergraduates and 19 graduates were awarded degrees. In May, Dr. Bernard F. Sliger, state commissioner of administration, was the speaker to 477 graduates. This ceremony was unique in the number of close relatives receiving degrees. Mrs. Norma Tornabene, who would eventually be dean of women and then coordinator of leisure learning for the university, received a master of education degree, and her two sons, Louis, Jr., and John, received bachelor’s degrees. Mrs. Inola H. Brown and her daughter Joyce graduated, as did Mr. and Mrs. Joseph R. Guillory and brothers James and Leroy Vincent. A brother and sister, Arnette and Wendell G. Greathouse, and two sisters, Judith and Marie Bourque, obtained degrees in this ceremony. Samuel Dent, James E. Fruge, Stephen Turner, and C. Wesley Shinn were recognized as distinguished military graduates at spring graduation. Graduating cum laude were Mary K. Allen, Mrs. Edith B. Bergstedt, Mrs. Mildred W. Collings, Mrs. Clydie Sue Cromwell, Joe M. Enis, Mrs. Leila Y. LaFargue, Eileen M. Grenier, Mary A. Johnson, Belva L. Jones, David Bruce Landers, Peter Leathard, Martha Vicki Lee, Rhena Ann Loup, Mrs. Jane L. New, Robert M. Peterson, Clinton Wesley Shinn, Mrs. Betty D. Smith, Peggy L. Stelly, Mrs. Yvonne S. Tremonte, Stephen D. Turner, and Mrs. Carolyn R. Watkins. (47)


In the summer of 1969, undergraduate enrollment was exactly what it had been the previous summer, but freshman enrollment was down from 911 to 611. Fall enrollment was lower than anticipated, only 5,150 as compared to 5,090 the previous fall. Freshman numbered 217 fewer than the previous fall, and sophomores amounted to only 958, one less than a year earlier. Juniors were up from 746 to 787, and seniors from 780 to 890. Graduate students increased more than 100, from 472 to 592. In the spring, increases in graduate students and seniors brought the total enrollment to more than the previous spring, but freshman were down from 1,546 to 1,440 and sophomores from 882 to 849. Obviously, a decline in the freshman class would carry over for three more years. (48)

The 1969-1970 year saw many changes at McNeese. First and most important, President Cusic announced his retirement and on October 15 Thomas Leary, formerly head of the Department of Engineering, was named to replace him; the early ups and downs of the Leary administration will receive detailed attention in the next chapter. The new Catalogue that came out in May 1969 changed the previous divisions to schools, but this was a change in name only, not in substance. During the summer Jack Burson became head of the Department of Technology, replacing Dr. Thomas Hampton, who had retired. The School of Education was divided into no fewer than seven separate departments, Administration and Supervision under J. D. Hobbs, Research and Instructional Materials under Robert H. Pittman, Early Childhood Education under Thomas Brand, Elementary Education under Clarence Hughes, Health and Physical Education under Hans Leis, Special Services under Edward McLaughlin, and Secondary Education under Don Lyons. A separate Department of Physics was established under Wilbur Dahlquist. After Leary took over as president, he named Robert H. Pittman as Vice President of Student and Public Affairs and Kenneth Sweeney as Director of Administrative Affairs. (49)

A number of highly important changes in policy took place during the 1969-1970 year. In the first place, by action of the State Board, ROTC became voluntary at the end of the spring semester 1969. Dress regulations for women were changed; for the first time since McNeese was established, coeds could wear slacks on campus. It is a pity that dress and hair regulations for men were not changed at the same time, but they were not. The new president was very complaisant about changes in attendance regulations. Heretofore, though enforcement was spotty, the rule had been that any student with more than three unexcused absences from a class would be dropped with a failing grade. This rule became the chief objective of the little unrest that existed on the McNeese campus in 1969, and in the spring compulsory attendance was abolished for juniors and seniors. In effect it ceased to exist for freshman and sophomores at the same time, though some faculty members sought to enforce it. There was even a bonus concession; President Leary announced at the Christmas assembly that he hoped to abolish Saturday classes beginning with fall 1970; this step was gleefully welcomed by students and faculty alike. (50)

Some significant personnel assignment changes took place in January. Gene Campbell became coordinator for curriculum enrichment grants, and Thomas Jordan became director of research and development. Clifford Gaither, who had been an instructor in Engineering, become director of physical plant, and Arthur Lee was promoted from auditor to business manager. Finally, John Smith replaced Kenneth Sweeney as McNeese farm manager, and John Oakley was moved from purchasing tangent to property control officer. In the spring Pittman’s title was changed to vice president for academic affairs, and Tony Byles became vice president of student and public affairs. (51)

The new Physical Science building was completed during the summer, and academic departments began moving in in September, though the building was not officially accepted until Homecoming. The new circular administration building was finished early in the fall, though a ruptured water pipe flooded the luxurious new quarters and forced the president to move back into Kaufman Hall for several weeks. The new dormitories were ready for occupancy at the beginning of the fall semester 1970. The Administration building was named Smith Hall in honor of deceased board member A. D. Smith; the Physical Science building was named Kirkman Hall in honor of Dr. William Kirkman, an early Calcasieu physician; and the Education building Farrar Hall. The new woman’s dormitory became Burton Hall in honor of the mother of W. T. Burton, and the new men’s dormitory was King Dormitory in honor of onetime governor Alvin O. King. Before the year was over, bids were asked for the air conditioning of Sallier Hall, for paving a 400-space parking lot, for building an office for campus security, for walkways between the dormitories and the student union building, and for an Agriculture-Home Economics complex across Ryan Street from the remainder of the college. (52)

The budgeting for a college in Louisiana is a nightmare any year, but it was especially surrealistic in 1969-1970. McNeese requested $4,974,371, slightly more than a million dollars over the previous year. Naturally the legislature cut the request drastically, but after the legislature had made its appropriation, Governor McKeithen ordered an additional $253,686 cut. Once more McNeese had a 12 percent increase in students, but only a 4% increase in operating funds. One of the most obvious ways to reduce a college’s spending, and a way that hurts no individuals directly, is to reduce the Library’s book purchases. This was done at Mcneese, but Dr. Gordon Holcombe headed an effort to raise $50,000-$100,000 for the Library. This effort did bring about $12,000, so a few additions to the Library’s collections were possible. Even so, McNeese ran a deficit for the year of slightly more than $98,000, and for a time it seemed doubtful that this deficit would be made up, but the legislature finally complied with President Leary’s request, although grudgingly. (53)

The election for the presidency of the Student Government Association for the 1969-1970 year, held in the spring of 1969, was one of the most hotly contested in McNeese history. When the final count was made, Clark Borges, a 30-year-old veteran and a native of California, had defeated Lemuel Hawsey, III, by 666 votes to 596. Borges was not only a successful SGA president on campus; he was elected Louisiana State Chairman for the Southern [Student] Government Association. Donald L. Rivers was cadet colonel, and Mary Judice and Bill Pardue were McNeese representatives to the U.S. Student Press Association College Editors Conference in Washington D.C. Art students Judy Melott and Kathleen Guzzino, the Visual Arts faculty, and artist Charlotte (Hatchette) Turner were guests of the Art Associates of Lake Charles. Jan Simon, a French major, won a scholarship for eight months study in France, with expenses paid by the French government; this was the first of these scholarships to be won by a McNeese student, but it would not be the last. Sheila D. Ellzey was chosen for a special course in air pollution at the University of Houston. Probably the outstanding student of the year, however, was Bonnie L. Darst, who in less than three years completed all requirements for a bachelor's degree in business administration and maintained a 3.938 average while doing so. (54)

McNeese students gave some attention to public affairs in general, as was demonstrated by the discussions at the student forum meetings. The forum rejected the idea of a bicameral student government; opposed state aid to private schools; voted, sixteen years ahead of the event, to do away with "blue laws" that kept businesses closed on Sunday; and as late as 1970 rejected a resolution that asked Congress to prohibit unilateral intervention in foreign nations. But hair and dress regulations, and the rules for resident women in the dormitories, received most student attention. The hair and dress issue will be discussed later, but coed dormitory residents won a modification of curfew rules. Freshman women could now stay out as late as 10:00 on any night, until midnight on Friday, and until one o’clock in the morning on Saturday nights. Sophomores were free a half hour later than freshman except Saturday nights, and juniors and seniors could remain out until 11:00 p.m. or later on any evening. A chapter of Zeta Phi Beta social sorority was established at McNeese in 1970. Kappa Alpha Epsilon social fraternity, which had been organized in 1968, voted in October 1969 to affiliate with the national Kappa Alpha Order. It would quickly become one of the larger fraternities on the campus. (55)

Bob Kennedy and Brenda Manuel were the only veterans on the 1969-1970 debate team, but newcomers Debbie LeBlanc, Steve Dever, Evelyn Oubre, Arthur Wannage, David Key, and Oliver Schrumpf were to prove a talented group. The team "placed" in the LSU Invitational at Baton Rouge, then took third place among 20 teams in the San Jacinto Invitational. At the Western Debate Tournament at Bowling Green, Kentucky, McNeese took first place, which helped the team earn a $1,200 grant from the McNeese Foundation. At the 39th Rocky Mountain International Tourney in Denver, the lead team of Arthur Wannage and David Key defeated nine opponents before losing to the University of Wyoming. In the Florida State Invitational Tournament the debaters tied with Millsaps for the first place, and at the 34th annual Louisiana Speech Tournament at Natchitoches the team not only won but took the sweepstakes. The only great disappointment of the season was that the Harvard debaters defeated McNeese in a contest that was later shown on KPLC-TV. This made the record 8 wins for McNeese, 4 for Harvard. (56)

Leland Parra was elected alumni president for 1969-1970, and in a change in electoral procedures, Bill Fontenot became president elect, Connie Berry secretary, and Rueben Broussard treasurer. The alumni president’s cup went to new college president Thomas Leary, and former governor Sam H. Jones, Cullen R. Liskow, Vance Plauche, and deceased former governor Alvin O. King became honorary alumni. Alumnus William Tolbert Martin, killed in action in Vietnam, was posthumously awarded the bronze star with citation for heroism, the air medal with seven oak leaf clusters, and two Vietnam Service Medals. Tom Sestak, All-Pro lineman for the Buffalo Bills, announced his retirement at the end of the 1969 season. (57)

The McNeese Foundation was exceptionally active this year. C.C. Hightower was reelected president; Fred Godwin, vice president; W. L. Smith, secretary; and Arthur Lee, treasurer. The fund drive was successful in raising about $170,000 in insurance policies payable to the Foundation, the largest being a $100,000 policy donated by honorary alumnus Voris King. (58)

As always McNeese produced a good crop of beauties. Letitia Goodwin was Freshman Queen in 1969; Donna Counts, Therese Lejeune, Gloria LaFleur, and Carolyn Dupree were her maids. Cathy Abelson was Homecoming Queen with Cathy Berry, Pamela Lyons, Willie Ruth Landry, Susan Thibodaux, Patsy Metreyeon, and Gloria LaFleur on her court. Willie Ruth Landry was selected as LaBelle, and she was attended by Susan Thibodaux, Catherine Anastasio, Pamela Lyons, Gloria LaFleur, Cathy Berry, Patsy Metreyeon, Clara Jean Murrell, and Joanie King. Finally, coed Linda Richards was selected to participate in the Louisiana Beauty Pageant as Miss Lake Charles. (59)

Every one who knew Lieutenant Colonel George Cole was shocked and saddened by his sudden death at age 58 on September 14, 1969. Colonel Cole, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, had come to McNeese as Professor of Military Science and Tactics after an outstanding record as a combat officer in the Second World War and the Korean War. In the Second World War he won not one, but two silver stars for valor. He served a tour of duty in Alaska after leaving McNeese then returned to Lake Charles, earned a master of arts degree at LSU, and became a member of the Social Science faculty at McNeese. Those who knew him well still miss him. (60)

New faculty, all replacements, who came to McNeese in the fall of 1969 included Robert D. Hebert in History, Hugh Brown in English, Mary Elizabeth Landers in Education, Virginia Durrett in Business Administration, John D. Bennett and Anand Singh Katiyar, and Lalitha Swetharanyam in Mathematics, Keith G. Stolzle in Chemistry, and Howard S. Minn in Engineering. Glen Johnson returned to the Department of Agriculture after two years in Nepal. Robert Bryant in Agriculture, Miriam Callender in Health and Physical Education, Roy Robinson in Biology, and Albert Clark, Jess Feist, Thomas E. Jordan, and James H. Morriss in the School of Education were promoted to professor. Thomas Brand, Walter C. Hughes, and Toffee Nassar in Education were promoted to associate professor, as were Glen Johnson in Agriculture, H. K. McFatter and Nicola Vulkovic in Business Administration, and Norman Smith in Music. (61)

McNeese began the 1969-1970 year without the services of Mrs. Margery Wilson, who retired after 25 years. Mrs. Wilson had directed no fewer than 84 plays in her long career. Not exactly a faculty change, but one that was noticed, came when Father Sam Jacobs succeeded Msgr. M. J. Bernard as chaplain of McNeese’s Catholic students and pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel student parish. Eldon Bailey, Harlin Brewer, Charles G. Hambrick, John C. Young, and Loretta LeBato took sabbatical for the entire 1969-1970 year, Mary S. Kordisch for the fall semester, and Don Wilder for the spring. During the summer of 1969, Maurice Pullig was awarded the D.Ed. degree by the University of Houston, and Michael Connella, III received the Ph. D. in physics from Tulane University. At the end of the fall semester, Les R. Reinhard received the Ph. D. in agronomy from Clemson University. (62)

Several faculty members saw works in print this year. Albert Stoutamire published two compositions, and James Batchelor produced a physical science outline that was printed by Barnes and Noble. James Brown, tennis coach, had articles published in World Tennis, Scholastic Coach, and LAHRER Bulletin. Brown was well on his way to becoming the most published scholar on the McNeese faculty. Finally, William Groves of the Department of Music produced an article that appeared in the Journal of Research in Music Education. Every scholarly article published by a McNeese faculty member added to the college’s reputation among scholars, and eventually such recognition would filter back down to the general public. (63)

A cast aluminum relief by Grace Ramke was exhibited at the Oklahoma Art Center in Oklahoma City in September, and works by Ramke and Mrs. Kathleen Boudreaux were part of the 19th annual exhibition at the Beaumont Art Museum. Robert Jordahl’s composition The Evocation was performed by the Lake Charles Civic Symphony in November, and the year was especially rich in faculty musical recitals. Fred Sahlmann and William and Sylvia Kushner presented a faculty concert in the summer, and cellist Gerald Snyder and baritone Franklin LeBar appeared in recital on November 1, 1969. During the Fine Arts Festival in November special recitals were given by Kathleen Allums, Fred Sahlmann, Patricia Bulber, John Masters, Albert Stoutamire, Peggy Stiles, and Frederick Tooley. Later, in the spring, Patricia Bulber gave a piano recital. (64)

A number of faculty members were elected to office in professional organizations. Albert Stoutamire was elected chairman of the Southern Division of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, and Ronald Skinner was chosen president of the Louisiana Speech Association. That was not all; Jude Theriot, a graduate assistant at McNeese, was selected as a vice president of that organization. Jess Feist became president of the Southwestern Louisiana Psychological Association, and William Iglinsky became president of the Louisiana Entomological Association. (65)

During the summer, Tommy Bogle received a grant of $4,660 from the privately endowed Research Corporation for establishing a low temperature research facility at McNeese. Though not members of the faculty, Carolyn Pollard and Audrey Louviere of the ROTC office received special awards for their service. Wilbur Dahlquist was one of 100 scientists invited to participate in a Nation Science Foundation conference on solar eclipses at East Carolina University, and Jim Brown was one of a twelve-man United States delegation to a symposium in Mexico City on The Importance of Physical Education in the Mexican School. William G. McCall was a member of a discussion panel at the Southern Conference on Slavic Studies at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and Norman Smith was on the program of the Music Education National Conference in Chicago. Donald Millet spoke to the Beauregard Historical Society, and Joe Gray Taylor spoke to the Friends of the Presbytere in New Orleans. (66)

For the first time in any depth, faculty members during 1969-1970 began to discuss the possibility and the utility of a faculty senate. The college administration turned a friendly ear to this talk, and in April Roy Robinson was named to head a committee to look into the idea. It would be several years before a faculty senate came into being, but the idea was gestating. (67)

The 30th performance of the Messiah at McNeese was presented on the afternoon of December 7, 1969. After so many years, ten participants in the original performance were still appearing. Francis Bulber, Kathleen Allums, Arthur Burch, Tim Dugas, Myrtle Farque, Dr. Malcolm Leveque, Marguerite Mouton, Minnie Troutman, Lyle Guth, and Mrs. Frances Pitcher. During the summer, the Music Department presented Gain-Carlo Menotti’s The Medium, and in October the Bayou Players put on a William Inge’s Come Back Little Sheba with David Hendricks and Yvonne Aguillard in lead roles, supported by Mary Ann Wells, Tommy Johnson, Pat Hebert, and Lynne Dodd. Critic Jim Stacy, associate editor of the Contraband, complained that the play as presented had plenty of laughs but not enough tears. It did, nonetheless, have a successful two-day run at Fort Polk. Just before the holidays, the Players presented two one-act dramas, White Liars, with Brenda Bachrack, James Ayo, Ron Sleeker, Nancy Key, and David Key; and Black Comedy with the Keys, Anne Spurry, Connie Pizzolatto, Phil Smathers, and James Ayo. The final dramatic presentation of the year was William Saroyan’s Cave Dwellers, starring James Ayo and Connie Pizzolatto. Other roles were taken by Tommy Johnson, Brenda Manuel, Mike Sumlin, Pat Hebert, and Yvonne Aguillard. (68)

The spring musical was again South Pacific, with Donna Chapman Oates taking the role of Ensign Nellie Forbush and Mitford (Mickey) Megginson that of Emile de Becque. Ellis LeBoeuf played Luther Billis and, according to critic Corinne Peace, almost stole the show. Other important roles were Susan Hoyle as Liat, David Grantham as Lieutenant Joe Cable, and Janet Russell as Bloody Mary. Carla Pope and David Guillory played de Becque’s two children. (69)

Cultural activities in the Auditorium and elsewhere on campus were abundant. The Concert and Lecture Series presented a dramatic version of The Book of Job, and Community Concert presented pianist James Dick. Under Frederick Tooley’s direction, Opera Vignettes. Scenes from five operas, were presented in December. Among the singers were students Mrs. Emile Davis, Mrs. Janet Doland, Mrs. Patricia Edwards, Jan Russell, and David Grantham. The Art of France in Louisiana, sponsored by the Visual Arts Department and France-Amerique, was exhibited, with the French cultural consul from New Orleans on hand for the opening. In February, famed nuclear physicist Edward Teller spoke on the peaceful use of atomic energy, and Clyde Ladd, UCLA instructor in psychology and black studies, was the main speaker during Black History Week in February. Al Capp, creator of the comic strip Li’l Abner, spoke in April, and during the same month Community Concert presented the Dallas Symphony with Israeli pianist David Bar-Illan. (70)

The 1969 football season was again a dismal one. Indeed, there was more discussion of the band’s new red and white uniforms, which many fans said looked like USL uniforms, then of the football team. At the end of the season, Coach Jim Clark retired from coaching, probably with a sigh of relief. Frank Young of Tulane University, Lee Hayley of the University of North Carolina, Billy Atkins of Troy State College, Jack Doland of LSU, and Charles Kuehn of McNeese applied for the position, and it went to Jack Doland. This led to other changes; Vic Stelly joined the McNeese staff as assistant football coach, and Desmond Jones announced that he would quit coaching. Doland, an alumnus who had played and then been assistant coach at McNeese was received with enthusiasm by students and alumni. (71)

In the spring of 1970 McNeese was put on athletic probation because money earned from concessions had been used as "outside" money for athletic scholarships, and such funds were supposed to be considered as regular funds. The violation was technical; the total number of scholarships was not increased. No penalties were levied, and the only result, according to the GSC, was that McNeese’s expenditures were to be carefully monitored. (72)

The basketball team, which had only an 8-won and 13-lost overall record for the year, and which won 5 and lost 7 conference games, nonetheless won the GSC championship, and Ralph Ward was GSC coach of the year once more. The track team, with Fanahan McSweeney as its star, was expected to win the GSC meet, but come in a disappointing third. On the other hand, it placed ninth of 96 teams in the NCAA track meet at St. Paul, Minnesota. The baseball team was fourth in the conference, the golf team second, and Jim Brown’s tennis team won the conference championship for the third straight year. (75)

Two hundred students received degrees in the summer of 1969, and Mrs. Mary Landers, spouse of Robert Bruce Landers, Dean of the School of Education, received the first doctorate award by McNeese. Cum laude graduates were Mrs. Ann Marshall, A.J. Nocilla, Mrs. Yolande Rossitto, Susan Parsons, Mrs. Jacqueline Hughes, and Mrs. Martha Troutman. In May, Louisiana State Superintendent of Education William Dodd spoke to 516 graduates, including 49 graduate students, among whom Jack V. Collins, Hosea J. Cothran, Jr., W. D. Richardson, Joseph D. Sonnier, and Mrs. Annie B. Worrell received doctor of education degrees. No fewer than 27 students graduated cum laude: Gloria Ann Abshire, Joyce D. Addison, Catherine R. Ainsworth, Sharon J. Allen, Catherine A. Anastasio, Mary A. Barnes, Sandra A. Barrow, Sybil B. Broussard, Judith A. Cole, Bonnie L. Darst, Marie A. Delord, Kay F. Filce, Grace M. Guth, Deanna L. Haley, Judith A. Kimball, James W. Lindsey, William R. Morgan, Jr., Karen M. Palermo, Carroll B. Parsons, Donnette L. Prunty, Bonnie J. Reed, Bobbie M. Richardson, Laskie M. Rougeau, James R. Stacy, David L. Tolin, Faybel M. Vidrine, and Sharon I. Waters. It is noteworthy that at this ceremony philanthropist  W.T. Burton received an honorary doctorate. (74)

In the meantime, not all was going smoothly for the new administration of President Thomas Leary. Much progress was made during the first three years of his presidency, but for the first time during McNeese’s existence, real dissension struck the campus. Those first years will be the subject of the next chapter.


Interesting Times

When President Cusic announced his impending retirement from McNeese, jockeying for the succession began immediately. The alumni demanded a voice in the choice of a new president, and a newspaper editorial insisted that the president should have nothing to do with the political structure of Louisiana, a somewhat unrealistic proposal, considering the fact that McNeese was a state college, depending upon the legislature for its funding. Applicants for the office were Thomas S. Leary, Head of the Department of Engineering; alumnus Allen Commander, by this time an administrator at the University of Houston; Everett L. Williams of Amarillo, Texas; Ellis Guillory, Dean of Student Life; Hans Leis, Head of the Department of Health and Physical Education; R. A. Suarez, Dean of Humanities; John Bertrand, superintendent of education for Acadia Parish; and Thomas Sutherland of Northwestern State College. Most of these applicants had outstanding academic qualifications. (1)

As a matter of fact, qualifications had nothing to do with it. A gentlemen’s agreement among the members of the State Board of Education provided that each board member controlled all board appointments within the district he represented. Dr. Boyd Woodard, M. D., was board member for the district in which McNeese State College lay, and he had chosen Leary as the next president. Other candidates made the obligatory rounds, calling on board members, and those politicians presumed to have influence with board members, but it was to no avail. When the board met on September 11, 1969, Leary was selected. He was to become acting president on October 15, when Cusic went on leave for the remainder of the fiscal year. (2)

Thomas Leary was a fine gentleman and an extremely intelligent man. He had received a bachelor of engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic in 1938, a master of science from the same school in 1939, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Iowa State University in 1942. He had had a productive industrial career, mainly with Cities Service Corporation, which eventually brought him to Lake Charles. He became interested enough in education to resign his position with Cities Service and take over the fledgling engineering program at McNeese, and he had been highly successful in developing that program. As president he created a new office, vice president of student and public affairs, and appointed Robert H. Pittman to fill it, an appointment he almost certainly regretted later. (3)

President-elect Leary announced that he had six basic goals for his administration of McNeese. First was academic excellence throughout the college. Next came more efficient use of personnel, equipment, space and time, followed by cultivation of new sources of revenue. His fourth goal was planned growth at an accelerated rate, and fifth, improved relations among faculty, student body, and administration. Finally, he wanted the college to assume a greater role in the educational, cultural, and social development of Southwest Louisiana. (4) It can be debated whether any of these goals was achieved, but certainly the fifth was not. Relations between President Leary, who entered office with great student support, and faculty and students grew worse and worse during his first three years in office. After 1972, relations with faculty and students improved into a watchful truce.

In 1969, discipline had almost ceased to exist at many American colleges and universities. Riots, occupation of administrative offices by protesting students, defiance of authority of almost any kind, a "sexual revolution" and a revamping of curricula by students and younger faculty members searching for "relevance" were commonplace. This protest movement had many origins, but the most important was the Vietnam War; the second most important was racial discrimination. Because the American South, in general, had been far more supportive of the war than the rest of the nation, major southern universities had not had nearly such great difficulties as northern and western schools. McNeese had had none, and there was no radical student population to lead protests.

During the same years that the protest movement had been growing, a change in men’s hair styling had been going on. Instead of the short haircuts that had been in vogue more or less since the First World War, men were returning to the longer hair worn by their Civil War and Revolutionary ancestors. Since they were mainly at fashionable schools, the student protesters of the 1960’s more often than not had long hair. Perhaps long hair was a symbol of protest in one way, the protest of young people against the mores of their elders, but its connection with war protests were merely chronological. This was not understood by everyone, especially in the areas like Southwest Louisiana where, mercifully, people were slow to respond to national fads.

When he took office, President Leary seems to have had somewhat grandiose ideas of his personal power, and he seemed almost to challenge the student body to oppose him. In an interview three days after his selection as president, he called attention to the fact that "extremism" had not come to McNeese. (5) About ten days later, in an interview with a reporter from the student newspaper, the Contraband, he said: "I want to be cooperative with the students and I will make every effort to understand their problems, but I want them to realize [that] the operation of the college will be my responsibility and [that] I must take whatever action necessary to maintain our image." When asked about dress and haircut regulations he responded: "Discipline must be maintained. The trouble at Cornell started when discipline became slack, so you’ve got to be careful." (6) Unfortunately, in President Leary’s mind, long hair became equal to riot and student rebellion.

The student regulations at McNeese were published in The Corral, a printed booklet distributed to all new students and available to others. It specified that men’s hair must be in a standard American haircut, and that hair must not touch the ears or the collar in the back. This rule was in effect when Thomas Leary became president; he did not create it. His attitude toward it was no doubt reinforced, however, when the Student Senate voted to reaffirm the dress regulations, and when a year later the State Board of Education adopted a "Rules of Personal Conduct" for students and faculty in state institutions providing severe punishment for disruptive activities. On October 13, 1969, he cautioned the student body against letting radicals gain control of their organizations, though it is doubtful that there was a single radical on campus. Incidentally, Vice President Pittman was probably more frightened of "radical" students than was President Leary. (7)

The "hair rule" was relatively easy to enforce at registration time; an official could watch the inevitable lines and, when a young man’s hair was too long, halt his registration until he had his hair cut. For three students in particular, this was more than an annoyance. Sidney B. Richard, Ricky P. Hambodin, and Louis Kimball made up a rock group known as the Wild Childs, a group popular enough to get commercial engagements, and by 1970 rock musicians were expected to have long hair. The Wild Childs went to court and asked for a restraining order against enforcement of the hair rule, an order that Judge Clement Moss of the Fourteenth Judicial District Court refused to issue. Judge Moss did, however, order President Leary, Clet Gary (chairman of the Discipline Committee), and Dean of Men Vernon Keating to appear in court on February 25 to explain why such an order should not be issued. Judge Moss ruled in favor of the college, as did the court of appeals and the Louisiana Supreme Court. Judge Edwin Hunter of the United States District Court also refused to issue a restraining order, and simply put the case on the regular docket. This was the end of the matter, because the semester for which the students had now been expelled would be long over before the case came up. Already one of the three had his hair cut and had returned to school. (8)

The McNeese Alumni Board let it be known that it stood firmly behind President Leary in the hair matter, and this was probably true of parents and a significant majority of the student body in February and March 1970. Also, there is little doubt that at this time the president had the support of most of the faculty, though there were a few dissenters. But now President Leary made a major mistake. He issued a memorandum which in effect ordered faculty to aid in enforcing the hair rules, and that went on to say: "Failure or refusal to comply with this request will be viewed with GREAT DISFAVOR as will any adverse comments concerning this request." Grace Ramke of the Department of Visual Arts took the lead in faculty opposition to this memorandum, threatening to go to court to preserve freedom of speech, and in a public confrontation in the Ranch, where the president met with students in a "Fireside 70" meeting to improve communications, she asked him what he meant. Leary said that he did not mean that any action would be taken against faculty who made adverse comments. He insisted that there was no intention of stifling anyone’s freedom of speech. (9)

It seems improbable that President Leary could have won his battle for short hair under any circumstances, but this memorandum certainly meant defeat, because he had over extended himself and shown that he could be forced to back down. After this incident, he had little faculty support, and student sentiment was rapidly turning toward long hair, or at least the right to wear long hair. In January, Lemuel Hawsey, III, a student officer and son of a prominent local citizen, spoke to the Lake Charles Rotary on the financial condition of McNeese, and he included a few comments on "ridiculous" rules and regulations. A month later, Leary told the Kiwanis Club that hair styles themselves were not important, "but that it has been shown on many campuses that permitting extreme hair styles leads to disorders and attracts students who do not wish to conform to basic standards of dress." (10)

In the middle of May 1970, tension on the campus reached a new height when President Leary abruptly fired Dean of Men Vernon Keating and sent Dean of Women Linnie Lacy and Dean of Student Life Ellis Guillory, both of whom were tenured faculty, back to the classroom. At the time it was generally assumed that these administrators were fired because they had advised the president against trying to enforce the hair regulations. All three were well-liked by the faculty and student body, and the Student Senate adopted a resolution stating that "….if this action is a result of these individuals expressing their opinions and beliefs within the administration, or expressing disagreement with policy even though they carried it out, then the student body can never endorse this action." President Leary told a delegation from the Student Senate that his action "was part of the overall plan of reorganizing the college." The students planned a "Day of Appreciation," which was called off at the request of the three deans, but the committee in charge reported that it was met with "repression, intimidation, and accusations." Roy Cates, from the faculty of LaGrange High School, was appointed dean of men, and Mrs. Norma Tornabene became dean of women. Mrs. Sue Horne became counselor to women. (11)

It is apparent now that the battle of the haircuts could not have been won after the spring of 1970, but that was not as obvious then. In April the Student Senate adopted a resolution recommending that male students be able to wear their hair in any style they deemed appropriate. A poll in September 1970 showed 78 percent of the student body favoring abolition of hair regulations. Every issue of the Contraband brought up the question, but President Leary insisted that there was no plan to amend the regulations. A coed wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper in which she said: "It makes me sick to think of our boys being killed and maimed in Vietnam fighting for freedom while this very same freedom is being denied to some at home." President Leary shuffled his administrators, making Dr. Tony Byles of Special Education vice president of student and public affairs, and changing Pittman’s role to vice president of academic affairs. But Byles was no more able than others to bring harmony on the hair question. By now there was a minuscule "radical" movement on campus, though it was radical only in comparison to a year earlier. To the extent that there was a leader, and the movement was to amorphous to have a leader, it was Larry Stone, a veteran of the United States Army and the son-in-law of a faculty member. Stone's radicalism consisted, however, only of consistent opposition to President Leary’s policies. He and the few others like him had no ideological commitment. (13)

President Leary was quoted as saying in October 1970 that, "We have a handful of dissidents on campus, but they are agitators for various things like long hair and students’ rights. We are staying on top of that situation." (14) But at the beginning of the spring semester, new hair rules were declared in effect. Now a male student’s hair had to be "out of the eyes, shall not extend below ear lobes, and must be regular collar length in back." This would have been a major concession in the fall of 1969, but now it was not enough. By 1971 students would be satisfied only with no hair and dress regulations at all. President Leary, perfectly sincere, made an effort to enforce the new rules, and a few young men were forced to get shorter haircuts, but by now very few faculty or administrators were really in favor of these regulations. McNeese was the only college in the state, and quite probably the only public college in the nation, still trying to enforce hair regulations in the spring of 1971. By the end of that academic year, the regulations were a dead letter. By that time president Leary had other things to worry about, but he had sacrificed in vain much support and respect from students and faculty. (15)

In the fall of 1970 another controversy arose, originating this time with a disagreement between the president and black students. Black consciousness had been rising among McNeese students as elsewhere in the nation. President Cusic had had several meetings with black delegations concerning the hiring of black faculty and the teaching of a black history course. A course in Afro-American history had been developed and taught in the Department of History, and serious, though largely unsuccessful, efforts had been made to employ black faculty. Black students, with tacit consent, had taken over one room in the Ranch that they designated the "Black Culture Room." In that room, for several months before November 1970, a picture of the indicted black activist Eldridge Cleaver had been on display.

The exact sequence of events in November is uncertain, but a Ku Klux Klan meeting was held in Moss Bluff, just across the Calcasieu River north of Lake Charles, a black basketball player was suspended from the team for missing practice, and the picture of Eldridge Cleaver was moved to a more conspicuous spot. A vice president removed the Eldridge Cleaver portrait, and when questioned gave the asinine reply that the removal had been ordered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Student Senate unanimously adopted a resolution deploring the action. (16)

Black students now sought a meeting with President Leary, a meeting that he seemed to be avoiding, though he had met with a group of them in October. But when the students asked for, and received, help from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Leary said that he would meet with the students or with the NAACP representative, Harvey Britton, but not with both. The students walked out of a meeting on November 13 because Britton was not present. In the meantime, on orders from President Leary, the Black Culture Room had been closed. On November 24, the black students submitted demands: that faculty and staff be desegregated; that the suspended basketball player be reinstated; that the Black Culture Room be reopened; that alleged discrimination in the dormitories be corrected; that blacks be hired for faculty and higher administrative posts; that Student Election Committee policies be clarified; that there be more emphasis on black history in the curriculum; and that a committee, including an NAACP representative, be appointed to negotiate these demands. (17)

President Leary rejected the demand that the Black Culture Room be reopened, and he refused to reinstate the suspended basketball player. He did agree to appoint a committee, though without an NAACP representative. Faculty member Robert James was made chairman of this committee, but this was not enough - or perhaps it was too much. The Student Senate adopted two critical resolutions, one deploring the handling of the whole affair, the other protesting the president’s disregard of the standard student organizations in setting up what had come to be known as the Ombudsman Committee. Black students now planned to picket a basketball game, an action that, in view of nearby KKK activities, might well have triggered violence, but apparently NAACP leaders talked the students out of this idea. (18)

Thereafter this dispute gradually simmered down. The Ombudsman Committee was restructured before the end of December, now with James as chairman, five faculty members (one from each school) a student representative from each class, and one student member at large. The at-large student member was never appointed. James continued to act as ombudsman until his retirement, but the committee played little or no role; in fact, it may never have met. Nor did James deal primarily with racial disputes; after this incident, such disputes were few. Insofar as the confrontation with the black students was concerned, President Leary had undoubtedly won, but in so doing he had sacrificed more confidence in his administration, confidence already being eroded by the haircut dispute. (19)

Once open opposition to the president and his representatives was demonstrated to be possible, more opposition was certain. Girls who lived in dormitories at McNeese were strictly supervised, and curfews, by the standards of the 1960’s, were especially stringent. This became a source of frequent complaint, and eventually the curfews were greatly liberalized. In fact, there was a plan to create one dormitory for which there would be no rules at all, but not enough women signed up to make it possible. The president gave way, eventually, to the extent of permitting women to visit men in their rooms, but every liberalizing step was made so grudgingly that it brought no good will.

Similarly, in the spring of 1970, a proposed "Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" was submitted to the president for his approval. At the end of the year, when nothing more had been heard of the matter, Leary was asked about it. He said that he had first turned the "Bill of Rights" over to a local lawyer, and then, because it apparently conflicted with State Board policy and Louisiana law, he had sent it to Baton Rouge for further examination. One member of the Student Senate committee that had drawn up the document accused Leary and Byles of filibustering, and added: "We’ve been had…again." The truth of the matter was that President Leary had been burned so often by now that he was reluctant to make any decision. This went so far that in March 1971 he vetoed a petition to form a Young Republican chapter on campus, even though this organization already existed on all, or almost all, of the campuses of the state and certainly could not be considered radical. (20)

Not all of President Leary’s enemies were among the students. As is obvious from the above, he had antagonized more than a few of the faculty, though faculty opposition was in no was organized. Probably more serious, Vice President Pittman had, to say the least, become disenchanted with Leary. Possibly Pittman, who had political connections in Baton Rouge, had hopes of becoming president himself. Almost certainly he expected to be able to strongly influence, or even control, the president. Moreover, Pittman and a number of faculty members in the School of Education had developed a lucrative business consulting for the State Department of Education. In May, when President Leary rejected his recommendation of a faculty member for head of the Department of Psychology, Pittman threatened to resign, and Leary, who had become more than disenchanted with Pittman, quickly accepted his resignation. At the urging of State Board member Dr. Boyd Woodard - and Woodard may have been influenced by former President Wayne Cusic - Leary appointed Dean of Humanities Raleigh A. Suarez as academic vice president. Suarez’s appointment was quickly approved by the State Board. (21)

Pittman was not a graceful loser. That summer in a television interview he said that the university’s accreditation was being endangered by overemphasis on athletics. In the opinion of some faculty there was overemphasis on athletics, but it was not endangering accreditation. Football coach Jack Doland pointed out that state athletic appropriations for McNeese were less than the amount appropriated for Nicholls, for Northeastern, or for Louisiana Tech, and that McNeese’s total expenditures on athletics were less than the expenditures of the University of Southwestern Louisiana or Louisiana Tech. As for overemphasis, he said, "If they mean we give too many scholarships, wrong. If they mean too many coaches, wrong. If they mean winning, having the area behind us, having the support of the University’s academic staff, and having athletes and a coaching staff that strive for excellence, then we accept the charge." (22)

A group of state senators and representatives quickly took up Pittman’s charges and developed others of their own. Senators Jesse Knowles and William McLeod and Representatives Robert Jones, Harry Hollins, James D. Cain, and James Martin asked the State Board of Education to investigate eleven "allegations" concerning the administration of McNeese. The allegations included (1) the appointment of unqualified personnel as department heads; (2) a decline in the number of full-time faculty; (3) excessive turnover in faculty personnel; (4) too many ex-coaches drawing salaries too high for the services they performed; (5) too-rapid changes in lesser administrative positions: (6) misuse of funds from dormitory bonds; (7) retention of a faculty member over the objection of his department head and dean; (8) secretiveness concerning resignations and reassignments; (9) payment of a civil service employee who rendered no services; (10) illegal use of equipment provided by the federal government; and (11) low faculty morale that prevented sound instruction. (23)

The State Board, of which Woodard was president at this time, appointed a committee headed by Mr. Edward Whetstone to investigate these allegations, and in response to a resolution from the House of Representatives, a state auditor was added. The committee came to Lake Charles and conducted hearings in the McNeese Room of the Library, listening to anyone who wished to testify. Even here controversy erupted. A member of the faculty of the School of Education turned over to a student newspaper columnist a tape recording purported to be of the hearings in the McNeese Room. On the other side of the tape was a recording of President Leary practicing a speech. This was probably a "put-up job;" Leary had placed a recording device in his office during the Black Culture Room controversy the previous year, but there is no additional evidence of electronic eavesdropping on the investigation, and the source of the tape tends to discredit its authenticity. (24)

The report of the investigating committee rejected most of the allegations, and emphasized that there had been no misuse of funds and that the teaching faculty had not been reduced in size. It did conclude that there had been overemphasis on athletics, which was to be corrected, and it did agree that faculty morale was low and needed to be raised. A report in the newspapers said that the board in closed session had "chewed out" the president and other college officials, but both Dr. Woodard and Mr. Whetstone denied this, though they did say that Dr. Pittman had been "raked over the coals." All in all, the report was a public vindication of President Leary, but there were two caveats. In the first place, the report said that Leary should make no more major appointments without the consent of the board (something he could not do anyway), and in the second place, and more significantly, that more authority should be delegated to his administrative officials. By this time the administrative team that would function for most of Leary’s remaining years on the job was in place - Suarez as academic vice president (later provost), Arthur Lee as business manager (later vice president for business affairs), and Kenneth Sweeney as vice president for student and public affairs. (25)

While this last controversy was at its height, the student handbook for the 1972-1973 academic year appeared. All that it said concerning dress was that "Students must exercise mature judgment in dress on campus, including residence halls. The university expects students to comply with local and state laws of decency in campus appearance." (26) Nothing was said about dormitory visitations. The Black Culture Room had not been reopened, but by 1972 the confrontation phase of the civil right movement was long over. Athletics at McNeese were by this time well integrated, and black students already played a significant role in beauty contests and would soon hold student government offices. Obviously, most of the hot words and hard feelings of the previous three years had been unnecessary, but college students, faculty, and even presidents were, after all, human beings, and human beings have seldom settled their differences by the application of sweet reason.


In sharp contrast to the previous summer, enrollment in the summer of 1970 was up to 3,104 students. In the fall there was an increase of more than 8 percent over the previous fall, to 5,594 students. Freshmen numbered 2,073, sophomores 971, juniors 797, seniors 943, and graduate students, 750. In the spring there were 1,645 freshmen, 874 sophomores, 816 juniors, 975 seniors, and 830 graduate students. Appropriations for operations were more than a million dollars above the previous year, and the administration devoted $100,000 of this to raises for teachers. Things were not quite as good as they seemed, because the governor cut some $79,000, but all in all it was a good year financially. From the point of view of students and faculty, the most important change was the elimination of Saturday classes, putting the college on a five-day week. (27)

The new dormitories, King Hall and Burton Hall, were dedicated in September 1970, and immediately complaints of thin walls, lack of storage space, and a scarcity of washers and dryers were heard. Behind more than a little of the dormitory discontent was a State Board rule, resulting from overbuilding of student housing, that required single undergraduates to live in dormitories if space was available. The dormitories at Chennault were converted into family apartments. In January the new agriculture and home economics building to be called Gayle Hall, was completed. Then before the end of the spring semester, the new security building was opened; it had been paid for by interest earned on unspent bond money. (28)

Another development during this year was an act of the legislature changing the name of the college to McNeese State University. If the act in itself did not improve the quality of the school, it at least gave faculty and students a name that they could strive to deserve. One peril was averted; when the federal government announced that it would dispose of the lighthouse at Sabine Pass, President Leary was highly interested in acquiring it for the university. Nothing came of this, and McNeese avoided a possible second white elephant. In October Mrs. Lorena Fuller, the nurse in charge of the university infirmary, publicly announced that the infirmary would not issue birth control pills; presumably she had reason to believe that such an announcement was needed. The master of education in speech degree was first offered in the summer of 1970, and in January the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools grudgingly approved the doctor of education degree offered by McNeese. Last, but certainly not least, plans were made to begin the fall semester 1971 earlier, so that it could be completed before the Christmas holidays. (29)

Insofar as numbers can be judged by pictures in the Log, student integration was no further advanced in 1970-1971 than in the five preceding years. On the other hand, the integration of football and basketball teams was well on its way, and this year for the first time a black coed was elected to the LaBelle court. In addition, the social sororities now included Zeta Phi Beta, with a membership of black women. During the year, Pi Sigma Rho sorority affiliated with the national Zeta Tau Alpha. There were six social fraternities listed this year, among them Kappa Alpha Psi, a black organization established on the McNeese campus in 1969, and Phi Kappa Theta, which had made the transition from colony to full-fledged chapter. (30)

Students thought about things other than hair and dress regulations and curfew hours. A poll of 272 students taken in October indicated that 51 percent of male students but only 31 percent of females favored legalized abortion. At a forum in March, those present voted three to one against having three-year trial marriage contracts, and the student newspaper gave considerable attention to the fact that blacks on campus largely associated only with one another through no fault of their own. Not all thought of serious things; in a major "drug bust" in March, those arrested included twelve McNeese students. Perhaps the most interesting discussion of issues came at a public forum in November, when a speaker who opposed women’s liberation was bombarded with feminine underwear. (31)

Ben Mount was president of the Student Government Association in 1970-1971, and Howard R. Duhon was cadet colonel. Helen Shorten, a black mathematics major, won the Business and Professional Women’s Club’s annual scholarship. Mary Ann Wells was named regional editor by the Associated College Unions International, and Jacqueline Reed won the France-Amerique de Lake Charles scholarship. Gerard Sellers, an art major, was the subject of a McNeese program for public television, and when Arnold Granger was named the outstanding senior engineering major, coed Ann Lamendola was the outstanding junior. The Louisiana Home Economics Association selected Julie Watson as the outstanding home economics student in the state, Ursula Zaunbrecher was named the top home economics student at McNeese, and Ted Smith was picked as the outstanding agriculture student. (32)

In May, Norman Robertson, a black senior majoring in French education, received a scholarship from the French government for eight months’ study at the University of Aix-en-Provence in France. In the Louisiana College Writers Society Contest for 1971, Roger Miller scored first in poetry, Janice Genius third and Michael Bride fourth in short story, Byron Minton second in formal essay, and Reginald Ringuet fifth in feature article. Michael Paul Pride earned an honorable mention in short story. Burge F. Miller was recognized as the outstanding graduate in accounting by the Lake Charles organization of certified public accounts, and Eileen Granier won the first McNeese State University graduate fellowship, which she used to work toward a master’s degree in mathematics. (33)

Reinette Morin, a senior at St. Louis High School who would come to McNeese in the fall of 1971, accompanied Barbara Belew of the Music Department to a meeting of the American Harp Society at Lubbock, Texas, and Kerry Frank, Rosalind Robin, Norman Robertson, and Chris Kittrell, Jr., attended a three-day student political clinic at Sacramento State College in California. Constance Monlezun was elected recording secretary of the National Student Nurses’ Association at its Dallas meeting. Malcolm Landry was editor of the Log, and Bill Pardue edited the Contraband. The Contraband, which also had Mary Judice as news editor, Connie McCain as assistant news editor, and Pat Wilson, Roger Miller, and Linda McFadden as columnists, received a first class rating from the Associated College Press. The senior division of the debate squad was made up of Brenda Manuel, Diane DeVall, David Key, and Arthur Wannage, and Steve Dever, Debbie LeBlanc, Lois Schmidt, and Sarah Casey were in the junior division. Faculty member R. W. Levardsen accompanied the team on some trips this year. The team "placed" and no more at LSU in December, but in March Wannage and Key won first in the National Debate Tournament at the Citadel. (34)

Freshmen maids in the fall of 1970 were Terry White (also Engineering Queen for the year), Gail Riggs, Melissa Downing, and Janet Bailey, and Debra Faiszt was queen. Willie Landry was queen of Homecoming, with Constance Monlezun, Cindi Dyer, Debra Faiszt, and Gloria LaFleur on her court. Cindi Dyer was LaBelle (she was also ROTC Little Colonel), with Lana Brunet, Norma Guillory, Gloria LaFleur, Marilyn Marshall, C. J. Murrell, Judy Thomas, Rita Tucker, and Theresa Walker on the court. Norma Guillory was the first black coed to be named to the LaBelle Court. Another young black woman, Beverly Ann Orebaux, was named Miss Log by the staff of that publication. Martha Ann Walters was Miss Lake Charles for the year, and Cherie Kay Griffith was queen of the Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival at Cameron. (35)

At the beginning of the 1970-1971 year alumnus Billy Frank Gossett became McNeese’s first full-time alumni director. William Fontenot became president of the Alumni Association; Connie Berry remained secretary, and Reuben Broussard continued as treasurer. Alumni were saddened when Jack Olmsted, IRS agent, died suddenly at age 39. Another alumnus, Jerry L. Watts, only 26, became director of information services for the Lake Charles Chamber of Commerce; he had gained his experience as a public information officer in Vietnam. Francis LeRocque, a Music Department graduate, was presenting concerts of sacred music to churches, and C. Wesley Shinn, class of 1969, was named editor of the Tulane Law Review for 1971-1972. Arthur Lee, treasurer of the McNeese Foundation, announced that that corporation now had invested cash assets of $154,592.79, and that insurance policies would eventually add another $210,000. The Foundation decided to upgrade its two undergraduate scholarships to $1,200 a year, making them the most valuable scholarships other than athletic, that a McNeese student could obtain. (36)

Among new faculty members in 1970 were Curtis C. Whittington in English (he had been at McNeese earlier but had been away for seven years), Russell Allen Ham in Chemistry, David E. Powell in Mathematics, George J. Fister in Microbiology, Elmer Wagner in Education, and Kelly Love, who had become band director. Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Guillotte, who had been at McNeese for a year, became professor of military science and tactics in command of the ROTC unit. Promoted to full professor were William Groves and Fred Sahlmann in Music and Kalil Ieyoub in Chemistry. Halbert Reeves in English and Robert S. Maples, Jr., George W. Slocum, Benny D. Barridge, Keith G. Stolzle, Don Adams, Tommy Bogle, and Michael Connella in the School of Sciences were promoted to associate professor. (37)

During this academic year Eldon Bailey earned the doctor of philosophy degree in accounting from Louisiana State University, LaJuana Lee obtained her doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado, and Laura Patterson received the same degree from the University of Texas. Barbara Belew played the harp as a guest artist with the Baton Rouge Symphony, and Jess Feist was chairman of a panel and read a paper at the Annual Meeting of the American Personnel and Guidance Association at Atlantic City, New Jersey. Dolive Benoit was designated Chevalier de l’ordre des Palmes Academiques by M. Jean N. Pettinelli, the French cultural attaché in New Orleans, at a banquet sponsored by France-Amerique and the Department of Languages. Mabel Kitt, Wylma Reynolds, and Frank M. Rolufs retired after 18, 28, and 26 years respectively, on the McNeese faculty. (38)

Stanley Lejeune devised a mathematics achievement test that was published by Psychometric Affiliates, and Curtis Whittington had a paper on Willa Cather published by the Duke University Press. An autograph party in the bookstore honored Sue Horne for her book of poetry, Love, Peace and Life. Loretta LeBato read a paper to the National Convention of the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Buffalo, New York. Stanley Lejeune participated in a seminar at the Temporary Systems Management Laboratory at the State University of New York at Albany, and Fred Sahlmann, with McNeese students Bryan Gray, Joey Nicholls, and Ross Wood, attended a piano-organ workshop at Southern Methodist University. Francis Bulber went to the National Association of Schools of Music meeting in New Orleans, Franklin LeBar attended a meeting of the National Association of Teachers of Singing at Dallas, and O. D. Hyatt was named to the national board of the American Camellia Society. (39)

As for cultural activities, during the summer Dido and Aeneas was staged as a summer opera, and John Dos Passos’ U. S. A. as a summer play. Jerome Lawrence’s and Robert E. Lee’s drama based on the Scopes trial, Inherit the Wind, was presented by the Bayou Players in the fall with Arthur Wannage as the prosecutor, Robbie Robertson for the defense, and Nathan Fontenot was the reporter from Baltimore. The 31st McNeese presentation of the Messiah was sung on December 6, 1970, and when it was broadcast on December 20 it was carried by 97 radio stations and the Armed Forces network. Jean Anouilh’s Becket, with a cast of 40, was done in December, also. The spring operetta was The Marriage of Figaro, which had Maurice Serice in the title role, and Mrs. Mary King, Mrs. Janet Doland, Ray B. Stroud, and Mrs. Emile Davis in other important roles. Finally, the Bayou Players put on A Man Called Peter, with Arthur Wannage as Peter Marshall and Brenda Manuel and Lana Brunet alternating as Katherine Marshall. (40)

Also available was the Marlboro Trio - piano, violin, and cello - in January, rated as "splendid" by a newspaper critic, and a joint concert by the Lake Charles Civic Symphony and the Lake Charles Ballet Society in February. Then in March the Artists and Lectures Series presented the National Opera Company production of Die Fledermaus for students and public. Bill Iles, at that time an art instructor at Louisiana Tech, had an art exhibit in April, and that same month television comedian Pat Paulson appeared in the Auditorium. (41)

The 1970 season was Jack Doland’s first as head football coach at McNeese, and he was assisted by Hubert Boales, Moe O’Brien, Ernie Duplechin, Tucker Debataz, Vic Stelly, and Ted Brevelle. They had little to boast about, winning 5 games and losing 6, but four of the players, James Moore, Billy Blakeman, Elvin Dantin, and Richard Vidrine, were named to the All-GSC team. Vidrine, the nation’s smallest middle linebacker, won a second team spot on the 1970 College Division Academic All-American team. This was the year when the Gulf States Conference broke up; Coach Doland stated that McNeese preferred to maintain the GSC, but that if Louisiana Tech and USL withdrew, McNeese would go, too. Eventually all three teams found themselves in the Southland Conference. (42)

The basketball team not only had a poor season, but also lost two games to USL. Carl Shetler, who had played basketball at Auburn, became a graduate assistant on the basketball coaching staff in the fall. At the close of the season, Ralph Ward asked to be relieved of his coaching duties, and President Leary agreed. Former McNeese All-American Bill Reigel was appointed to succeed him. The track team won the indoor championship for the nation’s college division members of the NCAA. In other sports, the baseball team finished fourth in the GSC, the track team second, the golf team fourth, and the tennis team won its fourth straight championship. When Frank Rolufs retired at the end of the spring semester, Louis Reily was appointed to succeed him as chairman of the Faculty Athletic Committee. (43)

Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Albert Tate was speaker for the summer graduation in 1970, when 234 degrees were awarded. One hundred and two of these were graduate degrees, including four doctorates. Judith L. Latiolais, Mrs. Ruth Ann Lee Rue, Mrs. Jeanette Y. Savoie, and Anita F. Young were summer honor graduates. The January graduation saw 244 students getting degrees, and in May President Jay Taylor of Louisiana Tech spoke to 604 graduates, 33 of whom graduated with honors. One of those finishing in May was Arnold Akmentins, a displaced Estonian who had served as the security force at McNeese for years and who had taken a few courses each semester when he could. Three sisters who taught at Rosepine Elementary School had been driving back and forth to McNeese for years. Patty Lynn Cupit had completed her work in 1970, but the other two sisters, Joy Spencer and Mrs. Gayle W. McKee, received their diplomas at this 1971 ceremony. (44)


Enrollment in the fall of 1971 was only 17 more than in September 1970, but that was enough to push it above the 6,000 mark for the first time in McNeese history. This total included 3,348 men and 2,663 women. Enrollment of freshmen was slightly below fall 1970, but the other three undergraduate classes had slight gains, and graduate students had increased by 208. A decline in undergraduate students had been compensated for by a large increase in graduate students. Spring enrollment was 5,611, almost 9 percent above the spring of 1971. (45)

The budget for 1971-1972 was an improvement over the previous year, with $108,777 available for salary increases; $88,458 of this went to the faculty. President Leary complained that the budget was unworkable, but he managed to increase band scholarships by $14,000. State Senator Jesse Knowles complained that too much of the money provided for McNeese was not going where it should go, into teachers' pockets, but this seems to have made no difference. The major change in administrative personnel was Tony Byles’ return to Special Education. In the fall a School of Engineering was established under the temporary direction of William Bergeron, but as of March 1 Carroll Karkalits came to McNeese as dean of engineering and technology, a position he has held since that time. Desmond Jones became director of financial aid, Louis Riviere men’s housing director, Jo Eddie Schroeder counselor to women, and Kathryn Bonds admissions counselor in the registrar’s office. (46)

What students and faculty noticed was that the fall semester began much earlier and was ended on December 20, before Christmas. The spring semester began January 21 and ran through May 23. Another cause for rejoicing was the fact that the stock show in the Arena in March 1972 was to be the last; Burton Coliseum would be completed in time to take over that function in subsequent years, a fact that definitely improved the odor of the campus. This was the year that the policy of refusing enrollment to anyone with a criminal record was abandoned, and a new master of science degree in microbiology was offered. The Burton Foundation gave McNeese $255,000 for improving the computer system at Chennault, and President Leary expressed hope that construction of an addition to the Library could begin the following year. The Louisiana Engineering Society commissioned a report to the Louisiana Coordinating Council for Higher Education recommending that the engineering program at McNeese be phased out. The Lake Charles chapter of the Engineering Society rejected this report, and President Leary scolded the Coordinating Council for its "negative attitude." The School of Engineering was able to survive this threat, but there would be others. (47) Finally, it should be noted that A. I. Ratcliff, who announced his retirement in the spring of 1972, told a reporter: "Sports, music, and agriculture - that’s the three most important areas at McNeese." (48)

Mabel Smith, a black pre-medical student, was named chief justice of the Student Judicial Board in the fall of 1971, but Miss Smith, though honored by the appointment, felt compelled to express her belief that race relations on campus were not improving; in fact she believed that black hostility was growing. E. R. (Buddy) Bouquet of Iowa was elected president of the Student Government Association for 1971, and Joanie King became first vice president. The primary concern of student government this year seems to have been beer. Early in the fall semester, Bouquet requested that beer sales on campus be permitted. This was no ground-breaking move; LSU, USL and Nicholls already permitted such sales. President Leary was not averse, but first he insisted that a questionnaire be sent to all parents of McNeese students, and to married students, asking their opinion on beer sales. The questionnaire stated that no reply would be considered a vote in favor of beer sales. The president reported in December that he had mailed out 4,501 questionnaires, and that only 999 had been returned expressing opposition. Now the president went before the State Board and asked permission to permit sales of beer in the late afternoon and on special occasions such as dances. Ten citizens, led by Reverend Tom Lutner of the Baptist Student Union, publicly opposed beer sales, and this forced hearings before the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals. The Board of Tax Appeals legalized campus beer sales in May, but so careful was President Leary that it was the fall of 1972 before beer sales in the Ranch actually contributed to good cheer. (49)

In late 1971 and early 1972, Louisiana was in the throes of gubernatorial election. McNeese could have played a significant role in this election, because the 26th Amendment of the United States Constitution made 2,000 McNeese students eligible to vote in Lake Charles. There was no such block of student votes when the elections were held; many students did not bother to vote, and many others went home on election day to cast their ballots. In the runoff in the Democratic primary, a poll indicated that students favored Edwin Edwards over J. Bennett Johnston. During the general election campaign, a mock election indicated that a sizable majority of students favored Republican David Treen over Edwards. This must have given satisfaction to Gail Riggs and Stephen F. Hennigan, who headed a "Youth for Treen" organization on campus. Nonetheless, Edwards won the election. At a more practical level, student Kenneth Istre, a 21-year old business major, was elected to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. (50)

Noteworthy events of the year included the installation of a chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the oldest black social sorority in the United States, on the McNeese Campus. This was the year that a chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, national honorary scholastic fraternity, was established, largely through the efforts of Patrick Ford, head of the Department of Mathematics. The founding members were all faculty who had earned membership as students on other campuses, but on May 19 students were inducted, making then the first to achieve Phi Kappa Phi status at McNeese. They were James C. Bush, Connie D. Coleman, Frances F. Corbello, Patrick Deaville, Thomas A. Glatt, Lawrence J. Goodson, Giselle Guilbeaux, Carolyn Hebert, Mary Hoffpauir, Elizabeth Holcombe, Kathleen T. Hudson, Mary Judice, Virginia C. McClain, Suzanne Miller, Jacqueline Reed Ohlmeyer, Anthony J. Pickett, Janet Russell, Mary M. Trichel, and Beverly Van Norman. One exciting event of the year was an attempted "panty raid" on one of the women’s dormitories that was easily broken up by forewarned sheriff’s deputies. Dean Tornabene accused some of the coed’s of "encouraging" the raiders; apparently undergarments were thrown out of dormitory windows upon the heads of the young men below. (51) The Contraband, still under the editorship of Bill Pardue, received the highest possible rating, All-American, that a college weekly could receive from Associated College Press. Also, the Contraband’s sports section was rated as the best collegiate sports section by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The Log got the second highest possible rating from Associated College Press. In what was now called the College Writers Society of Louisiana contest, Harvey Honsinger won both first and second place in short story in the graduate division. David Cook took second place in personal essay, and four students won honorable mention: Francis Carrier in personal essay, Brian Chamberlain in formal essay, Connie McCain in poetry, and Roger Miller in short story. (52)

In 1971-1972, two years after compulsory ROTC was abolished, Thomas A. Glatt was commander of a much-reduced corps that included only 20 seniors. State Board scholarship recipients in 1971 included at least three freshmen who would be outstanding McNeese alumni, Cynthia Jean Scott who would become a physician, Reinette Morin who would become an attorney, and Michael Lanza who would become a historian. At the end of the fall semester, sophomores Debbie Duplechain, Janis Morgan, and Roberta Taylor were honored by Epsilon Alpha Epsilon, the honorary sorority for women, for having the highest scholastic average among female sophomores at McNeese. The National Accountants Association gave Clare Yone Griggs an award as the outstanding junior accounting student, and Robert L. Heath and Roland Morton, Jr., received cash awards as outstanding junior and senior engineering students. Catherine Klein was elected treasurer of the Louisiana Student Nurses Association, and Patricia Glorioso became recording secretary of that organization. Mrs. Patricia Miller, a graduate student in microbiology, received a McNeese Foundation graduate fellowship worth $2,400, and Betty Austin and Carolyn Dupree received CODOFIL scholarships for study at the Centre International d’Etudes Francaise at Anger, France. (53)

McNeese debaters in 1971-1972 had another outstanding year. Reinette Morin, a freshman, and Bill Tolin were the lead duo of the team, but Arthur Wannage, David Key, Mark Broussard, Phillip St. Romain, and Geralyn Spalding also contributed to the excellent record. At Louisiana Tech in December, Morin and Tolin won twelve debates in a row, and then at Tulane in January they reached the semifinals, only to be defeated by Samford College, which had just defeated Notre Dame. At the Harvard meet at Cambridge, Massachusetts, the debaters won 3 contests but lost 5. They had some excitement in February after conducting a demonstration debate on the subject of abortion getting threatening telephone calls. At the Virginia Intermont Forensics Tournament in March, the team won five trophies in earning second place behind the University of North Carolina, and Reinette Morin was voted top debater in the tournament, Bill Tolin third. The season could not be considered a complete success, however, because in April Harvard’s debaters defeated Morin and Tolin by a 4-3 judges’ vote, making the series 8 for McNeese, 5 for Harvard. (54) Vicki Barkate was Freshman Queen in September, with Kathleen Dunphy, Becky Eagle, Debbie McMurry, and Cindy Sellers on her court. Cindi Dyer was Homecoming Queen in 1971, and her court included Julie Boulet, Linda Richards, Lana Brunet, Theresa Walker, Janet Gail Riggs, and Cindy Sellers. Theresa Walker was honored with the LaBelle title, and her maids were Marsha Blacketter, Marilyn Sue Coe, Jo Ann Shidla, Rita C. Tucker, Marcia Lynn Miller, Constance Monlezun, Stella Kathleen Pitts, and Jacqueline Swarthout. Theresa Walker was also the 22nd Little Colonel, and Lana Brunet was crowned queen by the McNeese Engineering Society. Coed Pat Garrick was selected to be Miss Black Lake Charles. Ada Nell Fogleman was named Miss Lake Charles in the annual spring contest, and McNeese coeds Linda McQueen, Sonya Shaheen, Marcia Miller, and Bonita Fontenot were among the runners-up. Furthermore, Becky Eagle was chosen by the contestants as Miss Congeniality. (55)

Gene Booth became president of McNeese alumni in the fall of 1971, and Connie Berry and Reuben Broussard were reelected as secretary and treasurer. Faculty member Dolive Benoit received the alumni president’s cup. An article in the Lake Charles American Press in August pointed out that McNeese by this time had more than 6,000 alumni, half of whom lived in the five-parish area particularly served by the university, though there was an alumni chapter in Lafayette, the home of USL, as well as in other cities. The university had awarded 5,171 bachelor’s degrees, 717 master’s degrees, 21 education specialist degrees, and 13 doctorates. On the staff of the Press alone, publisher Hugh Shearman, James Beam, Wayne Owens, Don Kingery, Carolyn Moffett, Corinne Peace, Burl Vincent, and Mary Hardt were alumni. Especially distinguished among alumni were medal of honor winner Douglas Fournet; William Cook, housing affairs assistant to the governor of Hawaii; Louisiana political leader Elayn Hunt; and judges Earl Veron and Jack T. Watson. Alumni who distinguished themselves during the year included J. Malcolm Landry, who became director of publications for the Louisiana School Boards Association; Willie Landry, who became director of customer relations at Lakeside National Bank; and former athletes Willie Lee, who was playing professional basketball in France, and Don Breaux, who became offensive coordinator for the Houston Oilers professional football team. The Alumni Association gave $500 toward the purchase of a telescope for the McNeese Observatory, giving Professor Michael Connella the final money he needed. (56)

Alumnus Fred Godwin was elected president of the McNeese Foundation in November 1971, with Harry Huber as vice president, W. L. Smith as secretary, and Arthur Lee continuing as treasurer. The Foundation reported that by early 1972 it had $290,000 in insurance pledges and $193,196.36 in cash and investments. It had earned $33,972.09 in returns on investments and had spent $20,214 on scholarships and other support for the university. Another support group, the Council for the Advancement of McNeese State University, was formed in late 1971 under the leadership of Edwin L. Lively, president; Dr. John Bertrand, vice president; and policy jury member Bill Fontenot as secretary. Though its long range goal was to foster the promotion and development of McNeese generally, this group’s immediate objective was to protect the McNeese School of Engineering against possible action by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. (57)

This was a year when many longtime faculty members taught their last classes at McNeese. Mabel Kitt died suddenly on June 4, 1972. In the fall Mrs. Gladys Seiss, Edna Alexander and John Lawlor did not return because of retirement, and in the spring Athletic Director A. I. Ratcliff, Mrs. Dorothy Roberts in English, Miss Annie Mae Green in Nursing, Mrs. Brownie Boozer from the bookstore, and Mrs. Emerite Wilkinson in Home Economics announced their retirement. Eighteen faculty members went elsewhere; most had been at McNeese only a short time, but they included Don Wilder from the Department of Music and Glynn Carver from the Department of Biology. Among the new faculty reporting in the fall of 1971 were E. Waddell Burge and Judy Morgan in Education and William Dickerson in Speech. (58)

An unusually large number of faculty members earned terminal degrees. Jim Mack Brown earned a Ph.D. from North Texas State and returned to an assistant professorship in the Department of Health and Physical Education, giving up the job of tennis coach. Elmer Wagner received a doctor of education degree from the University of Indiana; John Young earned the Ph.D. from Southern Methodist University; and Lise Pedersen was awarded the Ph.D. by LSU. Mrs. Virginia Oliver, Frank Pigno, Charles Prejean, Harlin Brewer, William Casey, William McCall, and John Turner all earned additional credit toward advanced degrees during the summer of 1971. (59)

Six faculty members, all but two in the School of Education from which Robert Pittman had been elevated into a vice presidency, were promoted to full professor. They were W. C. Hughes, Toffee Nassar, Kathleen Pittman, Benjamin L. Ruhl, and, from the Department of Speech, Maurice Pullig; and Huey K. McFatter from the School of Business. James M. Brown, Jr., Education; Loretta LeBato, Health and Physical Education; Eldon Bailey, Accounting; LaJuana Lee, the Office of Administration; Robert C. Ritter, Microbiology; and Benjamin Harlow, English, were promoted to associate professor. George V. S. White was promoted from acting head to head of the Department of Biology, and LaJuana Lee from acting head to head of the Department of Office Administration. Eldon Bailey, H. K. McFatter, and Stanley Lejeune became acting heads, respectively, of the departments of Accounting, Business Administration, and Elementary Education. (60)

Microbiologist Harold K. Speidel read one paper at the meeting of the Society for Industrial Microbiology at Fort Collins, Colorado, and another at the meeting of the American Chemical Society at Washington, D.C. Sylvester Pendarvis edited Volume III of Research, the publication of the Louisiana Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; this volume included one article by Mary Landers of McNeese. John E. Bennett was praised by Werner Von Braun for developing a portable navigation device which would be useful in exploring the moon, and Bennett went on to publish an article, in collaboration with J. C. Hung of the University of Tennessee, in the Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics published at Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Curtis C. Whittington of the Languages Department published an essay on Robert Penn Warren in Four Quarters Magazine, and Tommy Bogle of the Physics Department participated in a three-week National Science Foundation session at the University of South Carolina. Lawrence Estaville, an instructor in the Department of Social Sciences, spoke to the Southwest Louisiana Historical Society on Louisiana’s Civil War railroads. (61)

Hans Leis attended a workshop in Dallas, Texas, on motorcycle safety, and W. C. Hughes attended a media specialist’s leadership training institute at Salishan Lodge on the Oregon seacoast. Anthony P. Mayeux was appointed by Governor McKeithen to serve on the board of advisors for a new Early Childhood French Education Program, and Glenn Cobb was elected president of the Louisiana Academy of Science. With the departure of Don Wilder, who became the director of the National Opera Company at Raleigh, North Carolina, James R. McInnes became director of the Lake Charles Civic Symphony, following in the footsteps of not only Wilder, but also Warren Signor and George Marshall. (62)

The "Tauber Case" generated some excitement at McNeese in the spring of 1972. J. David Tauber was a non-tenured chemist who was informed that his contract would not be renewed. Tauber appealed his case, and eventually hearings were held with attorneys representing Tauber on the one hand and the State Board of Education on the other. Tauber maintained that his department head had given no reason for, in effect, firing him, except mistrust, but that he was told that he was a "a trouble-maker, anti-establishment, a non-conformist, and a malcontent." (63) A previous court decision prevented the board’s acting as a corporate body, but there is no question that at least one individual member of the board intervened in Taber’s behalf. Before the end of May, President Leary announced that Tauber’s contract would be renewed. This case figured in the investigation of McNeese that has been discussed earlier in this chapter. Tauber, who remained at the university, was selected in 1985 as the sixth McNeese Distinguished Teacher. (64)

The stages of Squires Auditorium and the Main Auditorium were as busy as ever during the 1971-1972 academic year. The 32nd Messiah went on the afternoon of December 4, with Constance Navratil, Baton Rouge soprano; Phyllis Werlein-Budd, Alexandria mezzo-soprano; tenor Richard Mathey of Bowling Green, Ohio; and bass Andrew B. White of Cincinnati as soloists. As usual, students filled in for soloists until the final rehearsal; this year the students were Mrs. Pat Edwards, Mrs. Sharon Sarver, Jan Russell, Mrs. Emile Davis, Butch Purdy, Phil Doucet, and Monte Nichols. The spring musical was Mame, with Janet Doland as Mame, sixth grader Jeffrey Patrick Peveto as her nephew Patrick as a child, Phil Doucet as the adult Patrick. Other members of the cast were Christine Barbour, Pat Edwards, Edward C. Steiner, and Marsha Blacketter. The singers used microphones, and sound problems plagued the performance, but it was nonetheless praised by newspaper critics Roger Miller and Corinne Peace. (65)

The Bayou Players’ first drama of the year was Jack Kirkland’s adaptation of Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road, which reportedly drew sparse audiences. Glen Primeaux portrayed Jeeter Lester, Jeri Webb was Ada, Keith Barousse was Dude, and Lois Schmitt played Sister Bessie. Next came The Man Who Came to Dinner, with Jim Culpin as Whiteside, Terri Karam as the nurse, and David Dickens, James Johnson, Diane DuVall, Jeri Webb, Paula Taylor, and James Ayo making up the remainder of the cast. Then, in the spring, the Players put on Angel Street, a stage version of the Victorian melodrama Gaslight, which had thrilled moving picture audiences for years. Jeri Webb, James Johnson, Arthur Wannage, Terri Karam, Sally Colet, Robert Bloomquist, and Bob Johnson had roles. Critic Corinne Peace characterized it as a "professional production." (66)

Other cultural activities available to students began on August 9, 1971, when the Lake Charles Jaycees sponsored a performance of Jesus Christ: Superstar in the Auditorium. In October the Lake Charles Civic Symphony under faculty member James McInnes gave its first concert of the year, with Fred Sahlmann participating. A McNeese student, Nathan Fontenot, had a leading role in the Artists Civic Theater and Studio presentation of The Importance of Being Earnest in October. In February Community Concerts sponsored the Canadian Opera’s appearance, and in that same month the Concordia College Choir sang. In May the Houston Ballet, sponsored by the Lake Charles Ballet Society and the McNeese Concert and Lecture Series, danced in the Auditorium. Finally Bernard Kalb, television newsman, gave a talk on President Nixon’s trip to China. (67)

Coach Jack Doland’s football team was ranked fourth in the nation by the Associated Press in October, and by November was rated number one in the college division. This rating was obviously justified, because the team finished the season with nine wins and one tie, then lost to Tennessee State in the Grantland Rice Bowl. Unfortunately, there was no conference championship, because the Gulf States Conference was defunct and the McNeese football team was not yet a member of the Southland Conference. Those who attended games in 1971 were almost as much impressed by the McNeese marching band, under the direction of Kelly Love, as by the prowess of the football team. The season did have one unpleasant feature; at Northwestern, a Student Government Association bus was delayed until several students who had been arrested - "without cause" according to SGA President Buddy Bouquet - had been bailed out of jail, and a faculty bus was harassed. In the spring, when A. I. Ratcliff retired, Coach Doland would become "acting athletic director," a position that soon became permanent, and he would be both coach and athletic director until he was elevated to the presidency. (68)

Bill Reigel, McNeese’s All-American of the 1950’s, was basketball coach in 1971-1972. His team had the first winning season for McNeese since 1967-1968, but Coach Reigel professed himself disappointed. The last game in the McNeese Arena was played on February 17, 1972; thereafter for 14 years, home games would be played in the Civic Center, after that in Burton Coliseum. Two men on the basketball squad, David Wallace in biology and Jeff Schweitzer in microbiology, had perfect academic averages in the fall semester, 1971, and in the spring Wallace, who would go on to medical school, was picked as a national academic All-American athlete. (69)

In 1972 the NCAA adopted a rule that would permit college freshmen to play on varsity teams. One of the best basketball prospects in the state was Edmond Lawrence, who was to graduate from Boston High School in Lake Charles in 1972. Lawrence, who was an easily confused young man, apparently signed "letters of intent" for both the University of Southwest Louisiana and for McNeese, then decided that he wanted to attend McNeese. This led to an unseemly squabble between McNeese and USL that had to be decided by the Southland Conference, which ruled in favor of McNeese. Lawrence played four years of basketball at McNeese, but this unpleasantness was symptomatic of troubles with the basketball program that would become public later. (70)

Moe O’Brien coached the golf team in 1972, and Vic Stelly replaced Jim Mack Brown as coach of the tennis team. The golf team was much improved over the previous year. The tennis team had a 7-4-1 record in its matches, and the baseball team won 22 games for a loss of only 15. The track team broke no records, but the rodeo team won first place in the McNeese tournament over fourteen other colleges and universities. (71)

Dr. Frank A. Thomas, Jr., president of Lamar University, was the graduation speaker in the summer of 1971. Mrs. Ruth B. Hochstein, who graduated this summer, was the second McNeese student in the school’s history to earn a degree with a perfect 4.0 average. The one other was Katherine Blum, who graduated in 1959. Other honor students in this ceremony were Janet Ardoin, Mrs. Patricia Boos, Mrs. Sena Guillory, Mrs. Patricia Rutledge, Helen Shorten, and Ursula Zaunbrecher. Calcasieu Parish Superintendent of Education Paul Moses was the speaker for the December ceremony, when Sandra Watson Alcock, Leo Butte, Linda W. Clifton, Connie D. Coleman, Frances F. Corbello, V. Adrienne M. Dark, Isola J. Fontenot, Glynda Sue Haley, Jeanette B. Jackson, Carolyn B. Kennedy, Virginia C. McClain, Julie P. Miers, and Jacqueline Reed graduated with honors. In the spring, 388 degrees were awarded, including honorary degrees for a famed Lake Charles native, Dr. Michael DeBakey, and for equally famous Dr. Alton Ochsner. This was the first graduation in which honor graduates were broken down into cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. Patrick Deaville and Kathleen T. Hudson were summa cum laude. Dr. DeBakey was the graduation speaker. (72)

By May 1972, President Leary had survived the early storms that endangered his administration, and the university was more or less on an even keel. An enrollment plateau had been reached, and there would be a gradual decline in enrollment for the remainder of his presidency. The president now had competent vice presidents, and faculty and students could concentrate on their primary business of teaching and learning. The eight years to follow might not be as interesting as those that had just passed, but they would be far more peaceful.


Holding On

Enrollment in the fall of 1972 was a record 6,185 students. Of these 2,219 were freshmen, 1,072 sophomores, 904 juniors, 1,010 seniors, and 959 graduate students. Of the 5,246 undergraduates, 3,318 were men and 2,868 were women. Registration in the spring was delayed by freezing weather and, for Louisiana, a heavy snowfall. That semester 1,014 graduate students, 1,726 freshmen, 960 sophomores, 869 juniors, and 1,027 seniors enrolled. Forty-five freshmen entered ROTC training in the fall, and one of them was a coed, Suzanne Joubert. Pictures in the yearbook indicate that 45 seniors, 30 juniors, 44 sophomores, and 133 freshmen were black. (1)

McNeese drew up a "wish" budget of $9,000,000 for 1972-1973, an increase of almost four million over 1971-1972. The legislature, coached by the governor, who offered the college presidents a 10 percent increase for their support for new taxes, adopted a standstill budget that gave McNeese less than $5,000 more than had been appropriated the previous year. The legislature did finally supplement the budget by almost $247,000, but this was non-recurring and could not be used for salaries. President Leary told the faculty in August that almost $200,000 would be spent on new books and renewals for the Library. Actually the Library got an increase of $45,000, bringing the total for books to $150,333, whereas athletics increased from $450,000 to $527,000. (2)

In March 1973, President Leary was caught in a controversy not of his making when the State Board granted all college presidents a salary increase of $8,000 a year. Leary’s salary at the time was only $29,500, but many legislators objected publicly and loudly. In response to public clamor, all salaries of McNeese personnel were published in the Lake Charles American Press, but the public knew little more than before, because no distinction was made between twelve-month and nine-month employees, and a faculty member who had taught an overload showed compensation above his contract salary. The end result was that the state college and university presidents got a raise of $4,000 rather than $8,000. (3)

The only new construction of the year was a major addition to the Library, financed by a federal grant of $511,000 and two state appropriations totaling $582,800. By February 1973, this job was well begun. Chennault Field was an important part of the university, with 70 apartments for married students and the School of Engineering and Technology and the Department of Nursing located on the 241 acres owned by McNeese. Actually, the Engineering and Technology facilities were visibly inadequate, and the nurses made no secret of their unhappiness. Furthermore, attending classes on two separate campuses was a real hardship to students. Even so, in March 1973 President Leary let it be known that he would like more land on the former air base. (4)

As noted in the previous chapter, the upper-level administrative team that would function for the reminder of the Leary presidency was in place by the beginning of the fall semester: R. A. Suarez, Kenneth Sweeney, and Arthur Lee. John M. Norris, Jr., formerly head of the Department of Languages, replaced Suarez as dean of the School of Humanities, and Clifford M. Byrne returned from the Library to Languages to head that department. Mrs. Ruth Reedy became director of the library. I. J. Wynn resigned as public relations director and was replaced by Gary Snyder, a McNeese alumnus. When Mrs. Brownie Boozer retired in the spring, Mr. Eugene Rainbolt replaced her as bookstore manager. (5)

Students could be well satisfied with some of their accomplishments insofar as disagreements with President Leary were concerned. The hair regulations that had been so obnoxious for three years were absent from student regulation in the fall of 1972, as was an item that forbade single students to even enter the rooms of single students of the opposite sex. Nobody at McNeese, however, took the idea of coed dormitories seriously. Curfews in the women’s dormitories were extended another half hour on weekday nights, and women could now stay out until two o’clock on Saturday nights. As noted, the administration even offered to set up a no-curfew dormitory if enough women would sign up for it, but not enough would do so. Another goal of student leaders, evaluation of teachers by students, was about to be accomplished. On the other hand, complaints about cafeteria food continued, and girls had to be evacuated from Burton Dormitory in November because of a bomb threat. Also, a campus traffic court, made up of two faculty members and one student, was not greeted with wild enthusiasm. (6)

The student yearbook for 1973 shows six social sororities on campus, two of them made up of young black women. Nine social fraternities were listed, three of them black. One of the white fraternities was Phi Kappa Theta, which had come to the campus as a colony in 1968 and which now was a full-fledged chapter. The Student Congress for the Advancement of Afro-American Culture presented Black Expo 72 in the Holbrook Ranch in October, including a beauty contest. In February, the Junior Officers Association of Fort Polk sponsored a dance and a social hour for McNeese coeds. Eighty coeds attended, but this event was apparently never repeated. (7)

Robbie Guillory was Student Government Association president in 1972-1973, and Mike R. Mitchael was first vice president. In February Mitchael resigned, and Whitney Harris, a black student, was elected by acclamation to replace him. Harris would later become the first black president of the Student Government Association. Carl J. David was cadet commander of the ROTC. Coeds took over publications, with Rose Ann Wilson editing the Contraband most of the year and Donna Guidry editing the Log. The Contraband once more won an All-American rating from the Associated Collegiate Press. Among coeds, Alix Ann Lamendola, Jackie Thibodeaux, Celestine Henney, Barbara Gray, and Mrs. Mary Roberts were upperclassmen in engineering. Emma J. Harper, a home economics education major, was elected vice president of the Louisiana Student Teachers Association, and William Verret qualified for a Rotary Foundation scholarship for the study of chemistry in Europe. (8)

Faculty members Patricia Bulber, Sylvia Kushner, and Barbara Belew and students Cecelia Carter, Joan Manuel, and David Shannon participated in a performance of Carmen in Alexandria, and three graduate students from the Department of Microbiology - Mrs. Patricia Miller, John M. Norris, III, and Ronald Yule - presented papers to the South Central Branch meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in March 1973. Five art students - Mrs. Nancy DiGiglia, Morris Fuselier, Terry Calloway, Don Scimemi, and Tim Winterbottom - had their works displayed in the Louisiana Art Commission Exhibit at Baton Rouge. Teresa Brignac was elected president of the student section of the Louisiana Home Economics Association, and Wade Venissat was named outstanding member of the Student Senate. Claire Griggs received the educational achievement award of the Lake Charles Area Chapter of the Louisiana Society of Public Accountants. The Louisiana College Writers Society met at McNeese in 1973, but only Bonnie Cocchiara and Byron Minton, both of whom received honorable mention in formal essay, earned points for McNeese. (9)

The debate team for the year included Phillip St. Romain, Mark Broussard, Cindy Rhodes, and Mary Jo Juneau. They placed second in the Silver Falcon Tournament in Miami in August, and at the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, meet, St. Romain and Broussard placed first in varsity debate. In addition, St. Romain was second in extemporaneous and television speaking, and Miss Juneau was a finalist in extemporaneous speaking. In the spring the team took fourth place in the Congressional Cup Invitational Debate Tournament at Washington, D.C. (10)

Linda Mitchell was crowned Miss SCAAC in the Black Expo 72 contest referred to earlier, and Jacqueline Duplechin was crowned Miss Expo 72 at the Southwest Louisiana Trade Expo at the Civic Center. Denise Foshee was Little Colonel for the 1972-1973 year. Freshman Queen Ginger Brown presided over a court made up of Jacqueline Duplechin, Jenny Harper, Peggy Andrus, and Tallie Semar, Lana Kate Brunet was Homecoming Queen, and her maids were Rosanna Armand, Marilyn Coe, Linda McQueen, Sonya Shaheen, Marcia Lynn Miller, and the recurring Jacqueline Duplechin. Finally, Janie Stein was LaBelle, and Marilyn Coe, Marta Graybill, Rosie Lee LaBove, Jo Lynn Mahfouz, Linda Mitchell, Reinette Morin, JoAnn Shidla, and Eileen Wittler were her maids. (11)

Fred Nodier, district manager of Southern Bell at Lake Charles, became president of the Alumni Association in November 1972, and Charles W. Bellon, training supervisor for PPG Industries, was president-elect. Mrs. Helen Daughenbaugh Vincent became secretary, and Connie Berry, Peter Crawford, Richard Guillory, Dennis S. O’Reilly, and Mrs. Patricia Valdetero were elected to the Board of Directors. The alumni awarded twenty-year pins to Mrs. Brownie Boozer, Billy Frank Gossett, Ellis Guillory, O. D. Hyatt, and Ralph Ward, and Mrs. Boozer received the alumni president’s cup. The Alumni also voted in 1972 to discontinue the annual shrimp boil for seniors; it had become too expensive. (12)

Alumnus Claude Roberts, Air Force first lieutenant, received the Distinguished Flying Cross for helicopter rescue missions in Vietnam, and Lake Charles newspapers gave considerable attention to Allen Commander, who after foreign service in Iran had earned a doctor of philosophy degree from George Washington University and then taken a job with the University of Houston. Alumnus T. E. Wooden read a paper before the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers at their Louisville meeting, and former varsity football player Rocke Fournet, who had been working as a stevedore in Lake Charles, signed a contract with the professional Cincinnati Bengals. The alumni made two donations amounting to $8,500 to the university during the year. (13)

New faculty coming to the campus in the fall of 1972 included Harold J. Aymond, who would eventually be head of the Department of Agriculture, Joe Lynn Cash, who would in time head the Department of Languages, Clarene Carson and J. C. LeBourgeois in the Library, Duford Henry in Accounting, Roy Patin in Economics, Celeste Stanfield in Office Administration, and Mrs. Adrienne Ham in Home Economics. Thomas Brand in Education and James D. Lane in Biology were promoted to full professor, and Charles Sparks in Health and Physical Education, John D. Bennett and Sundaram Swetharanyam in Mathematics, and Franklin LeBar in Music were promoted to associate professor. Donald J. Millet was made director of the Southwest Louisiana Historical Institute, really a post created for him, and spent the short time before he retired with 40 years’ service gathering historical materials for the Library. Thomas D. Watson, who had come to McNeese in the spring of 1972, received the Ph.D. in history from Texas Tech University in August. (14)

There were three important new developments at McNeese insofar as faculty were concerned. One result of the State Board investigation of McNeese was a recommendation that a faculty council be established. Robert D. Hebert was made chairmen of a committee to draft a constitution for his body, and Hebert announced in January that a council could be operational before the end of the spring semester. Thus an organ for the expression of faculty opinion was provided. Secondly, McNeese began a mini-grant program to aid faculty members in research. The first mini-grants went to Michael Connella, III, to help with the astronomical observatory he was establishing on the McNeese farm, and to John M. Norris, III, to pay his traveling expenses for reading a paper to the National Environmental Health Organization at its New York meeting. George Dukes in biology and Joe Gray Taylor in history received mini-grants during the year. Finally, McNeese faculty began a series of humanities programs, partly financed by the Louisiana Committee for the Humanities, that for several years would represent a major effort to keep the community informed on appropriate issues. (15)

Louis Riviere was honored by being named a director for the Southwest Association of College and University Housing Officers, and Arthur Lee was elected president of the Louisiana Association of State College and University Business Officers. Barbara Belew was named president of the Louisiana chapter of the American Harp Society, and band director Kelly Love led the Mississippi Band Clinic at Biloxi, Mississippi. Kathleen Allums, Franklin LeBar, and Barbara Belew attended the Annual Meeting of the Louisiana Music Teachers Association; Francis Bulber as usual attended the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music, this year at Minneapolis; and Mary S. Kordisch was again a participant in a National Science Foundation Chautauqua course for college teachers, this time at LSU. (16)

Among faculty publications, microbiologist Harold K. Speidel had two articles in Developments in Industrial Microbiology, and Laura M. Patterson had an article in Proceedings of the Southern Management Association. The twentieth volume of the McNeese Review included and article by Joe Gray Taylor, and Curtis C. Whittington published poems in the Vanderbilt Poetry Review. Lise Pedersen had an article accepted for publication by the Shaw Review. And "Tennis Jim" Brown published three articles on his sport, one in Scholastic Coach, one in Louisiana Schools, and one in LAHPER Journal. (17)

Musical offerings during the year included a summer choir concert, featuring soloists Monte Nichols, Victor Green, Claudia Long, Carol T. Kyle, Sherron Doucet, Finers Cryer, and Lynne Ellis. The 33rd presentation of the Messiah came in December, and Dean Bulber noted that over the years more than 2,000 persons had participated. This year the soloists were Margaret Hauptmann of Des Moines, Sharon Lawrence Brown and William David Brown of Louisville, and Charles Nelson of Commerce, Texas. At the performance, Kathleen Allums and Tim Dugas were honored for 30 years’ participation, and Mrs. Mary Garrison, Gordon M. Gauthier, Mrs. Edna M. Hines, Mrs. Jennie B. Reichley, and Florence Rosefeld were honored for their contribution over 20 years. The spring musical was, once more, Oklahoma. Christine Barbour and Phil Doucet had the lead parts, and Jeanne LeBoeuf and Colin C. Purdy had two other important roles. (18)

In the fall the Bayou Players produced A Streetcar Named Desire, with Arthur Wannage as Stanley Kowalski, Mrs. Janet Lantrip as Stella Kowalski, Delena Newsom as Blanche DuBois, and Homer Ferguson as "Mitch" Mitchell. The spring play was The World of Carl Sandberg with Darla Bruce, James Johnson, Jackie Bland, Charles Fontenot, and Rick Cardenas taking part. The Bayou Players were flattered in December when Playbill, the national magazine of Alpha Psi Omega dramatic fraternity, published photographs of action in two McNeese productions Angel Street and Tobacco Road. (19)

This year the McNeese football team had an 8-3 record, and the baseball team won 16 games and lost 15. In tennis the record was 7 wins, 4 losses, and 1 tie, and the track team, with Fanahan McSweeney as its star, entered 10 meets and won 5. McNeese coach Robert Hayes was the Southland Conference Track Coach of the Year. The basketball record was 19-7, the best since 1968. This was the first year that the basketball team played in the Lake Charles Civic Center, where games would continue until the 1986-1987 season. It should be noted, also, that 8 athletes, led by David Wallace who had a 3.5 average, made the university honor roll in the fall semester, and 19 did likewise in the spring. Two football players, James Moore and Larry Rawlinson, were named to the Associated Press All-American college team, and Enos Hicks won honorable mention. McNeese also had a women’s basketball team, coached by Loretta LeBato, that won 10 out of 15 games played, and on a budget of $70.00. (20)

Unfortunately, public attention was not focused on team records, but rather on a scandal that rocked the basketball team. It became known that someone on the McNeese coaching staff had actually taken ACT tests (standardized tests on which would-be athletes had to make a certain very low score) for two basketball players recruited by McNeese. Coach Reigel, who had been the star on the best basketball team McNeese had ever fielded, had much local support, but the Faculty Athletic Committee, headed by Louis Reily, began a thorough investigation. The NCAA prohibited McNeese from participating in championship tournament basketball competition, and Coach Reigel was barred from recruiting for an indefinite period of time. In September Reigel was placed on probation by the faculty committee, which said if it found other irregularities, the coach’s employment would be terminated. At an Alexandria gathering of college coaches and sportswriters, Reigel said that he had certainly "come to know the meaning of adversity." (21)

Two hundred and ninety-five diplomas, over half of them for graduate degrees, were awarded in July 1972, and Diana L. Fontenot, Gerry Louise Gray, and Reginald J. Ringuet received summa cum laude honors. In December 296 degrees were awarded, and Finis A. Crutchfield, United Methodist Bishop of Louisiana, was the speaker. Susan Morris was the only summa cum laude graduate and Lana Andrews, Lorraine Clinger, Carolyn Dupree, Thomas Slaydon, and Stephanie Zaunbrecher won magna cum laude honors. Dr. John E. Gray, president of Lamar University at Beaumont, was the speaker for spring graduation, when 395 students received degrees, with Nancy H. Beazer, Betty A. Evenson, Karen Ann Hallaman, and Wendy Isaac earning summa cum laude honors. (22)


The McNeese Catalogue for 1973-1974 had a new version of the university’s purpose:

McNeese State University is an institution of higher learning which offers opportunities for students to receive the education and training needed to participate more effectively in the intellectual, economic, social, and cultural life of our society. The facilities of the University are equally available to all students regardless of race, color, sex, or national origins.

The Purposes of the University are
1. To meet the educational needs of the students.
2. To serve the local community and society at large by providing cultural and educational leadership.
3. To stimulate students toward maximum intellectual growth while at the same time providing an atmosphere conducive to their total development.
4. To provide the facilities and the opportunities necessary to the search for truth and the expansion of knowledge through research and other forms of creative expression.

In order to accomplish these purposes, the University provides undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs and offers many specialized services to meet the individual needs of the students in a changing society. (23)

Enrollment figures in the fall of 1973 showed 348 fewer students than the previous fall: 1,969 freshmen, 1,014 sophomores, 855 juniors, 1,059 seniors, and 915 graduate students. There was a decline in every group except seniors, but the most significant fact was that freshmen enrollment was lower than at any time since 1969. In the spring an increase in graduate students and seniors and a larger than usual carryover of freshmen brought a slight increase, to a total of 5,674 students as compared to 5,602 in the spring of 1973. There were a number of reasons for the autumn decline, including fewer high school graduates in the area served by the university, but most important was the fact that with the draft at an end, many young men no longer felt the need of a college education. (24)

Physical improvements were weighed heavily in favor of athletics. The university was authorized to issue $1,500,000 in bonds, secured by revenues from Evangeline Downs and Delta Downs, of which $300,000 was to be used for the renovation of Kaufman Hall, $30,000 for work on the Library, $43,000 for the Fine Arts Building, and $1,127,000 for the stadium and other athletic facilities. A $100,000 project for converting King Dormitory into apartments was already underway. (25)

A number of personnel changes occurred. Roy Cates became director of orientation, and Louis Riviere was made dean of men. Kelly Love departed from McNeese, not altogether with good will, and Earl Parquette became band director. The illness of Dean of the Graduate School Clet Girard triggered a number of changes. Girard became Honors Professor of English, but his health would soon force his retirement. Bruce Landers transferred from the Graduate School, and Gene Campbell became dean of the School of Education. In January President Leary announced that Maurice Pullig would replace Francis Bulber, who would soon reach the then forced retirement age of 65, as dean of the School of Fine Arts at the end of the spring semester. (26)

This was the year that the Coordinating Council for Higher Education approved a curriculum in criminal justice for McNeese, a curriculum that would attract large numbers of students. This was also the year when a convention was at last rewriting Louisiana’s long outmoded state constitution. The new constitution would have major effects upon McNeese State University, because the Board of Regents, formerly the Coordinating Council, became much more powerful then it had been previously. Also, state administration of elementary and secondary education was separated from higher education, and a Board of Trustees for State Colleges and Universities was created to supervise all state-supported higher education other than the Louisiana State University and the Southern University systems. This was also the year that McNeese began the self-study that resulted in reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, a process that would be completed in 1974. (27)

People who were at McNeese in the spring of 1974, faculty and students, will probably remember this as the year of the streaker. McNeese, as noted earlier had escaped most of the crazes of the 1960s and the early 1970s, but "streaking," which consisted of naked students running from one place to another across the campus, did reach McNeese, though certainly not to the extent it appeared on other campuses. On March 6, 1974, the author had the privilege of watching three naked male students who had begun their trek on the steps of the Library jog across the campus and climb into an automobile on the circle in front of Kaufman Hall. They were not examples of the body beautiful, and one rather heavy young man was obviously at the limits of his endurance when he reached the waiting car. The streakers were pursued by campus police on easily-escaped Cushman electric vehicles, and after they were in the car, arriving police sought to pull them out while a university administrator shouted that they should not be again exposed to the public. McNeese apparently did not produce any female streakers. (28)

Whitney Harris was elected president of the Student Government Association, becoming the first black student to hold that office. Harris graduated at the end of the fall semester, and he was replaced by Robert Landers. Joe Gray Taylor, Jr., became cadet commander of the ROTC contingent, which began accepting women on the same basis as men, except that they could not be commissioned into a combat branch of the Army. Once more, Black Expo week was scheduled for October by the SCAAC, and Ethel Broussard was elected president of the female resident students, making her the first black to hold that office. Thirty-five students were named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, and 1,362 undergraduates, 30 percent of those registered, were listed on the spring honor roll, so grade inflation at McNeese was far from ended. One student, Matthew Herbert Morrow, drowned in July 1973, but no others were recorded as meeting untimely deaths. On the cheerful side, in late August Federal District Judge Earl Veron upheld the decision of the State Tax Appeal Board to allow the sale of beer on the McNeese campus. (29)

Smitty Midkiff and David McCain edited the Contraband in 1973-1974, and Donna Guidry Little once more edited the Log. Ann Murchison, a Barbe High School graduate, won the McNeese Foundation’s $4,800 scholarship, and this was well-invested money. Karen Hallaman, a 1973 graduate in statistics, won a teaching assistantship at Vanderbilt University, and N. E. Robertson, who had won a scholarship for study in France, returned after two years, extremely well satisfied with his time in Europe and, briefly, in North Africa. During the summer of 1973, five McNeese students were at the University of Angers in France on CODOFIL scholarships; they were Angela Fuselier, Joelyn Hennigan, James Liprie, Gwendolyn Miller, and Becky Robinson. Arthur Wannage earned the McNeese Foundation gradate fellowship, and in the spring he directed the Lake Charles Little Theater production of  I Never Sang for My Father. Mrs. Rebecca J. Denson won the annual Wall Street Journal Student Achievement award, and Janet Gail Riggs received a graduate scholarship to study mathematics at LSU. Randy Battaglio earned the educational achievement award of the Lake Charles Chapter of the Society of Louisiana Certified Accountants, and Cynthia Jean Scott, who had completed the difficult pre-medical curriculum at McNeese with no grade lower than A, was awarded the Dr. Ben Goldsmith scholarship for a McNeese student who had been admitted to a medical school. (30)

The sororities listed in the 1974 Log were the same as those of the previous year, but only eight social fraternities were listed; one black organization had disappeared. A number of fraternities and sororities had planned houses on Auburn Street, one block east of Common Street, near the campus, but the building of these houses was challenged by a church and some residents of the area. The City Council did not "discover" that the existing zoning regulations would permit the location of fraternity and sorority houses on Auburn Street until April 10, 1974. On April 28, Alpha Delta Pi’s building was completed. In time, Auburn Street would become fraternity and sorority row. (31)

The debate team of 1973 would not compare with some of the outstanding teams of previous years, but it had its high points. Leading debaters were Mark Broussard, Phillip St. Romain, Mary Jo Juneau, and Gweneyette Montou. After winning a meet at Lafayette in November, in January the team was ninth among 50 colleges and universities at the Great Salt Lake Invitational Forensics Tournament. Then, in February 1974, the team placed in the top ten at the Alexander Hamilton Invitational Tournament in New York City. In March McNeese was third in the Spring Hill Tournament at Mobile. (32)

Becky Black, Cindy Crosby, Susan Oakley, and Vicki Fontenot were maids to Freshman Queen Jan Hardy in September 1973, and Rosanna Armand was Homecoming Queen with Emily Berry, Jeri Dupin, Jo Lynn Mahfouz, Sandy Michel, Sue Oakley, and Sonya Shaheen as her maids. Marcia Lynn Miller was LaBelle, with Jackie Duplechin, Sandy Michel, Debbie Bordelon, Suzanne Degaterre, Sonya Shaheen, Yvonne Marie Miller, Jan Perkins, and Jeri Dupin making up her court. Shannon Fuselier was Little Colonel in 1973-1974, and Debbie Fruge was elected queen of Contraband Days. (33)

Alumni President Fred Nodier turned over his gavel to president-elect Chuck Bellon at Homecoming. Connie Berry and Charles Goen had been candidates to replace Bellon, and Goen was the victor. Twenty-year pins were awarded to Kenneth Sweeney, Nowell Daste, and Dee Newland at the alumni banquet, and Donald Millet, soon to retire, was awarded the alumni president's cup. The Lake Charles American Press noted in October the visit of alumnus Warren Hinchee to the campus. Hinchee, a member of the class of 1941, had been business manager of the Contraband and president of the student body, and in 1973 was general manager of the Burbank, California, Public Service Department. The McNeese Foundation was not part of the Alumni Association, but it should be noted that in December 1973, James O. Fogleman succeeded alumnus Fred Godwin as head of the Foundation, which now had assets of $236,000. (34)

Many familiar faculty faces were missing at the beginning of the fall semester 1973. John Oakley, who had been at McNeese from the first year, was retiring, as were Kathleen and Robert Pittman, Edward McLaughlin, and Franklin LeBar. In the spring Mrs. Margery Wilson, who had directed the Speech Department for so many years, and who had for all practical purposes introduced drama to the campus, passed away. Others, including Laura Patterson, Robert Earl Tuner, Kelly Love, and John Suydam, also left for one reason or another, but Turner and Suydam would return. (35)

The most significant retirement was that of Francis Bulber. He stepped down as dean at the end of the spring semester 1974, though he would remain as a faculty member until the end of the calendar year. In early May, students of the Music Department surprised him with a concert of music made up of numbers from the many spring musicals he had directed. On May 11, the Fine Arts faculty held a dinner for Dean Bulber, and two days later a lavish reception in his honor was held at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Nor was that all; Lake Charles Mayor James Sudduth declared May 19, 1974, to be "Francis Bulber Day." Dean Bulber had many years ahead of him, and at this writing his beaming countenance is almost sure to be seen at any significant musical event at McNeese or elsewhere in Lake Charles. (36)

New faculty in the fall of 1973 included Robert Doty in Engineering and Wilma C. Moore in Office Administration. Under the tenure system then in effect, no fewer than 29 faculty members received tenure, David Tauber among them. Michael Connella’s observatory, with its new eight-inch telescope, was nearing operational status. Lieutenant Colonel Ted Prince now headed the McNeese ROTC. Back in the spring semester 88 percent of the faculty had voted in favor of establishing a faculty council, and in the fall the council began functioning, with Robert D. Herbert as chairman, Kalil Ieyoub as vice chairman, and Loretta LeBato as secretary. (37)

Arthur Lee served as president of the Louisiana Association of State College and University Business Officers in 1973-1974, and Glenn Cobb was elected president of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences. Donald J. Millet headed the Lake Charles Bicentennial Commission, and Jerry Brown was elected president of the Southwest Louisiana Speech Association. George Middleton was president of the Louisiana Psychological Association, and Norma Tornabene became vice president of Louisiana Women Deans and Counselors. Barbara Belew was elected to a second two-year term as president of the Louisiana Chapter of the American Harp Society, and Robert D. Herbert was elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Historical Association. The improving quality of the McNeese faculty was demonstrated by these offices held in professional organizations. (38)

The faculty also demonstrated its growing maturity by scholarly presentations and publications. Robert Doty of Engineering read a paper at Yale University to the Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society, Division of Fluid Dynamics, and historian Thomas D. Watson was a panelist on Louisiana’s first Bicentennial Town Meeting at Baton Rouge. Numerous faculty members, most from the School of Humanities, participated in a series of panel discussions at the Lake Charles Civic Center, and a recital works by local composers included compositions by Robert Jordahl and Albert Stoutamire. Thomas Watson read a paper at the March meeting of the Louisiana Historical Association, as did Joe Gray Taylor, and Watson also read a paper to the Southwest Louisiana Historical Association. Edward J. Milligan and Robert C. Ritter read papers to an American Society for Microbiology meeting in Baton Rouge, and Ts-an-yen and George Fister read papers to a similar meeting in Houston. Tenor Ronald Brumley gave a faculty recital in Squires Auditorium, and Albert Stoutamire published two music and commentary booklets. Finally Jim Mack Brown published three articles, two in Tennis Times and one in Tennis Trade. (39)

The Messiah performance for 1974 was a very special occasion, because it was assumed to be the last conducted by Francis Bulber, who introduced William Groves as the new conductor. One hundred radio stations in the United States and Canada, as well as the armed services network, carried the broadcast. Dr. J. Malcolm Leveque and Mrs. Marguerite Mouton were recognized for 30 years with the chorus, and Mrs. Eliza Stewart of Jennings received credit for 25 years. (40)

In the fall of 1973, the Bayou Players presented John Patrick’s Teahouse of the August Moon, with Charlene Hudgins, James Louviere, Mrs. Linda Leonard, Barbara Silvers, Butch Purdy, and Bruce Campbell in important roles. The spring play was Johnny Belinda, with Kay Clark, David Dickens, James Johnson, Marsha Blacketter, and James Louviere in the cast. The spring musical was the famous Merry Widow, with Christine Barbour and Phil Doucet in lead parts. The Civic Ballet under Lady Leah LaFargue aided in the performance, and the Lionesses provided the costumes needed. In October, Boyce Reid and Daniel Sher of LSU gave a duo-piano recital in Squires Auditorium in exchange for a previous recital in Baton Rouge by Fred Sahlmann. Then Ronald Brumley as Don Basilio and Allen Fuller in the orchestra participated in the Beaumont Civic Orchestra’s production of The Marriage of Figaro. In January the McNeese Lyceum presented the Continental Theater Company’s production of The Comedy of Errors, and in February a woodwind quintet recital featured Fred Sahlmann as piano soloist and Mary Smothers King as voice soloist. In April the a capella choir under William Groves sang in the Lake Charles Civic Symphony’s last concert of the season. (41)

The football team in 1974 won 7 games and lost 3, and the basket ball record was 20 wins to 5 losses. The cross-country team won the Southland Conference meet, and the track team placed fourth in the conference. The golf team was second in the conference and would have been first, except that someone signed the wrong scorecard and hit the wrong ball. Some unease was brought about by federal Title IX requirements for women’s sports, which Athletic Director Doland characterized as "stupid" and "ill-timed." The big publicity in McNeese sports came in regard to the recruiting violations noted the previous year, which were now under investigation by the NCAA. In April, basketball coach Reigel resigned as of June 30, but in May, when the Faculty Athletic Committee uncovered additional violations, and when Reigel refused to turn over Cage Club checks or to appear before the committee, he was fired for insubordination. (42)

Homer Hitt of the University of New Orleans was the graduation speaker in the summer of 1973 when 322 degrees were awarded without any summa cum laude graduates. In December, when 321 graduates received degrees, Cynthia Bowers was summa cum laude. At the end of the spring semester, Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Louis Michot spoke to the graduating class. The ceremony had been scheduled for the stadium, but a torrential rain forced it into the Auditorium, where Michot, a self-made man, told the 462 graduates that they did not need a college education. One friend of a graduate present was heard to say he could make a better speech anywhere, on any subject, at any time. David Guillory, Lynn Morgan, and Roberta Kim Taylor were summa cum laude graduates on this occasion, and Deborah Arrambide, Sharon Barnes, Margaret Bebee, Jacqueline Coe, Jo Ann Cooley, Mike Cormier, Debra Duplechain, Vickie Drum, Grace Falcon, Nancy Gilley, Melanie Hewitt, Martha Maier, Joan Moore, Deborah Nabours, Ida Poe, and Eva Moses Savoy graduated magna cum laude. (43)


Enrollment for the fall semester 1974 registered another decline, a total of 5,686 as compared to 5,837 the previous fall. This total was made up of 1,907 freshmen, 1,056 sophomores, 836 juniors, 1,008 seniors, and 845 graduate students. In the spring there was a total of 5,476 students, 198 fewer than the previous spring, made up of 1,644 freshmen, 989 sophomores, 829 juniors, 1,045 seniors, and 942 graduates. This downward trend in enrollment would persist for seven years. Pictures in the Log show 46 black graduate students, 14 percent of the total; 47 black seniors, 6 percent; 189 black freshmen, 12.6 percent; and thus a movement toward more complete integration. As if to compensate for the decline in enrollment, the budget for 1974-1975 was up almost a million dollars, permitting a slight cost-of-living adjustment and a 5.5 percent increase in salary for faculty and other salaried personnel. (44)

The year might be remembered for a number of other things. J. C. Barman, former head of the Department of Agriculture, died on September 20, 1974. On June 16, the Lake Charles City Council refused once more to rezone Auburn Street, and the building of fraternity and sorority houses continued at a rapid pace. The student body voted to permit the sale of beer in the Ranch on weekday afternoons, but President Leary decided otherwise. In March the Board of Trustees ruled that such sales were permissible, and this controversy seemed to be at an end. (45)

In the elections of May 1974, McNeese students voted to assess themselves $15 a semester to finance the building of a new student center. They also, by a vote of 824 to 491, elected David Dickens SGA president over Joe Bonesio. Stephen Paul Peterson was cadet commander of the ROTC this year, and David McCain edited the Contraband. Once more the Contraband received the highest possible rating, All-American, from the Associated Collegiate Press. In the fall, 1,376 students, 28 percent of the undergraduate enrollment, were listed on the honor roll, and in the spring the 1,315 students on the honor roll were almost 29 percent of the total undergraduate student body. (46)

Music majors Jeannie Adams and Linda Hoover attended the National Convention of Sigma Alpha Iota, national music fraternity for women, at Kansas City, and Mrs. Linda LeBlanc, an English education major, won the McNeese Foundation graduate scholarship for 1975. The fifth Foundation scholarship was initiated during the year and was won by pre-law major Lane Royer. Michael Lanza, a history major, won a scholarship to the University of Chicago Graduate School for advanced work in history. This was an achievement for Lanza primarily, but also for McNeese; the University of Chicago awarded only 20 such scholarships per year for students all over the United States. Richard Brown and Gerald Daigle were the outstanding agriculture students for the year, and Mrs. Marie Hebert won the 1975 American Institute for Chemists student award. Charles J. Starkovitch won a graduate assistantship to Purdue University in agronomy, and music major Gwen Reasoner was chosen to tour Europe with the American Youth Symphony band and chorus. Twenty-one McNeese students had art works on exhibit at Lamar University in Beaumont, and Mark Broussard, physics major and member of the debate team, was awarded an assistantship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology valued at $7,200. (47)

The 1974-1975 debate team was made up of Phillip St. Romain, Mark Broussard, Mary Jo Juneau, Cathy Bodin, Tommy Tolin, and Gweneyette Broussard. This team succeeded in taking sixth place among 61 colleges and universities at the Southern Hospitality Forensics Tournament at Southern Connecticut State College. Jean Ann Fogleman was Freshman Queen in the fall of 1974, and Marcia Miller was Homecoming Queen, presiding over a court made up of Sandra Michel, Sonya Shaheen, Jackie Duplechin, Jeri Dupin, Susan Oakley, and Jean Ann Fogleman. In 1975, the LaBelle contest became a preliminary for the Miss Louisiana and Miss USA contests, and the format changed. The contestants were Diane Campbell, Marcia Wilkerson, Peggy Andrus, Laura Duhon, Rose Timpa, Reinette Morin, Cynthia Murphy, Pamela Guillory, and Debra Davis. Diane Campbell won, and Andrus and Morin were runners-up. Times had changed at McNeese; Cynthia Murphy and Pamela Guillory were black. It should also be noted here that Norma Morin was Little Colonel and that Wanda Donaldson won the title of Texas Rice Festival Queen. (48)

Charles Goen became alumni president at Homecoming, 1974, and D.C. (Chick) Green became president-elect. Robert Bryant, James Hobbs, Patricia Bulber, Elaine Jarmon, Norman Smith, and Thomas Zolki received 20-year pins. In addition, James Fogleman and Francis Bulber became honorary alumni. The alumni fund to be devoted to building an alumni center was growing, but slowly. (49)

There was little increase in faculty in 1974-1975. Frederick Tooley, Louis Reily, and Dowell Fontenot retired from McNeese, Fontenot to go into private practice as a physical therapist. Two new faculty members were David Rigney in Speech and Constance Davis in Visual Arts, both of whom would contribute to the development of the university. Kalil Ieyoub became the second chairman of the Faculty Council, which numbered among its achievements the creation of an official Appeals Committee to settle disputes between faculty members and between faculty members and any member of the administration other than the president. (50)

Faculty activity in professional organizations continued as George White became president of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences, and Norma Tornabene was president of the Louisiana Association of Women Deans, Administrators, and Counselors. Sundaram Swetharanyam became president of the Sabine-Neches Chapter of the Data Processing Management Association and attended the Region III directors’ meeting of that organization in San Antonio and the National Computer Conference in Anaheim, California. Elmer Wagner attended the Okoboji Conference of the Association for Educational Technology at the University of Iowa, and William Groves was on hand for the Houston meeting of the National Association of Schools of Music. (51)

This was also a good year for faculty publications. Joe L. Cash of the Languages Department had an article in Volume XXI of the McNeese Review, and Robert Jordahl of the Department of Music published Songs from Shakespeare. Donald J. Millet published an article in Louisiana History, Thomas D. Watson in the Red River Historical Review, and Thomas Hale in Contemporary Review. Joe Gray Taylor published a book, Louisiana Reconstructed, 1863-1867, that won the L. Kemper Williams prize for the best book of the year on Louisiana history and the Louisiana Literary Award for the best book of the year on a Louisiana subject. Before the year was over, Taylor was selected to write the bicentennial history of Louisiana. Zoologist Joe Black’s work with crayfish, especially his attempt to produce a strain of blue crayfish, had scientific value, and also earned McNeese favorable publicity. (52) The Messiah continued to be a major event of the year for McNeese and for Southwest Louisiana. The chorus had all the voices it could use by the middle of October 1974. The Bayou Players presented Ibsen’s The Master Builder in the fall, with Robert Rogers and Dolores Peshoff in lead roles. One newspaper critic maintained that the play was "too heavy" for the McNeese group. The spring play was William Inge’s Picnic, with Paul Garner, Cynthia Clippinger, Mrs. Elaina Basone, Marsha Blacketter, Pat Gunter, James Louviere, and Jimmy Dan Roberts in the cast. The spring musical was Guys and Dolls, and two students, Marsha Blacketter and Robert Rogers, were assistant directors. Other cultural opportunities of the year were an art exhibit by New York artist Helen Gerardia and a piano recital by Fred Sahlmann. (53)

McNeese’s 1974 football team had a 7-4-1 record, and center James Files was named All-American in college class and selected to play in the Shrine Bowl. In his first year at McNeese, E. W. Foy had a 16-8 record in basketball and won the Southland Conference championship. In June 1975, Glenn Duhon, Barbe High coach, became Foy’s assistant. The championship meant less than it otherwise might have, because McNeese was on SLC and NCAA probation as a result of the indiscretions of previous years. The baseball team had a 13-24 record, and in golf the McNeese team was third in the conference. The stadium, with more than $1,000,000 in state money, was being expanded to hold 20,000 spectators, and a new track was under construction. The cross-country track team was second in the SLC meet, but track as a whole did not do nearly so well. Probably the most significant development in sports was that under federal government and NCAA pressure a women’s volleyball team and basketball team came into being, though only $6,000 was provided to support them. (54)

In the summer of 1974, Leslie A. Chambers of the School of Public Health of the University of Texas spoke to 315 graduates. Daniel Fournerat graduated magna cum laude on this occasion. Brigadier General Robert Arter, ROTC commander for McNeese’s region spoke to 329 December graduates. Deborah Raymond and Felice Dardeau were summa cum laude graduates at this ceremony. Fred H. Ramseur, a Cities Service Corporation executive, spoke to the 432 May graduates. Summa cum laude spring graduates were Michael Lanza (with an overall 4.0 average), Martha Rounsavalle, Dudley Robertson, Gregory Klein, Rebecca Abshire (now comptroller of the university), Mark Broussard, Darla Blaylock, Denise Guilbeaux, Ralph Buford, and Elizabeth Elliott. (55)


Marking Time

Enrollment in the fall of 1975 showed a gain of almost 6 percent over the previous fall, to 6,013. Of these 2,066 were freshmen, 1,014 were sophomores, 919 were juniors, 1,027 were seniors and 955 were graduate students. One feature of this registration was that for the first time in McNeese history, women outnumbered men in the student body. The end of the draft was no doubt responsible. The dormitories were 90 percent filled, but that figure is a bit misleading. King Hall had been made into apartments for married students, and Bel Hall was used only for guest housing. Spring enrollment also set a new record, 5,720 , with 1,766 freshmen, 953 sophomores, 880 juniors, 1,127 seniors, and 903 graduate students. Once more women outnumbered men, 2,925 to 2,795. (1) In the fall of 1975 the Department of Educational Services was established under former registrar Billy Brown, and Linda Finley became registrar. ACT test scores of entering freshmen indicated that eight out of ten of them did not read at freshmen level. In an attempt to aid weak students and to maintain enrollment, the date for dropping a course without receiving a grade in that course was changed from mid-term to only a couple of weeks before the beginning of finals. This mistaken policy, not yet fully abandoned, resulted in much wasted teaching and testing and probably some abuse of the GI bill. The number of W grades almost doubled. A study of students who dropped out or who were suspended for academic reasons in the fall semester showed that half of them were freshmen. It might be noted on the positive side that enrollment in ROTC rose by almost 50 percent to 145 men and women, and student evaluation of teachers was bringing dismay to some instructors and gratification to others. (2)

The McNeese budget for 1975-1976 was $9,361,000, an increase of $488,000 over the previous year, and $308,000 of the increase was designated for salary raises for faculty and staff. In the main this completed on an annual basis a five percent raise granted by the legislature the previous year. At long last it was necessary to admit that Chennault was not a satisfactory campus. Consequently, McNeese received permission to dispose of the 242 acres expensively but unsatisfactorily maintained there since 1964, and to use the proceeds to build facilities for engineering and technology on the main campus. The university donated some Chennault land to the Calcasieu Training and Evaluation Center for retarded children. (3)

Interest in the new criminal justice curriculum grew steadily in 1975-1976, and a surprising number of women were attracted. In January a $27,000 federal grant by way of the local sheriff’s office was a stimulus. In November a decorative fountain placed in front of Gayle Hall, the new Agriculture and Home Economics building, was dedicated to the memory of Seaman A. Knapp, pioneer Southwest Louisiana agricultural reformer. In fairness, it should be noted that the Knapp family provided part of the cost of this memorial. (4)

In 1974, in response to chronic student dissatisfaction, McNeese sought and received permission from the Board of Trustees to hire a food service company to operate the cafeteria and to issue $1.5 million in bonds, to be serviced by a $15.00 assessment added to student fees by vote of the student body, for the expansion of the student union-cafeteria complex. Work on the new facilities finally began in the fall of 1975. (5)

A number of new administrators helped run the college in 1975-1976. Kinney Dickhute was in charge of purchasing, and Ralph Stocking was accountant for grants. George Copeland was budget officer, and Betty Nixon was comptroller. Sundaram Swetharanyam was the director of the computer center, such as it was, Gerald Page was testing counselor, John Smith farm manager, and Ralph Ward, waiting for retirement, was property control officer. (6)

Joyce Patterson was president of the Student Government Association in 1975-1976, and Pat Quirk president-elect. Charles S. New was cadet commander. Beer was now on sale in the Ranch, open cans only, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Students, and more than a few faculty, took some satisfaction in the achievement of a student prankster who managed to acquire an immobilizer and, by swimming Contraband Bayou, put it on one of the campus security cars. He also attached an almost official ticket: "Do not attempt to move this car. It had been immobilized by (student’s name). Reason for immobilizing: returning a favor." (7)

A freshman, Roger Mark Williams, received a national honor, the Chemical Rubber Company Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award. Senior Gus Schram passed the CPA examination on his first attempt, and three recent graduates - Dolores McCormick, Darla Blaylock, and Curtis Meaux - also became certified public accountants. Darrell Spencer received the McNeese Foundation fellowship, which he used for graduate work in microbiology, and Sheila Gauthreaux and Mark Williams won undergraduate scholarships from the Foundation. Special scholastic awards went to Priscilla Culver from the Kiwanis Club and to Michael Westbrook from the Department of Agriculture. Joe Barbour won the Wall Street Journal Achievement Award for unusual accomplishment in an academic field. In the Louisiana College Writers Contest, Bonnie Cocchiara won second place in personal essay, Charles Green third in one-act play, and Janice Newman and Robert Patin honorable mention in short story. Perhaps the greatest achievement of all was that of Judy Iglinsky Tarver, who earned the first perfect score at McNeese given by Dolive Benoit in Miss Benoit’s 36 years of teaching at McNeese. Finally, James Arthur Filkins won a fellowship in history at the University of Illinois at Champaign. He would go on to earn a Ph.D. in history. (8)

The Student Congress for Afro-American Culture (SCAAC) put on "Black Expo" in February 1976 to stress the role of black culture in the United States. No fewer than 1,333 students, more than 26 percent of the student body, made the honor roll in the fall semester, and 443 students, 9 percent of the student body, made the president’s honor roll, which required a minimum average of 3.5 of a possible 4.0. Grade inflation was not dead. The debate team, Ken Mancuso, David Guillory, Mary Jo Juneau, Cathy Bodin, Charles Green, and Mary Prudhomme, took fourth place in the Thresher Invitational Tourney at Bethel College in Kansas, and scored in the top ten percent in the Owl Invitational Tournament at Connecticut College, but after this year debate would almost cease to exist for some time. Joe Barbour, 81 years of age in March, was not only winning academic honors; he was also active in the Kappa Sigma Fraternity as he approached graduation. Finally, of 20 McNeese students listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, 6 were in one of the professional education fields, 4 were music majors, 3 were in accounting, and 2 each were in pre-medical, business, and psychology. (9)

The freshman court in 1975 was made up of Janet Crowe, Lisa Clark, Wanda Donaldson, and Cindy Chambers, presided over by Queen Patti Gain. Paula Shipp was Homecoming Queen, and her maids were Denise Doucet, Peggy Andrus, Glenda Carrier, Vicki Fontenot, and Mary Guidry. It is noteworthy that Misses Carrier and Guidry were beautiful young black women. Nanette Knight won the LaBelle title, and Debra Knippers, Cynthia Tomlinson, Mary Ann Turner, Kathleen Annie Ryan, Phyllis Mary Bourgeois, Susan Brown, Sheila Louise Prisock, Ramona Sweeney, and Christine Larue Fife made up the court. Patricia Flavin was Engineering Queen. (10)

D. C. (Chick) Green became the 30th president of the McNeese Alumni Association in the fall of 1975. Pat Quirk was president-elect, and Willena Bonnette, Wildridge Doucet (mayor of Westlake), Dowell Fontenot, H. Gayle Marshall, and John Smith were named to the alumni Board of Directors. Billy Frank Gossett called attention to the fact that since 1968, when students assessed themselves for the alumni fund, there had been no dues because all graduates were lifetime members. He also noted that the Alumni Association gave $1,000 a year to the McNeese Foundation, gave up to $6,500 a year to various departments of the university, usually financed broadcast tapes of the Messiah, provided $500 a year for a student scholarship, and was now attempting to raise $200,000 for an alumni center on campus. (11)

This last was the most important alumni activity of the year. By the end of the fall semester, depending upon which account one reads, between $125,000 and $150,000 was pledged for the center. The McNeese Foundation, now presided over by Leland Parra, was engaged in a drive to raise $250,000 at about the same time, and had secured $220,000 in pledges. The alumni in 1975 honored Raleigh A. Suarez, Armand Perrault, Robert H. James, George White, Frederick J. Tooley, Barbara Belew, and Glen Johnson for twenty years’ service at McNeese. Michael Lanza, who had graduated in the spring of 1975, published an article in the Red River Valley Historical Review, and William T. Clarke, former Alumni Association president and a prominent insurance man, published an article in Life Association News magazine. (12)

Frank Rolufs, longtime chairman of the Faculty Athletic Committee and retired since 1971, died on April 30, 1976. He is still remembered by his friends. Nowell Daste and Richard Levardsen were promoted to full professor, and Levardsen became acting head of the Department of Speech. Barbara Coatney became head of the Department of Home Economics at the beginning of the spring semester, and George Wells joined the faculty as coordinator of the new Criminal Justice program. Michele Derrick and Terence Mahady joined the Department of Music, Norman Smith left on a study tour of Europe, and Earl Parquette became band director. (13)

The 1975-1976 year was an unusually productive one for the McNeese faculty. Lise Pedersen’s article, originally published in the Shaw Review, was included in a book, Bernard Shaw: Fabian Feminist, published by the Pennsylvania State Press. Pedersen and Robert D. Hebert had articles in Volume XIII of the McNeese Review, and Joe Lynn Cash published in the Louisiana English Journal. Thomas D. Watson authored the lead article in the winter issue of Louisiana History, which also carried an article by Carolyn E. DeLatte, McNeese alumna and future faculty member. Albert Stoutamire had two compositions published in Pro Art Publications, and Lawrence Estaville, another alumnus, had his "Louisiana Railroads in the Civil War" in Louisiana History. (14)

One striking event of the year was Thomas D. Watson’s discovery while researching in the files of the Louisiana State Supreme Court, of one of the two original copies of the first treaty ever negotiated by the United States, an agreement with the Creek Indians. This aroused interest all over the United States, and a delegation of Creek Indians came from Oklahoma to McNeese to discuss the treaty. Fred Sahlmann of the Music Department again went on a concert tour, playing this time at Muhlenberg College, Elon College, and Arkansas State. Michele Derrick participated in a series of Atlanta Symphony concerts directed by Robert Shaw, and B. E. Hankins was one of ten American scholars selected to attend a faculty institute sponsored by the Argonne National Laboratory. James F. Reed read a paper to the Louisiana-Mississippi Section of the Mathematical Association of the America at its Biloxi meeting; Carroll Karkalits spoke to the Geopressured Geothermal Energy Conference at Austin, Texas; and Grace Ramke spoke to the Louisiana Art Education Association meeting at the Chateau Charles. (15)

The School of Humanities, in cooperation with the Louisiana Committee for the Humanities, presented another series of programs, with Louisiana women as the general theme for the year; Assistant Professor Thomas Hale of the History Department was now project director. In the fall the Bayou Players performed Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. James Louviere played Romeo, Cynthia Clippinger Juliet, Charles Green Benvolio, Carl Bergeron Mercutio, and Sarah Casey Webb the nurse. In addition to the evening performances, a number of matinees were viewed by almost 2,000 high school students. The Players' spring production was Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, with Charles Green, Matthew Smith, Jimmy Roberts, and Patti Gain. The student body rejected a proposed assessment to support drama. (16)

Through most of the fall semester, the Messiah chorus and orchestra were rehearsing one hour and thirty minutes each week. On December 7, the soloists were Phyllis Dye of Cookeville, Tennessee; Michele Derrick; Gene Tucker of Washington, D. C.; and Dale Moore of St. Louis, Missouri. The McNeese-Lions Club musical was Roger’s and Hammerstein’s The King and I, with Kay Doucet as Anna and Rick Pierce as the king. Charlotte Browning played Lady Thiang, David Conrad Lun Tha, Amy Rentrop the slave girl Tuptin, and Celia Joe Austin, Janet Day, Desiree Helmer, Mrs. Cora McMillen, Linda Hoover, Ramona Launay, Tara Mathis, and Mrs. Eileen Scott the royal wives. This was the thirtieth annual cooperative venture of the Lions Club and the Music Department. (17)

The football team in 1975 lost its first three games, but then won 7 of the last 8 for a 7-4 record. James Files, center, was named an All-American and chosen to play in the post-season Shrine Game. The basketball team, which had gone off Southland Conference probation and won the conference title in 1975, was at last off NCAA probation in 1976 and won another championship. The women’s basketball team, led by Vicki Chapman won six games while losing seven. (18)

In baseball Triny Rivera became Hubert Boales’s assistant, but this was not a good year for the baseball team. McNeese was second in the Southland Conference golf tournament, and the tennis team, with a 10-13-1 match record, placed fourth in the SLC. The track team managed only to win fifth place in the conference; however, the cross-country team not only won the SLC championship, but in the regional meet at Austin, Texas, Pat O’Callahan and David Kohrs also qualified for the NCAA championship meet at Pennsylvania State University in November. (19)

Dr. Paul Merrill, Chancellor of LSU, was the speaker for summer graduation 1975, when a total of 286 students received degrees, and only 116 of them were undergraduates. Diane Elaine Coe graduated summa cum laude. Former Dean Cecil Taylor of LSU was the speaker in December when 292 students received degrees. Mary Virginia Devall, Judith Ann Joubert, Wanda Faye Joubert, and Mary L. Lanier were summa cum laude graduates. The speaker in May was Dr. John Horton Allen, President of Centenary College. Four hundred and twenty students received degrees at this ceremony, and among them was Joseph Barbour, who viewed graduation as the celebration of his 81st birthday. Summa cum laude graduates were Audrey F. Louviere, Jo Ann R. Parker, Carol Isley Poole, Gus William Schram, and Veta Gibson Sprinkle. (20)


Enrollment in the fall of 1976 showed a decline of more than 200 students, or 3.4 percent. There was actually an increase in the number of freshmen, to 2,192, but sophomores were down 1,014 to 912, juniors from 919 to 799, and graduate students from 955 to 758. The number of seniors did increase from 1,027 in 1975 to 1,094 in 1976. The spring of 1977 showed a decline in the total number of students from 5,720 the previous year to 5,408. Thus continued a steady decline that would persist through the fall of 1979 and which would be a major concern of everyone at McNeese. On the positive side, of 4,557 students pictured in the 1977 Log, 602, or 13 percent, were black. McNeese was at last fully integrated. (21)

Student fees continued to rise. In the fall of 1976 a student carrying a full load paid $125 in tuition and $62.50 in assessments, and the Board of Trustees approved a $35.00 increase for the spring semester. One important development was the renewal of the 1975 grant from the Energy Research and Development Administration for the investigation of geothermal geopressured energy. The grant in the fall of 1976 was for $237,000, and the principals were Carroll Karkalits, B. E. Hankins, Russell Ham, Ray Chavanne, James W. Batchelor, V. L. Boaz, and George Copeland. Copeland incidentally, was promoted from comptroller to business manager of the university. A bid of $845,000 was received for 164 acres at Chennault, but no decision was made during the 1976-1977 year. (22)

The astronomical observatory on the McNeese Farm was now completed, and the number of students in astronomy classes rose from 35 in 1972 to more than 200 in the fall of 1976. The farm also received a prize quarter-horse stallion, receiving free breeding of McNeese mares and a percentage of other stud fees. More importantly, consultants employed by the Louisiana State Board of Regents reported that none of the doctor of education programs in the state were worthy, but that the programs at LSU and the University of New Orleans had a potential for improvement that none of the other had. The Regents ordered a total of eighteen doctoral programs scrapped (some of them Ph.D. programs), including the doctorate of education at McNeese, and the degree was consequently terminated. Many McNeese faculty had had serious reservations about the quality of this program since it had been installed, but it was disgusting to see a program at Northwestern State University certainly no better and probably worse, maintained for what seemed to be purely political reasons. (23)

Bennett R. Lapoint was SGA president for 1976-1977, and Gordon McWright was vice president. In the fall, Janie Christy was ROTC cadet commander, the first woman to hold that position at McNeese. After her graduation in December, Philip D. Conway replaced her. Ann Murchison was editor of the Contraband, and Bryan Kidder of the Log for this academic year. Thirty students were selected for Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, four from health and physical education, four from other education curricula, three each from music, business administration, and accounting, two each from chemistry and engineering, and one each from biology, psychology, government, speech, nursing, environmental science, liberal studies, mathematics, and economics. (24)

Ms. Chris Bergman was recognized as the outstanding Agriculture Department student for 1977, and David Bertrand received an award for having the top scholastic record in that department. Gary P. Mayeux was the outstanding freshman chemistry student; John Paul Wilder was the top undergraduate in analytical chemistry; and Albert Karam was recognized as the outstanding senior chemistry student. William M. Tolin received a scholarship to the Tulane School of Law; Damien Lamendola was the "outstanding Engineering student;" and Susan Coleman was elected president of the Louisiana chapter of the American Harp Society. (25)

Martha Tilden won first place, and a $1,000 prize, in a Bicentennial essay contest sponsored by the Pittsburg Bicentennial Commission. Catherine Bodin was one of twenty-four students from the state of Louisiana who won a year’s study in France from CODOFIL, and Melinda Fuller won a National Student Nursing Association scholarship valued at $1,000. Robert Moore, a senior in electrical engineering, received a $7,000 fellowship from the National Science Foundation, renewable for three years, which he chose to use for study at Rice University. Victor Monsour, Jr., won not one, but two, scholarships for advanced study in photography, and Ms. Leigh Jones and Albert Palachek were awarded teaching assistantships in statistics by Southern Methodist University. (26)

The usual crop of beauties included Stacy Thetford presiding over a freshman court made up of Vickie Burge, Mindy Fontenot, Judy Fontenot, and Susan Sprigg. Patricia Flavin was Homecoming Queen, and her maids were Sandra Jantz, Susan Oakley, Fran Broussard, Ivette Honeycutt, Jacqueline Williams, and Stacy Thetford. Jeanne Marie Hutsell was 1977 Engineering Queen. LaBelle contestants were Debbie Lectenberg, Debbie Nicholls, Gina Carroll, Pamela Wyatt, Dianne Small, Christie Vicknair, Amy Rentrop, Vanessa Chesson. Amy Rentrop became LaBelle, Dianne Small was first runner-up, and Debbie Nicholls second runner-up. (27)

A tragedy brought the long-planned alumni center nearer reality. In 1975 an airplane crash at Kennedy Airport in New York had caused the death of a number of Southwest Louisiana citizens, including William Gray Stream, son of a wealthy Calcasieu Parish family. His mother, Matilda Gray Stream, gave $100,000 toward the construction of the alumni center, which would bear his name. Ground was broken for the structure in October 1976, and in January a building permit was issued. (28)

Pat Quirk was incoming president of the Alumni Association in 1976 and Roy (Toddy) Moore became president-elect. The meeting of the Alumni Association honored Quirk, Charles Goen, and Dick Miller for their fundraising for the alumni center, and Dr. Boyd Woodard became an honorary alumnus. James M. Brown, Jr., received the alumni president’s cup, and Robert B. Landers, John M. Norris, Clifford M. Byrne, W. J. Casey, and Paul Kitt received pins recognizing their twenty years of service at McNeese. As part of Homecoming celebration, the alumni sponsored a fashion show with Mesdames Hubert Boales, James M. Brown, Jr., Jerry Brown, Grover Dunphy, William F. Gossett, Robert Hayes, Desmond Jones, Roy Moore, Richard Moranski, Leland Parra, Kenneth Reynolds, Vic Stelly, Val Sweeney, and Scott Wehner, Mrs. Virginia Nicholson, and Ms. Ann Stewart as models. (29)

Some outstanding new faculty members came to McNeese in the fall of 1976. Cellist Marilyn Rietz joined the Department of Music, and John Wood in English, Jan Dawson in History, and Henry Sirgo in Social Sciences came to the School of Humanities. Jack Peng and David M. Johnson joined the Department of Microbiology, and James N. Beck and Stearns W. Rogers became members of the Chemistry faculty. Lieutenant Colonel Carroll Wade Shaddock headed the ROTC. James Hobbs and Hans Leis retired from the School of Education; Arthur Lee, vice president for financial affairs, who went to work for the City of Lake Charles, also retired. Moe O’Brien, who had been Southland Golf Coach of the Year, died in a Lake Charles hospital on June 7, 1977. A eulogy by Bobby Dowers was published in the 1977 McNeese football program and reprinted in the Contraband. (30)

Fred Sahlmann was in the Arts Festival ’76 concert in Baton Rouge on July 1976, and in the spring of 1977 he went on a recital tour that took him among other places, to Roanoke, Virginia, where he was soloist with the Roanoke Symphony, and to Randolph Macon College. In September 1976 Sahlmann and William and Sylvia Kushner gave a clarinet, bassoon, and piano concert at McNeese; Robert Jordahl published two more compositions; and Norman Smith published an article in the Journal of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors. Thomas Hale had an article in the bulletin of the Louisiana Committee for the Humanities, and Daniel J. Sullivan published in the CEA Critic, the official publication of the College English Association. Sullivan also had an article in the McNeese Review, as did Halbert A. Reeves of the Language Department and Thomas P. Coffey of the History Department. (31)

Most additions to the faculty were scholars who already held doctorates or who were about to get them, and older faculty members earned terminal degrees. Colleen Frazer earned her Ph.D. in mathematics education at Florida State University, and Sallye Starks Benoit received the Ph.D. in business education from LSU. Paul J. Whitehead won the Ph.D. in economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and James A. Hooper received the master of architecture degree from Louisiana Tech University. Albert L. Stoutamire returned from a semester’s study in France, and Patricia Bulber used a sabbatical at the University of Colorado to study group piano pedagogy. Robert A. Doty became acting head of the Department of Engineering and Charles Prejean acting head of the Department of Technology. Robert D. Hebert was promoted to professor and Thomas D. Watson to associate professor in the Department of History. An attempt to revive the McNeese chapter of the American Association of University Professors came to nothing. (32)

The federal grants for study of geothermal geopressured energy stored in hot water reservoirs in Louisiana coastal areas continued. Tony Byles was granted special recognition for his work by the Louisiana Council for Exceptional Children, and Lieutenant Colonel Shaddock of the ROTC received a third oak leaf cluster to the United States Commendation Medal. Millard Jones of the Department of Languages read a paper at Dallas to the meeting of the South Central Modern Language Association. Ray Chavanne was elected chairman of the Faculty Council, Joe Cash vice chairman, and Margaret Baker secretary. (33)

A remarkable number of McNeese faculty became officers in professional associations. Clifford Gaither was elected president of the Louisiana Association for Physical Plant Administrators, and Anthony Mayeux was honored by the French government as Chevalier of the Ordre de Palmes Academiques. Loretta LeBato was selected as president of the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, and Elmer Wagner held the same office in the Louisiana Association for Educational Communications Teaching. George White and James Watson were on the Executive Council of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences, Thomas D. Watson on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Historical Association, and Victor Monsour was elected president of the Louisiana Environmental Health Association. (34)

The Bayou Player’s fall production was the famous You Can’t Take It with You. The cast included Cindy Clippinger, David Davis, Terry Thibodaux, Kevin Driscoll, Patti Gain, David O’Brien, Kathy Derouen, Randy Ardoin, and Carl Bergeron. David Judice praised the production to the skies in a review in the Contraband. The spring play was Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, with a cast that included Mrs. Charlene Gaik, Carl Bergeron, Randy Ardoin, Elizabeth Rhorer, Pat Stallings, Douglas Hebert, Bobby Piercy, and Ellis Bonaventure. (35)

It was necessary to announce in mid-October that no more aspirants to the Messiah choir could be accepted. Soloists in 1976 were Patricia Stone of Cincinnati, Peggy Hewitt of New York, Ronald Brumley of the McNeese faculty, and John Cheek of New York. The McNeese-Lion’s Club musical offering in 1977 consisted of two one-act operas. In Gian-Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, Tara Mathis, Christine Barbour, Mrs. Desiree Helmer Wilson, and Randy Monroe sang. Singing in the other opera, The Devil and Daniel Webster, were Ann Yates, Pat Daughtry, Tony Dugas, and Bennie Hatten. (36)

Eight programs at the Civic Center, with most of the participants McNeese faculty, were presented by the Louisiana Committee for the Humanities during the year, and the Humanities group also sponsored an exhibit in the Frazar Memorial Library on the "Achievements of American and Southern Women." In September Fred Sahlmann and the Kushners offered another recital of chamber music, and then in October the Chamber Ensemble of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra appeared in Squires Auditorium, followed a week later by the Contemporary Woodwind Quartet, made up of faculty from Northeastern Louisiana University. In January Fred Sahlmann gave a recital at the New Orleans Public Library before the Aurora Music Club and the Metropolitan Piano Teachers’ Association, and violincellist Marilyn Rietz appeared in recital in Squires in February. (37)

The McNeese football team had another championship year in 1976, winning the SLC championship with 10 wins and only 2 losses and defeating Tulsa in the Independence Bowl. The season was marred at the end, however, when six football players were accused of gang-raping a young woman in the athletic dormitory. They were suspended by Coach Doland, and the University Disciplinary Committee upheld the suspension after an eleven-hour meeting. The team won the Independence Bowl without them; they were never prosecuted. (38)

The basketball team also won the SLC championship, but at the end of the season Coach E. W. Foy resigned to go into business. His assistant, Glenn Duhon, became basketball coach, a position he would hold for a decade. The women’s basketball team had a 14-9 record in 1976-1977. Despite an abysmal season, 9 won to 24 lost, the baseball team won enough conference games to take third place. The golf team and the cross-county team were also SLC champions, but the track team was fourth and the tennis team was eliminated from the SLC tournament in the first round. (39)

Two hundred and eight-six students received diplomas of one kind or another in the summer of 1976, 157 graduate degrees, 129 undergraduate degrees. Judy Iglinsky Tarver graduated summa cum laude. In December 1976, Betty Connell Christy was the only summa cum laude participant out of a total of 274, and she was also commissioned in the United States Army. Four hundred and twenty-five graduated in May 1977, and David Allen Bertrand, Earl Joseph Brown, Cynthia Ann Lutner, Robert Anthony Moore, Albert D. Palachek, and Margaret J. Williams won the highest honors. (40)


The decline in enrollment that had been evident at the beginning of the 1976-1977 academic year continued inexorably in 1977-1978. The total in the fall was 5,525, a drop from the previous year. In the spring the total was 5,127. Under the funding system used in Louisiana, a decline in enrollment probably meant a decline in revenues from the state and certainly a decline in revenue from tuition and fees. At the best it meant less of an increase from state sources than would have been the case had enrollment risen. (41)

Faced with this bleak prospect, President Leary sought to save $30,000 by denying "step raises," automatic increases in pay at regular intervals to civil service employees, who were the lowest-paid personnel on the campus. A committee made up of secretaries who through long experience knew more about the workings of the university them many of the men for whom they worked called in Representative Conway LeBleu. Timing could hardly have been worse for President Leary, because at almost the same time the Board of Trustees raised the salaries of college presidents 12 percent, in Leary’s case from $39,273 to $44,025. Once more he had to eat his words and back off, though he grumbled that it was "a slight injustice" for civil servants to receive merit raises when other employees did not. (42) One preoccupation of the administration in the fall of 1977 was a "Master Plan" for higher education issued by the Board of Regents. Since the 1960’s, more and more colleges had been offering more and more programs, graduate and undergraduate. Most of these met a need, but some, and especially some graduate programs, did not, and some lacked sufficient faculty and adequate library resources. Louisiana State University, which had never relished competition in graduate programs from lesser state institutions, was always happy to see their programs brought to an end. The Board of Regents proposed to review all graduate offerings, and eventually all offerings of all state-supported institutions. The "Master Plan" definitely envisioned a reduced role for McNeese, and there was fear for a time that all graduate programs might be lost. There was even talk of ceasing to be a university and of returning to junior college status. These fears were addressed by William Arceneaux, Commissioner of Higher Education, in a speech he made in Lake Charles in January 1978. The master plan turned out to be unduly pessimistic in its assessment of the future of higher education in Southwest Louisiana. Overall, McNeese was probably strengthened rather than weakened by the program reviews that began in 1978. (43)

During the 1977-1978 academic year, it became acutely evident that the School of Business was outgrowing its limited quarters in Kaufman Hall, which also housed the registrar, Continuing Education (the new name for night school), Nursing (recently returned from Chennault), Basic Studies, and the School of Humanities. Business enrollment had more than doubled, to 1,265 students, in ten years, and it was obvious that this growth would continue for some time. Thus the need for a separate building for Business and Nursing was obvious. President Leary understood this, and stated in December 1977 that henceforth the development of the School of Business would have top priority. (44)

Those who were students at McNeese this academic year will remember that the new $1,400,000 annex to the Holbrook Student Union, scheduled to open at the beginning of the fall semester, finally did open in December. The large multi-purpose room was named "Parra Ballroom" in February in honor of Leland Parra, a leading alumnus who had recently passed away. This was the year that vandals, two male students who were subsequently suspended for two years, seriously damaged the second floor of Kaufman Hall by breaking out the fire hoses and soaking the west part of that floor in water. Dormitory residents will remember that in October a power failure cut all power to Watkins and Zigler dormitories and to the married students’ apartments at McNeese and Common for more than 24 hours. New tennis courts were available for use in July, and residents were still complaining about the thin walls and other bad features of King Dormitory. (45)

Among more constructive developments, the School of Education received the approval of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and $61,000 derived from race-track revenues was made for campus repairs. The School of Sciences received a $125,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the preparation of audio-visual materials to be used in training pre-college level teachers in laboratory instruction techniques. Finally, McNeese was able to dispose of 200 acres of land at Chennault for half a million dollars. President Leary announced that McNeese had had to give up on classrooms there because of the "leveling off of enrollment, the spiraling cost of operating expenses, and the dissatisfaction of McNeese students with the Chennault facilities." His statement went on to say that McNeese did not receive any appropriations for the operation of a satellite campus. In time, adequate facilities for Engineering and Technology, and Nursing as well, would be provided on the main campus. (46)

Shannon Turner was SGA president in 1977-1978. Chirley McLaurin, a black student who had been the most valuable basketball player in 1976-1977, was named ROTC cadet commander for the fall semester, and after his graduation in December, Darrell Miller had that honor. One definitely new development was Erin Gayle’s becoming the first female trainer for the McNeese football team. Students seemed to be more concerned over the parking situation on campus than over anything else, but the letters to the Contraband indicate some concern over the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. The majority of letter writers, all of them female, were strongly opposed to ERA. (47)

Vicki Chapman spent the summer of 1977 in Europe playing basketball with the church-sponsored Athletes in Action. Becky Blades, Mrs. Linda Borel, Mrs. Anita Horn, Mrs. Janet Roberts, and Linda Weber attended the National Art Education Association meeting in Houston, and Ann Taylor, a black coed, was elected state secretary for the Louisiana student chapter of the Music Educator’s National Conference. Frazier Fortenberry was selected as the outstanding freshman chemistry student, and junior Matthew Smith was outstanding student overall in that discipline. Debbie Delafoisse, another black coed, was elected president of the Resident Student Association. Medical technology major Mary Kay Stoma was selected by Phi Kappa Phi as the first recipient of its senior scholarship. In the Louisiana College Writers Society contest, Frank Gaik won honorable mention in short story, and Larry Breaux won honorable mention in the formal essay category. (48)

Freshman Queen in 1977 was Karen Fox, and Donna Duplechin, Susan Fox, Vicki Bouillon, and Esther Schmid made up her court. At Homecoming, Dianne Small reigned as queen, with Nancy Gale, Jennifer Courville, Janet Crowe, Anne Navarra, Kitty Pesson, Jacqueline Williams, and Matilda Mosa as maids. No LaBelle pageant was held in 1978. (49)

Roy (Toddy) Moore was president of the alumni in 1977, and Richard Guillory was president-elect. Homecoming honored the class of 1952, the first to graduate after McNeese became a four-year college. Faculty members Leslie DeVall, Clet Gary, Marguerite Hall, Ruby Dougherty, Benjamin Harlow, Mary Kordisch, J. Bennett Lewis, Don Lyons, Maurice Pullig, Grace Ramke, and Edward Steiner received twenty-year pins. There was a note of sadness; alumni leader Leland Parra had died during the summer, too soon to see the Alumni Center for which he had worked became a reality. The alumni were strongly outspoken concerning the Board of Regents’ master plan, fearing that it would do away with all graduate programs at McNeese. In November, the new Stream Memorial Alumni Center became available for functions, and in December the alumni received permission from the Board of Trustees to serve alcoholic beverages at these functions. The Center was dedicated on May 7, near the end of the spring semester. (50)

Few new faculty came to McNeese in 1977-1978, but Earl Parquette became band director, and Bill Iles joined the Department of Visual Arts as an assistant professor. Two long-time faculty members, Miriam Callender and Norman Smith, retired, Callender after 38 years of teaching. Sylvester Pendarvis became head of the Department of Administration and Supervision, and Loretta LeBato became head of the Department of Health and Physical Education. (51)

Robert Jordahl of the Department of Music had four compositions published by the Seesaw Music Corporation of New York, and Norman Smith and Albert Stoutamire jointly published Band Music Notes. Stoutamire, on his own, published Concert Band Method. John Wood had two poems accepted for publication in the magazine Poetry and Robert Cooper had an essay in a book, New Essays on Donne, published by the Humanities Press. Daniel E. Sutherland, Robert M. Cooper, and Gary S. Freedom all had articles published in the 1977 issue of the McNeese Review. Major Edwin S. Stone, III, of the ROTC, published an article in Military Review, the journal of the U. S. Army Command and General Staff School. Joe Gray Taylor was honored at a luncheon with the Louisiana congressional delegation in Washington for his Louisiana: A Bicentennial History. (52)

New faculty member Bill Iles was fantastically active in 1977-1978. In early October, he and Nowell Daste won honors at the Louisiana Festival of the Arts at Monroe; in mid-month he had two paintings accepted for exhibit in the Seventh Greater New Orleans International Exposition; and late in October he and Constance Davis had works accepted for the 32nd Annual Louisiana State Art Exhibit for Professional Artists. In November, Iles had two works included in the 55th Annual Shreveport National Exhibition, and the next April he and Davis had paintings chosen to be exhibited in the Art Center for Southwestern Louisiana at Lafayette. From the Department of Music, violincellist Marilyn Rietz gave a faculty recital in September, and no fewer than sixteen McNeese faculty members and students played in the annual family concert of the Rapides Symphony Orchestra in December. A faculty trio - Rietz, violinist Allan Fuller, and pianist Fred Sahlmann - gave a recital at the Algiers Branch of the New Orleans Public Library in January. (53)

Faculty members read papers at many scholarly meetings over the country. O. C. Karkalits and B. E. Hankins spoke at the Third Annual Geopressured Geothermal Energy Conference at Lafayette in November, and in March Hankins spoke on the same subject to the Louisiana Section of the American Chemical Society. Anand Katiyar of the Mathematics Department was one of 25 invited participants in the National Science Foundation Regional Research Conference at Jackson, Mississippi, and Allen Scholnick read a paper to the American Mathematical Society meeting in Houston. James Batchelor, Eugene Richard, and Lawrence Estaville, Jr., all read papers at the Louisiana Academy of Science meeting at Nicholls State University in February 1978. Athletic trainer Jim Murphy lectured at the School of Allied Health Services of the University of Texas Medical School at Galveston, and Joe Lynn Cash spoke to the Annual Meeting of the South Central Modern Language Association at Hot Springs, Arkansas. Thomas D. Watson presented a paper at the 56th Biennial Convention of Phi Alpha Theta Honorary History Society, and Robert Cooper spoke to the Louisiana Conference on Freshman Composition. LaJuana Lee and John Wood participated in a campus workshop on "Women Today," and Lee was the speaker at a Baton Rouge seminar honoring National Secretary’s Week. (54)

Two members of the Department of History received grants. Daniel E. Sutherland obtained $2,500 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to finance a summer’s research on southerners who migrated north after the American Civil War, and Thomas Fox received a German Academic Exchange Service Grant for a summer’s study in Germany. Dean of Education Gene Campbell was offered a position as assistant state superintendent of education for research and development, but chose to remain at McNeese. Robert Jordahl was selected to participate in a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar at the University of Kansas. Constance Davis became president-elect of the Louisiana Art Education Association; Gene Campbell was elected president of the Louisiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; and Judith Morgan was elected president of the Louisiana College Reading Teachers Association. (55)

Rehearsals for the 38th Messiah at McNeese began in October, and rehearsal soloists were Amy Rentrop, Louise Pollet, David Conrad, and Bennie Hatten. At the performance on December 4, Tim Dugas and Kathleen Allums were recognized for 35 years’ participation, and Jerry T. Crews, Jimmie B. Richley, Edna Hines, and Gordon Gauthier were cited for 25 years’ service. The spring semester musical in 1978 was Hansel and Gretel, directed by Michele Derrick-Gehrig. Pat Daughtry, a young man, played the witch, and Allison Peltz, Lisa Monsour, Charlotte Richardson, Ann Yates, Randy Monroe, Tara Stone, and Christine Barbour had other important roles. One special matinee was held for financial backers, school board personnel, and high school students. A newspaper critic said the opera "exhibited both creativity and tasteful artistry." (56) Michele Derrick-Gehrig had given a faculty recital in December, and in the same month the Lyceum presented opera bass J. B. Davis. (57)

The Bayou Players did The Miracle Worker again in the fall of 1977. Marcell Kibodaux played Annie Sullivan and Melissa Istre Helen Keller, with Joan Robinson and Susan Elmer also in the cast. Matinees played to large numbers of high school students. In the spring the play was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with Carl Bergeron as Randall P. McMurphy, Gail Carver as Nurse Ratched, Joan Robinson as Nurse Flynn, and Jeff Kibodaux as Dr. Spivey. (58)

The 1977 football season was one better forgotten; McNeese ranked fifth in the Southland Conference. The game with USL was televised regionally - in fact, the date of the game was changed from November 19 to November 25 for the convenience of the television cameras. Glenn Duhon had a fine beginning as basketball coach, winning 20 games and losing only 8 and tying for first place in the conference. The golf team led the conference, and Hubert Boales was conference golf coach of the year. The tennis team ranked fourth in the SLC, but the baseball team, with a 16-31 overall record and only two wins in the conference, was deep in the doldrums. Robert Hayes’s cross-country team came in second, the first time out of first place. The women’s basketball team had a 17-12 record, but was quickly eliminated from the Louisiana Women’s Tournament and then from the AIAW Regional Tournament in Houston. (59)

This year saw a serious attempt to revive rodeo, in which McNeese had once been national prominent. The women’s team, under Captain Mary Fruge, took the lead in regional standings in October. In November the women took second place in the Simonton Rodeo in Simonton, Texas, and the men came in fourth. Fifteen rodeos were scheduled for the spring season, and McNeese took third place at San Marcos in March. In February a student rodeo was organized, and a month later it took place in Burton Coliseum. (60)

In the summer of 1977, 233 students were awarded degrees, 118 undergraduates and 115 graduates. There was no speaker, in fact, for a time McNeese made it a practice to have no speakers at graduation. There were no summa cum laude graduates, but James Raymond Bowler, Dennis Chapman, Gloria M. Hebert, Karen Leslie Jones, and Thomas G. Latiolais were magna cum laude. In December 1977 there were 288 degrees awarded, 240 undergraduate and 48 graduates. Diane Dommert Brown, Elizabeth T. Compton, Joellen G .Hillebrandt, and Faith Elena Hinton were summa cum laude. The following May 392 persons, 322 undergraduates and 70 graduates, received degrees, and Dr. Boyd Woodard was awarded an honorary doctorate. Summa cum laude graduates were Mary Ruth Burch, Janet Lynn Derouen, John Keith Duplichan, Gerald Kenneth Sims, and Ellyndale Toney. (61)


Enrollment was down once more in the fall of 1978, to 5,376, and about the best that could be said was that the rate of decline was less than in the previous year. Spring enrollment dropped below 5,000 for the first time since 1970. Explanations involved demography, the availability of jobs in the thriving petrochemical industry, the decline in students attending college on the GI Bill, increased fees for non-residents, lack of school spirit among students, and "atmosphere," whatever that may have meant. In fact, there was some truth in all these assessments. The sports page of the local newspaper "chewed out" the student body for lack of spirit, and McNeese had developed a reputation as a stodgy, unexciting university. Moreover, some doubt began to develop as to academic quality. (62)

In 1977 the legislature had ruled that all students seeking certification as teachers should take the National Teachers Examination and empowered the State Department of Education to set standards that must be met in various disciplines. Schools all over the state received a severe shock when 1978 graduates took this examination. At McNeese only 46 percent of those taking the NTE for the first time met the standards set by the Board for Elementary and Secondary Education as compared to 67 percent all over the state. The comparison of reported figures was actually unfair, because at a number of schools, including LSU, students who were not likely to pass did not take the test. McNeese learned from the experience with fall graduates; in June 62 percent passed, 52 of 83, but 19 education graduates did not take the test. (63)

It is difficult to say how much of what is related below was a result of poor showing on the NTE, but probably all or most of it was. In the fall semester, student-teacher evaluations were discontinued. Many believed that some teachers gave higher grades in hope of better evaluations by their students. In January teachers were urged to "crack down" on grading. This encouragement was not out of place; as noted a number of times earlier, grade inflation was a fact of life at McNeese, but Academic Vice President and Provost R. A. Suarez denied that the action resulted from NTE scores. The situation reached such a point that the local newspaper suggested in an editorial that "the right person" could get a grade changed at the university. This was definitely an inaccurate and false accusation, and it was answered by a letter to the editor from a faculty member. In March, the Board of Regents pointed out that the McNeese Nursing Department had poor facilities, low test scores, low enrollment, and that the department head did not hold a doctorate. (64)

Actually, the reasons for low NTE scores were not hard to determine. The various curricula in the School of Education attracted some fine students, and education graduates included many brilliant young men and women who became expert and highly dedicated teachers. But teachers’ salaries were low in comparison to other professions, and in the 1970’s most jobs in the industrial plants in the Lake Charles area paid more than teachers earned. Moreover, for whatever reasons, most teachers of education courses at McNeese and elsewhere had become accustomed to giving high grades for work of relatively low quality. As a result, too many students of little energy and less ability gravitated into education curricula because there they could earn degrees with the least amount of effort.

It is noteworthy that in 1978-1979 the non-credit leisure learning courses offered by the Department of Community Services (formerly Continuing Education) were growing more popular. Less encouraging was the fact that McNeese was sued by the United States Department of Labor for wage discrimination against female faculty. Near the end of the academic year, the Division of Basic Studies was established under Robert D. Hebert. Hebert, who had already been chairman of the Curriculum Committee and president of the Faculty Council, went from Basic Studies to the academic vice presidency and thence to the presidency. A two-year program in Radiologic Technology at St. Patrick’s Hospital was combined with McNeese courses to enable technicians to graduate from a four-year bachelor’s degree program. (65)

McNeese’s operating budget for the year was an adequate, though certainly not luxurious, $10,890,000. The 1978 legislature had funded a new physical maintenance plant, and considerable debate followed over its location. Eventually it was built where the old plant had been, on the southeast corner of the main campus north of Contraband Bayou. The legislature also gave the go-ahead on a new $3.7 million recreational complex, and construction of this facility had begun before the end of the academic year. Some excitement occurred when a brick wall in the new section of the Fine Arts Building collapsed; no one was injured, and the wall was reconstructed with adequate supports. (66)

As was true most of the time, resident students were unhappy with the Cafeteria, complaining that there was a shortage of utensils, that Cafeteria workers were discourteous, that there was an infestation of cockroaches, and that the food was "bland, greasy, cold, and had little variety." (67) George Copeland announced in March that major improvements had been made, and thereafter complaints were not so strident. Perhaps the most interesting campus event had to do with a local political campaign. Attorney Len Knapp was a candidate for district attorney, and someone, presumably favoring his opponent, took a picture of Knapp from the McNeese files and "doctored" it to make him resemble a "hippie," even to the extent of a queue. Knapp won the election. (68)

David O’Bryan was SGA president and Steve Jordan vice president. O’Bryan was also the student member of the Board of Trustees for the year. It should be noted that Mrs. Gloria Conner and her son, Michael Conner, both served in the Student Senate. Leslie G. Martin was cadet commander of the ROTC for the year, and Miss Lois E. Bryant was named a distinguished military graduate at summer graduation. In the fall 1,229 students made the honor roll, less than 23 percent of the undergraduates enrolled, so perhaps the faculty was "cracking down" to a limited extent. In the spring there were 1,059 honor students, less than 22 percent. Grade inflation was not dead, certainly, but it had been checked a bit. No less than 91 percent of McNeese's 1979 nursing graduates passed the Louisiana State Board of Nursing licensing examination. Thirty-two students were inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, and 31 were listed in Who’s Who, with the Departments of Health and Physical Education and Music having the largest number. Two students, Paul Bertrand and Neil Valentine, died during the year. (69)

Richard James Klein, a 1977 graduate in mass communications, received a Rotary Foundation grant for a year’s study at the University of Bristol, in England. Students Diedre Snavely and Bernice Constantin (male), both wildlife management majors, spent the summer of 1978 in Los Padres National Forest in Colorado studying hybrid leopard lizards for the U. S. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and Laura Calloway, music major, went on tour with Young Americans, a singing and dancing group. Constantin was named outstanding Agriculture Department student for the year, and Van Anderson had the top scholastic record in agriculture. Cindy Duke was the outstanding chemistry student for the year, and Raymond Barbre was the outstanding freshman chemistry student. Shirley Lykins, a biology teacher at Sulphur High School, received the McNeese Foundation Graduate Fellowship, which she used to work toward an education specialist degree in educational technology, and McNeese’s second Phi Kappa Phi scholarship went to Daniel Lee Allen, a mechanical engineering major. Jonathan G. Cole received a scholarship in chemical engineering and Paul Ogea a scholarship in environmental science from the Louisiana Land and Exploration Company. Finally, John Craig Manuel won honorable mention for personal essay in the Louisiana College Writers Contest. (70)

The 1978 freshman court was presided over by Phyllis Breeden, with Laura David, Mariet Lester, Eva Prejean, and Jeanette Stafford as her maids. Kayla Precht was Engineering Queen. The Homecoming Court was made up of maids Donna Duplechin, Nancy Cagle, Janet Crawford, Kay Benoit, Conny Osborn, and Gail Carver, serving Queen Janet Crowe. A new category of beauties came with the selection of the Spring Court in February. The Spring Court was intended to honor the basketball team as the election of the Homecoming Queen honored the football team. Kathy Stone was queen, Cheryl Ann Karam, "Dee" Champagne, Tammy Premeaux, Suzie Verret, and Charlotte Smith made up the remainder of the court. Lisa Jeanette Midkiff was 1979 LaBelle, Laura David first runner-up, Jean Aumiller second runner-up, and Josi Jeanette Andrus Miss Congeniality. (71)

It was estimated that the Alumni Association had about 10,000 members by the fall of 1978, and a special Calcasieu Parish Chapter was established under the leadership of Leroy Pronia and Allen Heath. Richard Guillory was installed as alumni president; H. Gayle Marshall was president-elect, Joyce Patterson secretary, and Becky Abshire treasurer. For Homecoming, the alumni held a reception for the faculty at the new Alumni Center, and C. W. Fogleman, William C. Groves, H. Kyle McFatter, Frank Pigno, Ella Roberts, and Stephen Spencer all received twenty-year pins. Don Lyons received the alumni president’s cup. Gary Medrano, a 1968 French major, visited during the year; he had received a master of arts degree from the University of Paris and was teaching at the American School at The Hague, in the Netherlands. J. Aaron Bertrand, who had graduated from McNeese in 1955 and taken a Ph.D. from Tulane in 1961, became director of the School of Chemistry at Georgia Tech University. Roger Miller, a 1974 graduate, was elected to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, and Delena Hooks Ashworth and Bill Iles had paintings accepted for the Shreveport Art Guild National Exhibition. (72)

The 1978-1979 year was marked by the retirement of many long-time McNeese personnel. Among those who bade farewell were Robert Bryant of the Department of Agriculture, Warrick Dickson of Biology, Colleen Frazer of Mathematics, Marguerite Hall of Nursing, Mary Landers of Education, Byron Petry, chief of campus security, Ben Ruhl of Health and Physical Education, Kathleen Allums and Edward Steiner from the Department of Music. Band director Earl Parquette was "reassigned" and soon left McNeese, announcing that he had been relieved of his duties against the recommendation of his department head, the dean of Fine Arts, and the academic vice president. The university newspaper cited Richard Guillory, president of the Alumni Association, as saying that pressure from the alumni had brought about Parquette’s dismissal. A delegation of perhaps 25 art students, accompanied by alumnus Leroy Pronia and a reporter from the Lake Charles American Press, met with Academic Vice President Suarez to insist that assistant professor Bill Iles be retained. This resulted from internal friction in the Department of Visual Arts. Suarez told the students that he had received no recommendation regarding Iles, and that if he did receive such a recommendation, he would do what was best for the university. No recommendation was ever received, and Iles, still the most active artist on the faculty, retained his job. (73)

One of Ile’s drawings on exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in September, and he, Constance Lewis, and student Denise Verret had works on exhibit in the Old State Capital under the auspices of the Louisiana Division of the Arts a week later. At the same time, he had a one-man exhibit at the Southern Arkansas Art Center at El Dorado. In January one of his mixed media works was accepted for a special exhibition at the Corsicana Arts Center, Corsicana Texas, sponsored by the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. In March another was selected for inclusion in "Potsdam Drawings ’79: Fourth National Drawing Exhibition," at Potsdam, New York. In the same month he had a work in the Del Mar Drawing and Sculpture Exhibition in Corpus Christi, and one of his was named best drawing in the Twelfth Annual Prints, Drawings, and Craft Exhibition at Little Rock. (74)

The McNeese faculty string trio - violinist Allen Fuller, cellist Marilyn Rietz, and pianist Fred Sahlmann - gave a concert on campus and then performed at Southeastern at Hammond in early fall. Rietz then participated in December in the National Opera Orchestra’s performance of Tristan and Isolde at Carnegie Hall, and later gave a faculty recital in Squires Hall. Fred Sahlmann went on a Louisiana tour in February, performing in Shreveport, Alexandria, and Baton Rouge. In March Sahlmann gave a concert at his alma mater, Elon College. (75)

Ralph Huhn was the author of an article in a book, Parenting Learning Problem Children, published by the National Center, Educational Media and Materials for the Handicapped, and Philo Brasher was a co-author of The Audit: A Management Tool. John Wood of the Language Department had three poems published in the prestigious Southern Review, and Kathleen Allums was the author of Piano Teaching Literature. John Vile received a $2,500 National Endowment for the Humanities grant for a summer’s study at Princeton, and Joe Gray Taylor was named to an NEH panel in Washington evaluating research tools. Robert D. Hebert presided over a session at the Louisiana Historical Association meeting at Natchitoches and the meeting of the Louisiana College and Universities Conference took place on the McNeese campus. Robert Copper presided over one session, and C. W. Fogleman presided over another. (76)

Lise Pedersen was reelected president of the Faculty Council, with Millard Jones as vice chairman and Douglas Goings as secretary, and the University Dean’s Council approved the idea of an annual Distinguished Teacher Award for a number of the McNeese faculty. (Beginning with the 1981-1982 academic year, it was called Distinguished Faculty Award.) Dr. Joe Gray Taylor was the first recipient of this award, in April 1979. Carroll Wade Shaddock, professor of military science and tactics for the McNeese ROTC, was promoted to full colonel. LaJuana Lee was listed in Who’s Who of American Women, and Charles Goen became head of campus security. Kenneth Sweeney was elected president of the Louisiana Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators, and Gene Campbell was chairwoman of the Advisory Council of State Representatives of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Michael Connella was president-elect of the Louisiana Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers; Duford Henry was named president of the Lake Charles Chapter of Certified Public Accountants; and Constance Davis became president of the Louisiana Art Education Association. (77)

The 39th performance of the Messiah took place on the afternoon of December 3, 1978. Rehearsal soloists were Mrs. Christine Barbour Stanley, Cheri Lamorque, Pat Daughtry, Bennie Hatten, Jr., and Randy Monroe. Professional soloists for the performance were Susan Faust Straley of Gretna; Judith Erickson of Waukesha, Wisconsin; Karl Dent of Denton, Texas, and Horace English of Chickasha, Oklahoma. The spring musical consisted of two short operas, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury and Carlisle Floyd’s Slow Dusk. Mrs. Christine Barbour Stanley, Allison Peltz, Bennie Hatten, and Robin Tanner had roles in Slow Dusk. In the familiar Trial by Jury, Ann Yates and Marietta DiGeorge alternated in the plaintiff’s role. David Conrad was the defendant, Patrick Daughtry counsel for the plaintiff, Randy Monroe the judge, John Shipp the usher, and David Vince the foreman of the jury. (78)

Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap was the fall drama, directed by graduate student Robert Rogers. Included in the cast were David Spencer, Donna Vincent, Mike Mayo, Keitha Kushner, and Bruce Barnett. The performance schedule of The Mousetrap was cut short when the brick wall in the Fine Arts Building collapsed, as noted earlier. The spring play was Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men with Patrick Stallings, Barron MacArthur, Clay Carroll, James Allen, and Carl Smith in the cast. (79)

McNeese presented another series of Humanities panels in 1978-1979, dealing with such topics as the problems of problems of black artists, Cajun music, community drama, downtown decay, and gubernatorial politics in Louisiana. A number of art exhibits were available. In September fifty-five photographs by Anna Boudreaux were on exhibit in the Library, and in November LSU artist Janie McWhirter had her drawing and paintings on exhibit. Then in March Petre Carolyn Piel, the first art major to graduate from McNeese, had a special exhibit in the Library. In March Dr. Gardner W. Stacy, president of the National American Chemical Society, visited the McNeese campus and lectured in Frasch Hall. Finally, the Artists and Lecture Series presented the John Biggs Consort in Squires Auditorium for a program of mainly medieval music. (80)

McNeese’s 1978 football team had an unfortunate habit of losing its close games and finished the season with 7 wins and 4 losses. There was balm in Gilead, however, because in the last game of the season McNeese defeated USL by a decisive 44-18 score. In basketball the season was once more mediocre at best. The golf team won the SLC championship for the fourth year in a row, and Hubert Boales was again conference coach of the year. The baseball team was third in the conference, and coach Johnny Suydam was coach of the year. The cross-country team won the SLC championship, the track team was third, and the tennis team ranked fourth. (81)

Federal regulation demanded more adequate financing of women’s athletics in 1978-1979, and the women’s budget at McNeese increased from $26,000 to $56,000. The women’s basketball team played 19 games and had a definite winning season though not a championship. Former star Vicki Chapman played professional basketball this year. In addition to the basketball and volleyball teams, there were now women’s tennis and softball teams, and the softball team won the Louisiana state championship. This was the year, too, that intercollegiate rodeo returned to Lake Charles, the national tournament taking place in Burton Coliseum in June. (82)

Two hundred and one students took degrees in the summer of 1978, and only 81 of them were graduate students. Genevieve Fullington received summa cum laude honors. In the fall of 1978, a total of 263 degrees was awarded. Debra Allen was summa cum laude, and Joanne Brown, Julie Broussard, Janice Rider Newman, and Melinda Fuller magna cum laude. In May, when 358 students received diplomas, Deborah B. Guillory, Suzanne Reddell, and Calvin Winfred Sharpe were summa cum laude, and Pamela Gabriel, Margaret Marcon, Geneva Cotton, Michael David Casey, Ann Francis Liprie, Margaret Little, Robert Tanner, Eva Henson Stewart, Senetra Ruth Drost, and John Lee were magna cum laude. (83)


A Change of Pace

Thomas Leary had never been a really popular president of McNeese, and in one way or another he had managed to antagonize the faculty, the student body, the alumni, and whatever faction of the general public that kept up with higher education in Southwest Louisiana. He had no friends among legislators and very few on the State Board. After the adoption of a new state constitution in 1974, the creation of an appointive State Board of Trustees, and the replacement of Dr. Boyd Woodard on the Board, President Leary probably had no friends on that body. In the political climate that exists in practically every institution subject in any way to Louisiana state government, his position was perilous, and events made it more so.

In February 1979, when asked by a reporter when he planned to retire, President Leary pointed out, correctly, that retirement was no longer compulsory at age 65, and that he planned to remain president until he was 70 years of age, which would be six more years. This aroused, to say the least, a spark of uneasiness in the minds of those who had assumed that he would preside over the university for only about one more year. The reaction was strong, so strong that Leary two days later pointed out that the Board of Trustees appointed and could remove college presidents, and that he hoped to remain in office for six more years. (1)

In April 1979, a letter to the editor of the local newspaper castigated "the apathy emanating from the college administration and the Lake Charles community as a whole." Then in May, in one of those perfectly honest and sincere but unwise pronouncements so characteristic of him, President Leary announced that the State Department of Education paid nothing on the maintenance of the film library that McNeese operated to serve area teachers and that the State Department of Education should take it over. The University of Southwest Louisiana immediately let it be known that it would be happy to take over the film library. Two days later, at a meeting with a group of "community leaders," mainly disgruntled alumni, the president said he would "fight" to keep the film library at McNeese. (2)

Whether through coincidence or otherwise, the film library incident was followed by a full-fledged effort to drive President Leary from office. Academic Vice President and Provost R. A. Suarez had been stating for more than a year that he would retire in the spring of 1980, and some of those opposed to Leary may have thought that that would be a good time for the president to go as well. Alumnus Richard Guillory at a group meeting was reported to have accused the president of not getting as much as he should have got from the legislature. Actually, Leary’s enemies and a number of alumni who hoped to replace him with Allen Commander, himself an alumnus, seem to have decided that the president was now vulnerable and that the time had come to strike. (3)

Leary was ready to balk at any move to force him to take sabbatical leave for the fiscal year from July 1, 1980, through June 30, 1981, a year he needed to count for retirement purposes, because on sabbatical his pay would be only three-fourths of his regular salary. This problem was resolved when a group of "local citizens, mainly alumni," signed a letter of credit which Lakeside National Bank accepted, giving the president the difference between his sabbatical pay and his regular salary. The Board of Trustees, on June 28, 1979, granted Leary’s request to be released from his duties as of June 30, 1980, with sabbatical leave effective until June 30, 1981. (4)

Only the Board of Trustees could name a new president, but none-the-less a search committee was set up. Alumni President Guillory announced its composition as two faculty (Millard Jones and Duford Henry), two students (John Chenet and Steve Jordan), two alumni (Guillory himself and Leroy Pronia) and one person from the Southwest Louisiana Business and Construction Trade Council (Billy Vincent), one from local chambers of commerce (Bill McDonald), one from the League of Women Voters (Willie Mount), and one from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Richard Brown). The committee said that it would accept applications until August 1, 1979. (5)

There were enough applications to keep the search committee busy. From the campus Dean Gene Campbell of the School of Education; Patrick Ford, head of the Department of Mathematics; Professors Charles Ardoin and William Greenlee; and the head football coach Jack Doland offered themselves. From off-campus, James DeLee of Louisiana State University at Alexandria; Louis Rodriguez, chancellor of the University of Houston at Clear Lake; and alumnus Allen Commander, vice president for public affairs of the main campus of the University of Houston, sought the position. The faculty strongly supported Rodriguez, a well-known scholar, and the alumni were strong for Commander. Rodriguez also had the support of the president of the Board of Trustees, Harvey Peltier, Jr., a member of one of the wealthiest and most politically powerful families in the state. The old custom of letting the local board member choose the president of an institution within his or her district no longer prevailed; in fact, the local member, Mrs. June Moore, had little influence in the choice. (6)

The search committee interviewed all the candidates, and a rather large number of interested parties, mainly connected with the university, attended the interviews. On August 7, 1979, the committee voted as had been expected from the beginning, to recommend Commander to the board. The vote was not unanimous, however; faculty committee member Duford Henry pointed out to the press that the committee had first voted 5-4 to recommend only one candidate, then voted 5 ½ to 3 ½ to recommend Commander rather than Rodriguez. Even so, it seemed to most people familiar with the workings of Louisiana government that Rodriguez was almost certain of the presidency. Only the governor’s intervention could prevent it, and Peltier was one of the Governor Edward’s strongest supporters. (7)

The idea of a football coach being appointed to a college presidency struck many people as so ridiculous as to be almost impossible, and the governor was reported to have given supporters in Lake Charles assurance that Doland would not be appointed. Doland himself admitted on August 12 that he could count on support of only one board member, and that one not particularly influential. The Board met in mid-August to interview candidates, who were allowed to have speakers to support their cause. Martha Madden, project director of the Louisiana Talent Bank for Women, and Milton Ferguson, dean of education at the University of New Orleans, spoke in favor of Dean Campbell. Max Jones, past president of the McNeese alumni, and Allen August, president of the police jury of Calcasieu Parish, spoke for Allen Commander. Two students from LSU-Alexandria, Charles Hunt and Evita Couvillon, spoke for DeLee, and Cecil Doyle of DeRidder and alumnus Richard Vidrine of Evangeline Parish spoke for Doland. Finally, Curtis Whittington of the Department of Languages and Frank Pruitt of the Lake Charles Alliance for Business and Professional Managers spoke for Rodriguez. It was noted at the time that Board President Peltier was not on hand for these presentations. (8)

Somehow - and if President Doland has named names, this writer has not heard him, and they certainly have not been put in writing - Doland managed to win the governor’s support practically at the last minute. On August 15, the Board of Trustees chose the second coach to become president of McNeese State University. Faculty and administration were stunned; few of them knew Coach Doland well, and in consternation they expected the worst. There was no open faculty protest, however, and the student protest, led by one Peter Still, amounted to little. Doland was instructed to give up his duties as coach and athletic director as soon as possible, which insofar as the coaching went, meant September 1, 1979. He would become president-elect on September 10, but President Leary was to remain in charge of day-to-day operations until July 1, 1980. This was not a happy situation; for the next few months the office of the athletic director was the real center of power at McNeese. (9)

Doland stated his goals for the university on the last day of August 1979. They were simple enough. He would improve the image of McNeese, get a new Business-Economics building, make every effort to retain those students who did not flunk out, and arouse student and community pride in the university. He would accomplish that and much more, as will be seen. There was no retaliation against those faculty members who had opposed him; few had taken an active part, but those who had did not suffer. Faculty doubts and reservations gradually eroded, and there are few longtime faculty now who will not assert that Doland has been a most effective president. Community sentiment rallied to Doland even more rapidly than the faculty, and by the time he officially took office on July 1, 1980, he had support stronger than Cusic or Leary had ever known. (10)

The Contraband of March 21, 1980, carried a story concerning Thomas Leary’s retirement as president of McNeese, and it had two pictures, one of Leary when he became president, one taken soon before the story was written. He had, in appearance, aged far more than ten years. Indeed, as events proved, he had less than five years to live. In the excitement of a new administration, it was easy to overlook the many solid accomplishments of the Leary years. Kirkman Hall, Farrar Hall, Gayle Hall, Smith Hall, and the Engineering and Technology Building had all been completed during his tenure, and the Library had been greatly enlarged. Though enrollment had leveled off in the late 1970’s and even dropped a bit, it was far higher than when he took office. The faculty had grown in numbers, but even more important, it had grown significantly in quality. McNeese State College had become a university under Leary’s direction. While he was president, the Department of Chemistry, the Department of Mortuary Science, and the School of Education had achieved national accreditation for the first time. The Department of Music had been reaccredited. The School of Engineering was almost ready for national accreditation, and this would be accomplished early in the new administration. Most important of all, perhaps, the university as a whole had been reaccredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. Thomas Leary could justifiably take pride in his accomplishments as an educational administrator. (11)


Enrollment continued to drop in the fall of 1979, with the student body reduced to a total of 5,156 students, with 1,891 freshmen, 867 sophomores, 678 juniors, 965 seniors, and 750 graduate students. It was significant that although total enrollment was down 220, the numbers of freshmen and of graduate students showed a slight increase. In the spring the total was 4,912, including 1,603 freshmen, 811 sophomores, 650 juniors, 1,017 seniors, and 709 graduate students. This was slightly more than had registered the previous spring, and although it was not recognized at the time, it was an indication of an end of the enrollment decline that had gone on since 1976. (12)

Since R. A. Suarez had announced his intention to retire in the spring of 1980, a new academic vice president would take office at about the same time as the new president. A search committee headed by Dean of the Graduate School Robert B. Landers and consisting of Lise Pedersen, Joe L. Cash, Judith Morgan, Wilma Moore, Robert Doty, Barbara Coatney, Fred Sahlmann, George V. S. White, and student John Chenet was appointed. The committee interviewed numbers of applicants from on-campus and off and finally presented four names to the president-elect. Three were from off-campus, and the other was Robert D. Hebert, director of Basic Studies and professor of history. President-elect Doland chose Hebert for the position, and the Board of Trustees confirmed his choice. At the same time, the Board named Robert Turner chief fiscal officer and changed Kenneth Sweeney’s title to administrative vice president. (13)

There were a few additional administrative personnel changes during the year. In June, Alfread G. Mouton had come to the university as a counselor in Basic Studies. President Leary had attempted to hire Dennis Hopkins as band director in the spring, but the negotiations broke down. Terence Mahady was therefore named interim director, and at the same time Onis D. Hyatt retired from the headship of the Department of Agriculture after 28 years’ service to the university. As noted, Academic Vice President and Provost R. A. Suarez retired May 1, 1980. (14)

The year brought a number of new developments. Soon after the semester opened, the faculty and staff were honored at a Civic Center reception sponsored by the Lake Charles Chamber of Commerce. Then the next spring the first principal-student conferences were held. This involved bringing to the campus principals of area high schools that sent students to McNeese, letting them confer with their graduates, and then meeting with the faculty and expressing what the students liked and disliked. In December McNeese became an economic education center, so designated by the national Joint Council on Economic Education and the Louisiana Council on Economic Education, the purpose being to encourage area schools to inform their students of the virtues of the free enterprise system. James Tinsley became the first director of this office. Another first in McNeese history came in January when a baby, Wadie Louise Hanley, was born in King Dormitory. The emergency delivery was made by Barry Sullivan, a nursing student and a non-commissioned officer in the Louisiana National Guard. (15)

The Board of Regents continued its policy of reviewing the quality of degree programs in the state, and a committee of consultants recommended deletion of the bachelor’s degree in forestry. The final outcome was that the bachelor’s degree was permitted to continue for four more years, but a two-year associate degree in forestry was approved by the Regents. There was a tacit agreement that the four-year program would be phased out gradually. No face-saving formula was possible for the educational specialist program in music, health and physical education, and educational technology, which were abolished, but the program had very few students. In September the Department of Nursing received complete approval by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. (16)

The School of Sciences now had a reasonably complete computer center, financed by the National Science Foundation. In capital outlay, the construction of a $3,700,000 Health and Recreation Complex was about to begin, and $462,000 had been approved by the legislature for emergency repairs to three dormitories, Watkins, Sallier, and Zigler. This was essential because inflation and the gasoline shortage had greatly increased the demand for student housing. Construction of a classroom adjacent to the Engineering and Technology Laboratory was expected to begin soon. President-elect Doland escorted area legislators over the campus to show the need for new facilities. Already approved by the Board of Trustees and the Board of Regents were a four-story Business and Economics Center to cost almost $6,000,000; additional renovation of student housing to the tune of $2,000,000; facilities for the handicapped that would cost $1,205,000; repairs for parking lots and completion of the Engineering-Technology Complex, each about $1,000,000; and a new campus-wide heating and cooling system to cost over $5,000,000. Finally, in the spring, McNeese took an option on land between Hodges and Common Streets, north of Sale, at a price of $699,000. The cost of the option, $1,000 a month, was provided by the McNeese Foundation, which now had $560,548 in assets invested, but the option money paid was to count on the price of the real estate. (17)

Steve Jordan was SGA president for 1979-1980 with John Chenet as vice president, and under their leadership the SGA was for the first time accepted for membership in the Lake Charles Chamber of Commerce with Chenet as its representative. Patrick Stallings was ROTC cadet commander. Jan Morgan edited the Contraband in the fall, and Cindy Oliver in the spring; Angelle B. Rion edited the 1980 Log. John Hart was an aide to the Louisiana Legislative Council for the 1980 session of the legislature, and Paul Miller was assistant sergeant-at-arms for the House of Representatives; Miller and Guy Theriot were delegates to the 1980 Democratic Party Louisiana state convention. (18)

Thirty-eight McNeese students were listed in Who’s Who for this academic year, and 47 students, plus President-elect Doland as an honorary member, were inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. In the fall, 1,044 students made the honor roll, and in the spring 1,090, 22.5 percent and 26 percent respectively of the undergraduate student body. The students of the Department of Visual Arts distinguished themselves when 39 of their paintings, drawings, and other art works were selected for the first Louisiana Collegiate Competition in Alexandria. Since only 75 were chosen out of a total of 180 submitted, McNeese had done startlingly well. There were no debates, but students on their own won some honors in individual events. (19)

Mrs. Lynn Monfore, a senior Art Education major, won third place in World of Poetry magazine’s annual contest. Denise Verret and Mary Parrino had works selected for exhibition in "Louisiana Premiere: Women Artists," sponsored by the New Orleans Caucus, and Marilyn Cox, Virginia Renfroe, and Kirk Reynolds won major awards at the Tri-State Art Competition at Northeastern State University at Monroe. No less than one third of the student art works selected for exhibit at the Old Capital in Baton Rouge by the Division of Arts of Louisiana were from McNeese students Donna Artigue, Karen Benglis, Jackie Butard, Janice Daigle, Kathleen Jagneaux, Beverly Olivier, Virginia Renfroe, Kirk Reynolds, Phyllis Robertson, Denise St. Romain, and Ginny Skebe. (20) Two young women had out-of-the-ordinary cultural adventures. Mindy Fontenot of Jennings spent the summer of 1979 in Belize as part of a cultural exchange program. Mary Grosze, holder of a Board of Trustees scholarship and a president’s honor roll student every semester, was selected to participate in a scientific expedition sponsored by Charles, Prince of Wales - but of international composition - to Papua, on the island of New Guinea. In New Guinea waters the expedition traveled in a sailing ship. Nor was this expedition the end; Miss Grosze had also won a Rotary Foundation Scholarship for a year’s study in Germany, of which she took advantage soon after returning from Papua. Miss Grosze, who eventually earned degrees in liberal studies and in nursing, was certainly one of the best educated people ever to attend McNeese. She also was without question a beautiful young woman. Other students who distinguished themselves academically were nursing major Nancy Murdock, who won the third Phi Kappa Phi scholarship; Michael Hardy and Toby McCowan, who were named outstanding agriculture students; and Margaret A. Marcon, a magna cum laude graduate accepted by the LSU school of medicine, who won the Max Edelstein and A. L. Kushner Memorial scholarships. (21) Freshman Queen for 1979 was Nancy Lynn Cassell, with Connie Mattox, Mary Mancuso, Lori Gail Sutton, and Julie Yelverton on her court. Jan Mitchell was Homecoming Queen, attended by Darilyn Goudeau, Cheryl Karam, Melina Broussard, Esther Schmid, Charlotte Smith, and Mariet Lester. The Spring Court was headed by Melina Broussard, with Mona Bergeron, Conny Osborn, Esther Schmid, Nanette Stump, Erica Peltz, and Nancy Cassell as maids. Miss LaBelle of 1980 was Maureen Farrar. Sherry Farris was first runner-up, Vanessa Benham second runner-up, Debbie Hanchey third runner-up, and Kathy Harrington fourth runner-up. Nancy Loretta Blum was Engineering Queen for 1980, and Jodie Susan Holloway was named Miss Contraband. (22)

In the fall of 1979 Richard Guillory passed the presidency of the alumni to Gayle Marshall, and Dick Miller became president-elect. The alumni also held a reception for McNeese President-elect Jack Doland and President Tom Leary. Raymond Chavanne, James E. Clark, Donald Lee Elfert, B. E. Hankins, Lynda Jane Jones, and Victor Monsour were awarded pins for 20 years’ service. Joe Barbour was named alumnus advisor of the year by Kappa Sigma fraternity, and alumna Nancy Harris was among ten Louisiana artists honored at a reception in Baton Rouge by the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Jay Broussard Gallery. Alumna Lamar LeBoeuf (by this time Mrs. Wolfgang Caesar) was home on a visit after singing with the Bremerhaven Opera for three years, and Mrs. Doranne Poulson, and elementary teacher at Groves, Texas, published Those Hilarious Years about her grandmother’s family in Texas at the turn of the century. Allen Commander was named interim chancellor of the downtown University of Houston campus, and Harry Roach, a senior in Tulane Medical School, was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society. (23)

In addition to Onis Hyatt and R. A. Suarez, Larry Covin and Sylvester Pendarvis retired this academic year. Judith Morgan replaced Pendarvis as head of the Department of Supervision and Administration. Joe Lynn Cash and Thomas Coffey of the School of Humanities, William Bergeron in Engineering, and George J. Fister and Harlin W. Brewer in the School of Sciences were promoted to full professor; and Robert Cooper, Henry Luttrell, David Knoebel, James Beck, Frank W. Carter, and Mrs. Mary Wiley were promoted to associate professor. George V. S. White, the man primarily responsible for McNeese’s outstanding record in pre-medical education, won the second Distinguished Teacher Award. (24)

Political scientist Henry Sirgo was invited to participate in a Chautauqua-type NSF seminar on the use of microcomputers held at the University of Texas at Austin, and James Beck and Stearns Rogers of the Department of Chemistry received a grant from the Southern Regional Education Board for continuation of their research in geothermal wells. Mrs. Mary Jo Ann Beam received a "Distinguished Award" from the Southwest Association of College and University Housing Officers. Joe Gray Taylor was named to the Board of Editors of the Journal of Southern History and was made chairman of the Southern Historical Association’s Francis B. Simkins Prize Committee. Brantley Cagle was elected chairman of the American Library Association Membership Activities Committee on Library Service to Developmentally Disabled Persons. Mrs. Ruth Reedy, who would retire in the spring, won the Essae M. Culver Award, given annually by the Louisiana Library Association to someone whose professional service and achievements have been of great value to librarianship. (25)

B. E. Hankins attended the American Society for Testing and Materials meeting at Philadelphia in October, where he was appointed to a committee to write standard procedures for analysis of fluids from geopressured geothermal formations. He, Carroll Karkalits, and Russell Ham read papers at the Fourth Gulf Coast Geopressured Geothermal Energy Conference at the University of Texas late the same month, and in January Ham spoke to a Geopressured Energy Conference at Sea Island, Georgia. Constance Davis chaired a meeting of the Louisiana Art Education Fall Conference in Baton Rouge in October, and Thomas Hubert read a paper to the Louisiana College Conference in February. A number of faculty read papers at meetings of scholarly organizations: Daniel Sutherland to the Annual Meeting of the Southern Historical Association in Atlanta, Halbert Reeves to the South Central Modern Language Association meeting at New Orleans, Thomas D. Watson to the Western History Association in San Diego, and Allen Scholnick to the Spring Topology Conference at Birmingham, Alabama, sponsored by the University of Alabama. (26) Robert Cooper of the Department of Languages directed The Merry Wives of Windsor for the "Shakespeare in the Park" program at the Civic Center during the summer of 1979. Fred Sahlmann was guest soloist for the Lake Charles Civic Symphony’s "Summer Pops" concert in June; then he appeared in recital with Marilyn Rietz in November and with Patricia Bulber in April 1980. In October Allen Fuller, Marilyn Rietz, and students Elizabeth Roper and Kim Comeaux presented a string recital at Greenville, Mississippi. Bill Iles had 21 works on exhibit at the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge in August, and critic Anne Price of the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate noted that he had prodigious and promising talent. Iles had a mixed media drawing accepted for the "Rutgers National Drawing 1979" and exhibited in the Stedman Art Gallery of Rutgers University. He also had a drawing selected for exhibit in the 22nd Annual National Exhibition of Prints and Drawings sponsored by the Oklahoma Art Center, and Constance Davis had a one-woman exhibit in the Beaumont Art League Gallery. (27)

The most significant publication during the year was Daniel E. Sutherland’s book Americans and Their Servants: A History of Domestic Service in the United States, 1800-1820, published by the LSU Press. In April the Bookstore hosted an autograph party for LaJuana Lee, Wilma Moore, Sallye Benoit, and Celeste Stanfield Powers, the authors of Business Communications. Curtis Whittington published a short story in Revue de Louisiane, and Joe Gray Taylor had one article in Early American Life and another in Reconstruction and Redemption of the South, a book edited by Otto Olsen and published by the LSU Press. Anand Katiyar had an article published in Communications in Statistics, and Thomas Hubert had one article in University Bookman and another in Interpretations, the literary journal of Memphis State University. Finally, Henry B. Sirgo, Daniel E. Sutherland, John A. Wood, and Thomas Hubert all had articles in the McNeese Review for the year. (28)

December 1979 was the 40th anniversary of the Messiah at McNeese, and Francis Bulber was asked to come out of retirement and conduct this performance. The rehearsal soloists were Marietta DiGeorge, Allison Peltz, David Conrad, Roger Hickman, Bennie Hatten, Jr., and John Shipp. Performance soloists were Mrs. Christine Barbour Stanley, Michele Derrick-Gehrig, Ronald Brumley, and Chester Ludgin. The night of the performance William Storer was honored for 30 years with the chorus, and Patricia Bulber of the orchestra and Mrs. Marion Garrison of the chorus were recognized for 25 years’ service. (29)

The Bayou Players’ fall production was The Haunting of Hill House with Bruce Barnett, Susan Elmer, Jonny Miller, Mrs. Cathy Temple, Barron MacArthur, Judy Dixon, and Dawna Maloy in leading roles. The spring play was John Dos Passos’s U. S. A., with Jonny Miller, Patrick Stallings, Dawna Maloy, Carol Cassell, Charlotte Malone, and Mrs. Anita Tritico in the cast. The Lions Club-McNeese musical had been Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, and so was the 34th of these presentations, in 1980. Michele Derrick-Gehrig was the director, and the cast included faculty member Daniel E. Sutherland and students Charlotte Richardson, Lisa Monsour, Dale East, Larry Stanley, Fred Boerman, John Shipp, Allison Peltz, and Jeanette Graunke. (30)

Jack Doland remained as athletic director after he turned coaching chores over to Ernie Duplechin in August 1979, and Charles Sparks became president of the Southland Conference. Duplechin took over a fine football team, and he led it to an undefeated season. Its only loss was to Syracuse University in the Independence Bowl. Duplechin was Southland Conference coach of the year, and seven players - Artie Shankle, Harry Price, Roy Martin, Tim Harris, Tommy Murphy, Don Stumpp, and Jim Downing - were named to the All-Conference team. Not on the All-Conference team, but selected to play in the Blue-Gray Game, was defensive tackle John Miller. (31)

The basketball season was not a glorious one, the record being 15 games won to 12 lost. David Lawrence was not only named to the All-Southland Conference team, but also played on the American team in the Spartacus Games in Moscow. The baseball team, under Coach Johnny Suydam, converted a losing season to a winning (21-20) one by defeating USL in both games of a double-header in the last action of the year. The track team was fourth in the Southland Conference meet, and other minor sports were no more distinguished. The rodeo team was second only to Sam Houston University in regional competition and participated, though without distinction, in the NIRA finals at Bozeman Montana. Rodeo stars of the 1950’s Robert Penny, Cotton Kinney, Carl Martin, Clyde May, Jim Miller, and Warren Frey, along with Kenneth Sweeney who had coached them to three national championships, were honored at a rodeo in Burton Coliseum. The women’s teams were reasonably successful, especially in basketball, softball, and tennis. (32)

Two hundred and eight degrees were granted in the summer of 1979, 123 undergraduate and 85 graduate. Summa cum laude graduates were Doris Coke Honea, Linda G. Archer, Sophie B. Broxon, and Jamie Lynn Beam. There were no summa cum laude students among the 224 who received diplomas in the fall of 1979, but Mrs. Janet Gaily Earle, Denise Lorraine Hanks, Joel Jordan, and Sherry Lynette Latham received magna cum laude honors. Those who received degrees in the spring of 1980 numbered 360, and Daniel Lee Allen, Pierrette B. Brown, Deborah M. Lechtenberg, Sylvia P. Peltier, and Brenda Marie Tolin were all listed as summa cum laude. (33)


In the fall of 1980, 5,391 students registered, 235 more than in 1979; this was the first increase since the fall of 1975. The number of freshmen increased by 201, to 2,092, and the number of sophomores and seniors increased slightly, but the number of juniors declined a bit from the previous year, as did the number of graduate students. This was a comforting development, but in the spring there was a hint of marvelous things to come as enrollment reached 5,560, an increase of 213 over the previous fall, and an increase of 648 over the previous spring. This was the first time in 26 years that spring enrollment had exceeded that of the previous fall, and the greatest increase in history of one spring over the preceding spring. Significantly, the number of freshman declined by 213 over the fall, but there was an increase in every other category. Lieutenant Colonel Billy Arnold reported in February that ROTC enrollment stood at 376, almost 100 more in the spring than in the fall. (34)

As is usually the case, a change in the presidency brought changes in lower levels of administration. Deans John Norris of the School of Humanities, Stephen Spencer of the School of Sciences, Armand Perrault of the School of Business, and Robert B. Landers of the Graduate School announced their retirement, and Dean Maurice Pullig of the School of Fine Arts decided to return to heading the Department of Speech. As noted above, Gene Campbell of the School of Education had accepted a position elsewhere. The "schools" became "colleges" in October. Fine Arts and Humanities were combined into the College of Liberal Arts, and Richey Novak, who had earned his doctorate at Johns Hopkins and who had taught at Duke University before accepting a position in Iran, became dean. Louis Rzepka, former Dean of Education at State College of New York at Cortland, became Dean of the College of Education. Chemist B. E. Hankins became Dean of the College of Sciences, and Eldon Bailey and Judith Morgan became interim deans of the College of Business and the Graduate College, respectively. Richard H. Reid replaced the retired Mrs. Ruth Reedy as Director of the Library. Anita Fields became head of the Department of Nursing, which would soon become a college. Kalil Ieyoub became head of the Department of Chemistry and Harlin Brewer head of the Department of Mathematics, from which Patrick Ford had just retired. (35)

A number of new academic policies went into effect in the fall of 1980. The numerical grade scale which had been stated in the Catalogue and widely disregarded was abolished, and each instructor was free to fix his own grade scale. In the College of Business, it was announced that the MBA program, which had been designed and taught primarily as part-time program for night students would now emphasize full-time students. This was the beginning of a long attempt to get the College of Business nationally accredited. Evaluation of instructors by their students, which had been accomplished in the early seventies, was revived, and it was made clear that this evaluation would be one of the factors considered in a system of merit raises that would henceforth be in effect. Another small reform - gratifying to students and faculty - was rearranging the final examination schedule so that seniors could take their examinations along with the rest of the students in a class. In February it was announced that the university would for the first time sponsor a summer tour, this time of Spain under the direction of Thomas D. Watson of the Department of History. Leisure Learning was put under the Division of Community Services with Mrs. Norma Tornabene still in charge. (36)

The new administration (and these initiatives were primarily from President Doland) left attendance regulations up to the instructor in each class. Incomplete grades, which previously had counted as F’s toward academic probation or suspension, were now not to be counted toward a student’s grade-point average, and an incomplete could be made up either in the conventional way, and before the last date for resigning from the college, or by retaking the course. The date to withdraw from courses without a grade was extended one week, and mandatory mid-term examinations were no longer required. Also, under certain conditions, a student could be allowed to declare "academic bankruptcy" and in effect begin again with a clean state. (37)

The Board of Regents approved two new two-year associate degree programs, one in word processing and the other in general studies. The Regents voted to eliminate the existing master of science degree in microbiology, which McNeese had agreed to do; but the master’s degrees in English, chemistry, and environmental science were approved. The Regents approved several new degree programs: a master of fine arts in creative writing, bachelor of science degrees in technology and geology, and a non-teaching bachelor’s degree in health and physical education. Changes could be found in many areas. A number of departments received grants. Accounting received $4,000 from the Texaco Philanthropic Institution, and Gulf States Utilities provided $15,000 for a graduate-level course in "Energy Education" for 25 selected South Louisiana teachers. The College of Science won a Department of Energy grant to finance a workshop on energy resources for 30 area teachers, and McNeese signed a contract to evaluate brine disposal from the West Hackberry Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This Brine Line project would be a major research activity for several years. This year the Department of Chemistry was reaccredited by the American Chemical Society. For the first time it became possible for students for students to live on campus all year. Last, but certainly not least, the Cowgirl Kickers were established; this immediately became one of the most popular McNeese institutions. (38)

The operating budget for 1980-1981 was $12,981,221, a barely adequate sum, but better than some of the inadequate budgets that had gone before and which would return before the 1980’s were over. Ground-breaking ceremonies for the renovation of the Arena were held on September 30, 1980. Work was well under way in February, but the cost had risen to over $5,000,000; this had, however, been appropriated by the legislature. In the meantime work on the Fine Arts Building had begun, and would be complete in the summer of 1982 at a cost of slightly more than $2,000,000. Renovation of Frasch Hall, Kirkman Hall, the Main Auditorium, and dormitories was proceeding to the tune of $2,360,000, and $500,000 in planning money was available for the future Business and Economic Center. More parking spaces were planned, and none too soon, because the university had 2.000 parking spaces for 5,391 students. Legislative approval was expected for a new computer system to be completed in the summer of 1982 and located on the third floor of Kaufman Hall. (39)

Janet Austin was head of the Student Government Association for 1980-1981; Gary Lee Floyd was cadet commander of the ROTC unit; and Pam Jones was president of the Resident Students' Association. The marching band, under the direction of newcomer Dennis Hopkins, was triumphal in its appearances. Vicky Peltz was flag captain, Janice Comeaux co-captain, Shawn Valentine rifle captain, and Julie Laborde head twirler. Thirty-one students were selected for Who’s Who, seven from curricula in the College of Education, but no fewer than six from Engineering. In the spring, 1,258 students, well over 25 percent of the undergraduates on campus, were listed on the honor roll. Students continued to complain of cafeteria food; one letter to the Contraband reported ham "green around the edges." A student poll on presidential candidates forecast national results when Ronald Reagan received 252 votes, President Jimmie Carter 210, John Anderson 56, and Ed Clark 10. Finally in October three athletes and two transfer students dropped out of school when confronted with violations of dormitory regulations. (40)

Joe Barbour, who had earned a bachelor’s degree at 81 years of age, amazed people even more when he received his MBA at age 86. Summer graduate Daryl Burckel, a football player and accounting mayor, received a $2,000 grant from the NCAA for graduate work and used it to pursue a master’s degree in accounting. Basketball player John Rudd had won a similar grant earlier. Paul Veazy, Jr., who scored extremely high on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), was awarded a tuition waiver and book award scholarship to attend law school at LSU. Larry Singleton, who had graduated from McNeese with a 4.0 average, received an LSU Law Alumni Scholarship of $1,000 a year. For the year, Robin Trouth was recognized as the accounting student with the highest academic average, and Harlan Etheridge received an award as the outstanding Accounting graduate. Lisa Monticello was named best freshman chemistry student. Linda Fruge won the fourth Phi Kappa Phi scholarship, and Glinda Harvey won that organization’s scholarship for the next (1981-1982) academic year. Mary Berkin was recognized as the outstanding student in the Department of Agriculture for the year. (41)

In September, art student Mimi Hyatt had a landscape accepted for exhibit in the Mississippi Corridor contest sponsored by the Davenport Art Gallery of Davenport Iowa. Heather Ryan Kelley had works on exhibit at the Dallas Women’s Gallery in November, and she had five works accepted for the 1980 Louisiana Professional Artists Exhibition at Baton Rouge. In March, Hyatt and Kelley received awards in the Tri-State Graphics Exhibition on the Northeastern Louisiana University campus, as did Ginny Skebe and Marilyn Cox. In the Louisiana College Writer’s Contest, David Reina received second place in essay, Steven Eby third in short story, and Robert Hankins honorable mention in poetry. The debate team was not particularly active in 1980-1981, but things would change in the future because debate coach Bill Casey was brought out of retirement to restore McNeese to a major role in collegiate debating. (42)

Monica Rose Declouette was Freshman Queen in 1980 and the first black coed to receive that honor. Her court was made up of Jackie Ewing, Judy Ivy, Rosemary Landry, and Maureen Kay McCain. Esther Schmid ruled over Homecoming with Nanette Stump, Melina Broussard, Mariet Lester, Pam Moreau, Vicki Bass, Mary Kay Pinch, and Gina Gauthier as her maids. Spring court in 1981 had Cindy Hansen Dowers as queen, and her maids were Janet Puerta, Judy Ivy, Pam Moreau, Mary Kay Pinch, Renee Chapman, Gina Gauthier, and Dedrah Lester. Laura Calloway was LaBelle for 1981, and Janice Hanney, Kristie LeBlanc, Brenda Reed, Yvette Simien, Cathy Soileau, Renee Fontenot, and Vanessa Benham were runners-up or achieved other honors in the contest. Arlene Meek was Miss Engineering in 1981, and Robin Taylor was chosen Rodeo Queen. Finally, marking a first in the history of McNeese, Jay Glenn was named Mr. McNeese. (43)

Thomas R. (Dick) Miller replaced Gayle Marshall as president of the McNeese alumni in the fall of 1981, and Dr. Anthony Zaunbrecher became president-elect. Faculty members James Batchelor, Sylvia Stafford Dickson, Loris Galford, Mary Lynn Wiley, and Lieutenant Colonel James F. Williams (U.S.A. Ret.) received twenty-year awards. Among alumni who distinguished themselves were Lucien Kennedy Moss, who received the M.D. degree; Gloria Phillips, who received a doctorate of dental surgery degree; and Sitaraman Jagannath, who published the first volume of a projected multi-volume work, Programmable Calculators for the Hydrocarbon Processing Industry. Allen Rhorer was reelected president of the McNeese Foundation, with W. L. Smith as secretary and Robert Turner as treasurer. Rhorer, Smith, Fred Godwin, J. T. Miller, H. R. Smith, Joanna Viccellio, and Michael Halay were elected to the board of directors of the Foundation. (44)

The academic year 1980-1981 saw a number of fixtures among the faculty go into retirement. Among them were Nowell Daste of Fine Arts; James H. Morriss, Director of Counseling, Scholarships, and Testing; Ellis Guillory, after 30 years of service to the university as teacher, administrator, and coach; and Dolive Benoit, Professor of French and a member of the original junior college faculty in 1939. Charles W. Fogleman, Clifford Byrne, and Wilbur Dahlquist, though not ready to retire, stepped down from heading the Department of Social Sciences, Languages, and Physics. John Vile became head of Social Sciences, Bill Iles head of Visual Arts, Tommy Bogle head of Physics, and Curtis Whittington head of Languages. Harold Aymond in Agriculture, J. David Tauber in Chemistry, and Allan Fuller in Music were promoted to full professor, and Barbara Belew in Music and Hugh Turner in Biology were promoted to associate professor. New faculty included Edward Gates and Nageshwar Rao Bhaskar in Engineering, Coral Francois in Agriculture, Anne Dilks in Mathematics, Mrs. Kathy Roan in Nursing, Melissa Hobson in Music, Carolyn DeLatte in History, and Sigrid Scholtz and Carol Wood in Languages. Also new on the campus, and teaching some classes, were Gus Stacy, Dan Weston, Ron Ilg, Mike Vecchione, and Gary Gaston, whose main function was working with the Brine Line Program. (45)

Curtis Whittington won the third McNeese Distinguished Teacher Award, and also from the Department of Languages Lise Pedersen was selected for a four-year term on the Louisiana Committee for the Humanities. Barbara Belew was once more chosen to head the Louisiana Chapter of the American Harp Society, and Loretta LeBato received the honor award of the Louisiana Association for Hearth Physical Education, and Recreation. Alfread Mouton of Basic Studies was honored with the Public Service Award of the Lake Charles Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. (46)

The academic year 1980-1981 saw the beginning of a great growth in scholarly activity by the McNeese State University faculty. The new administration announced a plan for increases in salary based on "merit." Merit was to be decided by teaching excellence, determined largely by student-teacher evaluations; by scholarly productivity as determined by professional activity, including attendance at professional meetings, reading papers, scholarly publication, exhibits, recitals, etc.; and by community and university service. Heretofore many faculty had engaged in such activities, mainly in pursuit of professional and personal esteem, but the rewarding of such activities by increases in salary brought a new wave of enthusiasm. Few things in the history of McNeese have done more to push the school into true university status.

During 1980-1981, John Young attended the Southwestern Regional Board Committee on Statistics in Atlanta, and Allen Scholnick attended a workshop on Emergency Medical Service Evaluation in Rockville, Illinois. Rose Duhon presented a paper to a conference on Children and Youth at the University of Texas at Arlington, and Gary Freedom read a paper to the Association of American Geographers at a San Antonio meeting. Thomas D. Watson spoke to the Gulf Coast History and Humanities Conference at Pensacola, and Eldon Bailey chaired a session of the Southwest Regional Meeting of the American Accounting Society. Kim Bowman read one paper to the South Central Modern Language Association meeting at Memphis and another to the Twentieth Century Conference at Louisville, and Robert Maples delivered at paper at the Skidaway Oceanographic Institute near Savannah, Georgia. (47)

Barbara Coatney, head of the Department of Home Economics, received a grant from the American Home Economics Association to attend a "grantsmanship" workshop in Washington D.C., in October, and in November zoologist H. M. Turner was awarded $9,669 by the Board of Regents to study crayfish diseases. Political scientist Henry Sirgo was awarded $2,500 by the National Endowment for the Humanities, enabling him to attend a summer seminar at the University of California at Berkeley. Finally, Daniel E. Sutherland was one of 79 scholars selected from the nation to attend a summer military history workshop at the United States Military Academy at West Point. (48)

Bill Iles and student Mimi Hyatt had works on exhibit in the 42nd Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, 1980, at Palm Beach, Florida. Iles won the Purchase Award in a "Toys Designed by Artists" exhibit at Little Rock with his "Diabolical Cat Trap." He won the Patron’s Award at the Del Mar Exhibition at Corpus Christi, Texas, and had a work selected for showing at the "Watercolor U.S. A." exhibit sponsored by the Springfield, Missouri, Art Museum. Fred Sahlmann gave a piano recital in Squires Auditorium in September, and William and Sylvia Kushner and Sahlmann gave a chamber music recital at Alexandria in February. Allan Fuller presented a violin recital in November. Though not in the field of fine arts, it must be noted that David Slay of the Department of Technology built a satellite television receiver in the summer of 1980, the first one that most people at McNeese had ever seen. (49)

Musician Robert Jordahl had at least four compositions published during the year, and Albert Stoutamire published two works, one of them in collaboration with Terence Mahady. Robert Cooper and Sundaram Swetharanyam combined the skills of the literary technician and the computer expert to produce A Concordance of the English Poetry of Richard Crashaw. Nurse Golden Kroemeke, psychologist Toffee Nassar, and mathematician John Young combined their expertise to produce an article published in the Journal of the American Association of Nephrology Nurses and Technicians. Tennis expert Jim Brown had an article in World Tennis, and Ralph Huhn published an article in Learning Disability Quarterly. Thomas Hubert published an article in Revue de Louisiane and Daniel E. Sutherland had an article in Louisiana History. Thomas Fox wrote one chapter for the German-language Marburg History: Retrospective Essays on the City’s History, which was published in the spring of 1981. Finally Samuel B. Carleton of Visual Arts, Cheryl Ware of Languages, Andrew W. Foshee of Economics and Finance, and graduate assistant (Languages) Carolyn Moffett had articles in volume XXVII of the McNeese Review. (50)

In the fall the Bayou Players presented Tobacco Road again. Dale Gauthreaux played Jeeter Lester, Carol Cassell Ada Lester, Anita Parker the grandmother, Greg Stratton Dude, Tara Banning Pearl, and Melony LeMay Sister Bessie. In February the Players put on Joan Bruton’s I Remember Mama with Tara Banning, Bruce Barnett, Fred Boerman, Carol Cassell, DeWayne Corley, Phyllis Gain, Rosalind Guillory, Anna Lisa Guillot, Cynthia May, Maureen McCain, Billy Monks, Kurt Overton, Anita Parker, Craig Starks, and director Jerry Brown’s kindergarten-age daughter, Jenny, in the cast. The 1980 Messiah featured as soloists Romayne Beard of Cleveland, Ohio; Diantha Clark of Mahomet, Illinois; Jeffery Stamm of Princeton, New Jersey; and Arden Hopkins of Fort Worth, Texas. The McNeese-Lions Club musical in the spring, and the last one, was really two short operas. Doctor Miracle, with Dale East, Charlotte Richardson, Fred Boerman, and Marietta DiGeorge, with Lisa Monsour as DiGeorge’s understudy, was one; Dido and Aeneas, headlining Allison Peltz as Dido and Patrick Stallings as Aeneas, with Phyllis Gain as Dido’s maid, was the other. The works of Jane Bechtold of Cameron Parish were shown in the Fine Arts Building in the summer, and the Library showed the Lafayette Natural History Museum Association’s "Atchafalaya Swamp Life" in the fall. (51)

The 1980 football team was almost as good as its immediate predecessor, losing one game during the regular season and losing to Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl. Ten players, Stephen Starring, Rusty Guilbeau, Joey Gregory, Theron McLendon, Clay Carroll, Daryl Burckel, Robert Davenport, Lonnie Collins, Bret Martin, and Don Stumpp were named to the All-SLC team, and Buford Jordan was named top freshman for the year. The men’s basketball team had a lackluster season, winning only 11 games, but the women had amassed a record of 23 victories to only 4 losses when it was discovered that one young lady was technically ineligible. The resulting forfeits changed to 5 won and 22 lost. (52)

The tennis team had a 13-8 match record for 1980-1981, and Triny Rivera's baseball team won 26 games, lost 27, but won only 1 of 12 conference games. The golf team took fifth place, and the track team was sixth for the year. A new team, in powerlifting, placed fifth in the All-South Powerlifting Championships. Interest in rodeo was definitely on the upswing. The student body voted an assessment for rodeo in October, and it was noted in February that the rodeo team had scored more points in four rodeos thus far than it had scored throughout the 1979-1980 year. In May the team, coached by James Brooks, won the southern regional title of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association and was ready to go to Bozeman to participate in the national championships. (53)

In the summer of 1980, 202 students received degrees, and Ellen Robinson, Deborah Lechtenberg, and Chris Wallhauser were recognized as summa cum laude graduates. Miss Robinson was only the second student in McNeese’s history to graduate from the Department of History with a 4.0 average. In December, Governor Treen’s executive council, Edgar Mouton, was the graduation speaker as 206 graduates were given diplomas. President Doland was installed at this ceremony with Mr. William Broadhurst of the Board of Trustees officiating. Christine Galloway was the only summa cum laude graduate, but Andrea B. Liles, Louis Carol Galin, and Kathryn H. Venable were magna cum laude. In the spring there were 327 graduates, and Frazier T. Fortenberry, Jay Robert Helluin, Kathy Ruth McCoy, Nancy Jane Murdock, Carla P. Offill, Larry D. Singleton, and Robin W. Trouth received summa cum laude honors. (54)


Hitting a Peak

McNeese State University enrollment in the fall of 1981 showed a startling 30.2 percent increase, from 5,391 in the fall of 1980 to 7,017 in the fall of 1981. This included 2,616 freshmen, 1,070 sophomores, 780 juniors, 928 seniors, and 1,556 graduate students. The reasons for this sudden and unexpected increase were several. First, the number of graduate students had more than doubled because of the state introduced a so-called Professional Improvement Program (PIPS) that raised teachers’ salaries in return for professional improvement. Probably the money was wasted, since the teachers took very few content courses and concentrated in Education classes, but on the other hand the teachers deserved a raise. Secondly, the Regan recession that has grown worse in Southwest Louisiana with the passing of the years had begun. Since young people had difficulty getting jobs, more of them went to college. Finally, and perhaps most important of all, the new administration had improved the "image" of McNeese. After all, the university was offering more programs than ever, and 59 percent of the faculty now held terminal degrees. The local newspaper, television station, and radio stations were friendly to the new administration and gave the university good publicity, and President Doland in his many public appearances missed no opportunity to put the university’s best foot forward. (1)

Black students made up 15 percent of the student body. Males made up 44 percent, females 56 percent. The general administration curriculum in the School of Business was the most popular curriculum, and the college had the most students overall. The College of Science was next, Education next, and Engineering fourth. The faculty of the Department of Languages taught the most students, the Nursing faculty the fewest. Spring enrollment totaled 6,727, over a thousand more than had registered the previous spring. (2)

There were no major changes in personnel in the fall. George Kuffel was named coordinator of Community Services, which really meant he was in charge of EASE (Emphasis on Adult Special Entry), a program that eliminated most of the red tape for students returning to school after having dropped out and taking only a few hours. Frances Summers was placed in charge of a new Office of High School Relations. In April, Dr. Louis Rzepka resigned as Dean of the College of Education and was replaced by Jim Brown, McNeese alumnus and longtime member of the Education faculty. (3)

The heavy enrollment created much greater demand for dormitory space; as might be expected, all dormitory rooms and all married student units were full, and in October President Doland announced that King Hall, which had been used for married students’ quarters for some years, would be reconverted to a dormitory, the transition to be completed by the fall semester, 1982. Residents asked for a compromise, and it was finally agreed that families with only one child would be moved to Sun Village or Pine Haven married student quarters as vacancies developed, and that those with two or more children could stay in King Hall until they graduated. Single men would be phased into King Hall one floor at a time. (4)

The new administration was eager to offer new programs. The two-year general studies program offered through the Department of History, and the four-year non-teaching health and physical education program, have already been mentioned. Among others approved by the Board of Regents and eventually made available to students were a two-year program in paralegal studies taught by the Department of Social Sciences, which attracted large numbers of students, and four-year degree programs in psychology and in electrical-electronics technology. Awaiting approval by the Regents were four-year programs in geology and early childhood education. The bachelor’s degree in visual arts was strengthened by the addition of a concentration in ceramics, and the bachelor’s degree in animal science was strengthened when the Mathilda Gray Foundation endowed a chair in that subject. As noted, the Board of Regents approved a graduate program leading to the master of fine arts in creative writing to be taught by the Department of Languages. (5)

A number of departments - Music, History, Childhood Education, Chemistry, and the pre-medical curriculum in the Department of Biology - received special recognition for excellence from the State Board of Trustees. The College of Education was reaccredited by NCATE. Long years of effort paid off when the Department of Nursing at long last received national accreditation by the National League for Nursing, and when the bachelor of science degree in engineering was accredited by the national Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology. The university was reaching a peak of recognition of its educational excellence at the same time that it was reaching toward a peak in enrollment. (6)

Among administrative developments it should be noted that the Third Principal-Student Conference saw 33 high schools participating. Implementation of the Brine Line Contract, signed in 1980 and under the direction of Larry DeRouen, was well under way; the contract was for $3,200,000 the first year and employed 409 people. Unfortunately, it would have a short life insofar as McNeese was concerned. In February the student body assessed themselves for the upkeep of the new recreation facility by an overwhelming vote. Governor Dave Treen appointed President Doland to the Southern Regional Education Board. A 1978 lawsuit against McNeese claiming salary discrimination against some female faculty members was quietly settled, out of court, with most of the women involved getting a raise and some back pay. Also, a grade-appeal procedure was instituted with a student-faculty committee as the final tribunal. Last, but not necessarily least, the administration ruled that no hard liquor could be served on campus, but that wine could be served at special functions handled by the university’s Food Service Department. (7)

Never before had so much money and so many projects for capital outlay been considered or approved. Louisiana in 1981 was at the height of an artificial governmental prosperity brought about by high oil prices, and the Board of Trustees and the Board of Regents approved $11,459,545 in capital outlay for 1981-1982. By February 1982 this had risen to over $13,000,000, all of which would come to pass by 1986. Major items included $2,030,000 for emergency repairs to administration and academic buildings; $6,000,000 for a new central cooling and heating system; $1,885,000 for improvement of athletic facilities; $970,000 for equipment for the new Business-Economic Center, and $600,000 to surface and repair parking lots. Other projects were $510,000 for the purchase of land; $250,000 for additional computer equipment; $398,000 for additions and renovations for Frasch Hall; $215,000 for site improvement at Gayle Hall; and $200,000 for a new telephone system. (8)

The McNeese student body had become so large by 1981-1982 that some deaths were almost inevitable in the course of a year. One August 1, 1981, Clay Carroll, former football player, was killed in an automobile accident. Then in January 1982, Catherine Johnson died while undergoing heart surgery. John Chenet was president of the Student Government Association, Kathryn Kingery, an engineering major, edited the Contraband, and Carl Smith edited the Log. In September, the SGA began naming a Cowboy of the Week, and Laura Callaway, a music major, was first to be honored with this title. If one judges by letters to the Contraband, there was considerable opposition to the proposed student assessment for the upkeep of the new recreational facility in the Arena, but the vote was almost eight to one in its favor. (9)

Women students in engineering were making enviable records. The American Petroleum Institute awarded six scholarships, and women won four of them. Two scholarships from Hercules Corporation went to Patricia Heinen and Ann Vides, and one from Olin Corporation went to Theresa Drott. Pattie Jean Reddell received the Clara Raynor scholarship to LSU Medical School from Phi Mu Sorority, and Kathy McCoy, and outstanding black student, received two scholarships to the law school of the University of Texas at Austin. Summer graduate Cathy Anderson won a scholarship to Tulane Law School, and Mary Langley, a graduate student in mathematics, read a paper to the Louisiana Academy of Sciences. Melinda (Mimi) Hyatt had a drawing among the 147 selected for exhibition out of 3,000 submitted in the Rutgers Works on Paper Biennial Competition, and she won the Purchase Award in the Dulin National Print and Drawing Competition at the Dulin Gallery of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee. Students from the McNeese Visual Arts Department won 11 of 20 major awards presented at the Collegiate State Art Competition sponsored by the Alexandria Museum of Art. Kathy Sebren took a first, a second, and a third place in Criminal Justice Regional Conference competition, and Kathleen Hansberry won an SGA-sponsored easy contest on "Why Did You Choose McNeese?" J. Steven Eastman, a senior agronomy major, won a $750 scholarship from the Soil Conservation Society of America, and Patrick Daughtry received a Louisiana Opera Internship with the New Orleans Opera. (10)

The McNeese Debate team was fully restored to form by 1981-1982. It was made up of Terrone Fowlkes, Catherine Blanchard, Dale Gauthreaux, Jerry Williams, Nathaniel Guidry, Jack Rogers, Lawanna Holmes, Charlotte Malone, Kathy Green, and Donna Spears. The team placed higher than that of any other Louisiana school at the Birmingham International Tournament in October; then in November it won five trophies at the Red River Forensics Classic at Shreveport. Rogers and Gauthreaux reached the finals of the Stephen F. Austin Tournament, then went on to take nine trophies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. In the meantime team members and especially Jack Rogers, were taking places in individual contests. The season reached its height when the McNeese-Harvard debates were revived after ten years, and Rogers and Gauthreaux won to make the complete series since 1959 8-5 in favor of McNeese. (11)

The Log for 1982 shows six social sororities, two of them made up of black coeds, and seven social fraternities, three of them with black membership. Thirty-seven students were selected for Who’s Who, seven from accounting, six each from agriculture and education, and four each from engineering and pre-medical. A new jazz ensemble formed in the Music Department by faculty member Rick Condit, aroused some enthusiasm. The marching band was the biggest ever, 207 people, under the direction of Dennis Hopkins. The Student Congress for Afro-American Culture celebrated Black History Month (February) with a tribute, in the Auditorium, to blacks who had made major contributions to the City of Lake Charles. (12)

Jodie Wright was Freshman Queen in the fall of 1981; Soyna LeBlanc, Sherry Fontenot, Cindy Miller, and Mary Duhon completed her court. Pam Moreau was named Homecoming Queen, with Eva Prejean, Denise Soileau, Cindy Wright, Lori Carter, Lori Sutton, and Deborah Couvillon as her maids. The Spring Court for 1982 was presided over by Queen Kim Gaspard, with maids Debbie Hanchey, Mariet Lester, Eileen Woodhatch, Lori Sutton, Mary Kay Pinch, and Deborah Couvillon, Vanessa Benham was LaBelle, Charla Cushing first runner-up, Cheryl Ann Guidry second runner-up, Loria Leday third runner-up, and Kim Mounce fourth runner-up. It should also be noted that coed Renee Fontenot was 1982 Miss Lake Charles. (13)

One of the more unusual events in McNeese history was revealed in the spring of 1982 when sheriff’s deputies arrested two young men and a young woman, all three McNeese students. According to the newspapers, the two young men had gone into business as male prostitutes and the young woman found customers for them and made arrangements. Female deputies, pretending to be customers, set a trap into which the three easily fell. Certainly this was not a matter for great pride, but it did gain for McNeese more than a little national publicity, though publicity of a type the university would have been happy to do without. (14)

Anthony Zaunbrecher became Alumni Association president in the fall of 1981, with Dr. Lee J. Monlezun president-elect, Joyce Patterson secretary, and Rebecca Sensat treasurer. The Board of Directors now included Dr. Allen Dennis, Edley M. Hixson, Jr., E. Lawrence Lowery, Mrs. Nancy Morris, and C. J. Murphy. The alumni probably made their greatest impression ever on the public when the United States Army’s paratrooper team jumped into the middle of McNeese Stadium at half time of the Homecoming game. People who have long forgotten who won and lost the game still remember the excitement of the paratroopers’ descent. (15)

Dolive Benoit was the last of that small band who had served as the original faculty of Lake Charles Junior College in the fall of 1939, and she announced her retirement in the summer of 1981. She had set standards of excellence that have not been surpassed to this day. At the end of the fall semester Mrs. Lorena Fuller retired from the Department of Nursing after twenty years at the university. Harold Stevenson became head of the Department of Environmental Science and Microbiology in the fall, and James Edmonds was named chairmen of the Department of Physics. Robert K. Gilbert joined Curriculum and Instruction, and Kirby Detraz, Stanton M. Morris, Jerry Whiteman, and Lyman R. Hunter joined the Department of Psychology and Special Education. Ronald Johnson joined the Department of Languages as co-director of the new master of fine arts program in creative writing, and Judy Savoie and Eugene Marshall joined Languages as teachers of French. Alumna Cheryl Ware came as a visiting lecturer in English and would become a permanent faculty member. Margaret Jane Carr, Roberta Yellott, Willie Jenkins, Larry Landry, and George Meade, Jr., were added to the Mathematics faculty. Theresa Zimmer and Martha Brown joined the Department of Secretarial Science. In Music Rick Condit joined the faculty; James Hill, a fine sculptor, joined Visual Arts; and Anita Tritico was named production coordinator for drama. (16)

During the year, Marie Weaver received her doctorate from North Texas State. Henry Sirgo, John Vile, and Gary Freedom of the Department of Social Sciences all received mini-grants for research projects, and John Vile received a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar grant of $2,500 for study at the University of Iowa. (17)

Librarian Richard Reid was elected to a two-year term as chairman of the Council for Quality Education in Louisiana, and Harold L. Stevenson became chairman-elect of the Aquatic and Terrestrial Microbiology Division of the American Society for Microbiology. Jo Eddie Shroeder became the president for 1981-1982 of the Louisiana Association of College and University Personnel Administrators, and William Casey was president of the Louisiana Forensics Association. Thomas D. Watson was named vice president of the Louisiana Historical Association, which meant that he would automatically become president in 1982-1983. Harold Aymond became president of the Louisiana Association of Agronomists, and Adrienne Ham was elected secretary of the Louisiana Home Economics Association. (18)

Faculty members attended professional meetings far and wide. Sigrid Scholtz of the Department of Languages attended the meeting of the American Association of  State Colleges and Universities at Los Angeles, and her husband, Dean of Liberal Arts Richey Novak, attended the Tenth International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences at Seoul, Korea. John Vile, Henry Sirgo, Gary Freedom, and Billy Turner attended a Regional National Security Conference at Texas A. and M. University, and Sirgo and Vile attended the Louisiana Political Science Association meeting on the University of New Orleans campus. Judy Morgan attended a Southern Graduate Schools Conference in Florida, and Ronald Brumley went to the Annual Convention of the National Association of Teachers of Singing at Louisville. From the Department of Physics, Charles Zebley went to a three-day National Science Foundation program on astronomy at the University of Houston, and James Edmonds attended the Twentieth Eastern Theoretical Physics Conference at Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ralph Huhn was a panelist at the Third Annual International Conference on Learning Disabilities, and William Greenlee attended the Louisiana State Philosophy Convention on the LSU campus. (19)

John Vile was an the program of the Southwest Social Science Convention at San Antonio, and Carolyn DeLatte read papers to the Southwest Louisiana Historical Association and to the Annual Meeting of the Louisiana Historical Association. Ralph Huhn presented a paper to the American Reading Forum at Sarasota, Florida, and Bill Iles, on invitation, had a one-man exhibit of his works at Louisiana State University, Alexandria. From Mathematics, Anne Dilks, Allen Scholnick, Roberta Yellott, and James Reed all resented papers to the Louisiana Academy of Sciences, and Hugh M. Turner, Department of Biology, read a paper on crayfish diseases to the Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association meeting in Baton Rouge. (20)

Nothing demonstrates the scholastic maturing of McNeese State University more than the volume of scholarly publications. Without question, the new merit raise system was partly responsible, but had the faculty not been qualified to do research and publish its findings, no merit system could have achieved result. It is no exaggeration to say that the faculty accomplished as much in research and writing in 1981-1982 as had been accomplished in most decades of the university’s existence before 1980. Jim M. (Tennis) Brown had an article in Coach and Athlete, and Jerry Whiteman and Linda Brannon collaborated on an essay that appeared in Psychology in the Schools. Donald Elfert of Engineering had two pieces in Engineering Design Graphics Journal, and physicist James Edmonds published one paper in Speculation in Science and Technology, and another in a book, After Einstein, published by the Memphis State University Press. Mathematician George Meade had an article in Communication in Algebra, and husband and wife Russell and Adrienne Ham produced a book, Chemistry: Servant of Man. (21)

Diane Kim Bowman was the author of an article that appeared in Volume XXVIII (1981-1982) of the McNeese Review. Henry Sirgo had an essay in the same issue of that publication and another in Advance Journal. Sirgo’s associates in the Department of Social Sciences were not idle. John Vile published in the Southwestern Political Science Review, Gary Freedom in North Dakota History: Journal of the Northern Plains, and Billy Turner in Jems: A Journal of Emergency Medical Services. Biologist Hugh Turner, collaborating with alumnus Steve Beasley, published an article in Proceedings of the Helminthological Society of Washington, and Thomas D. Watson was co-author of an article in the Florida Historical Quarterly. Daniel E. Sutherland authored no fewer than three articles, one in Southern Studies, a second in South Carolina Magazine of History, and the third in Maryland Historical Magazine. Nor were publications limited to articles. Albert Stoutamire was co-author of Strings Are Fun, brought out by Belwin Mills Publishing Corporation. Robert Cooper’s The Art of Richard Crashaw was published by the University of Salzburg Press. (22)

The first effort of the Bayou Players in 1981-1982 was A Raisin in the Sun, with Felisha Vincent as Lena Younger and Jimmy Stevens, Dale Gauthreaux, Raymond Cormier, Jr., Frank Wesley, Bill Brown, and Cornelius Yvette Simien in other roles. Then came Our Town, with a large cast including Brian McCarty, Liz Edwards, Kathleen Sanner, Jack E. Rogers, Melony LeMay, Tara Banning, and Bill Offill. In November, Robert Cooper directed The Madwoman of Chaillot in Squires Auditorium, Geralyn Mott, Carl Bergeron, Tara Banning, Pat Daughtry, Mike Mayo, Kent Mason, Jim Johnson, and Ron Rodasti had important parts. Rehearsal soloists for the Messiah this year were Allison Peltz, Mrs. Jeanette B. King, Susan Iles, Pat Daughtry, and Dale East. The River Niger was presented March 3-5, with Bill Brown, Felisha Vincent, and Raymond Cormier, Jr., in lead roles. Others in the cast were Ronald Blanchard, Othelia Tezeno, Ray Caesar, Terrone Fowlkes, and Lanny Roy, III. This presentation received high praise in the college newspaper. Death of a Salesman in March was performed by Carl Bergeron, Randy Chapman, Mike Mayo, Mary Ann Sigler, Gary Elam, Dale Gauthreaux, Millard Jones, Lisa Bustle, Charles Trahan, Mike Sober, Angie Doyle, Connie Doland, and Tara Banning. (23)

The final play of the year was an old favorite, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, with a cast including Jack Rogers, Mary Grosze, Dale Gauthreaux, Bill Offill, Tara Banning, Brian McCarty, Cynthia May, DeWayne Corley, and Pat Danahay. A spring opera workshop, with scenes from Mavra and The Bartered Bride demonstrated the talents of Molly Ellis, John Barbry, Lisa Monsour, Pat Daughtry, Jeanette King, and Karen Peet. Alumnus and national literary figure Andre Dubus was on campus for a reading and workshops with MFA students, and the Lyceum Committee presented French singer Jacques Yvart in Baker Auditorium. Without question, however, the program that drew the largest audience, and the most attentive audience, was a lecture by Watergate figure G. Gordon Liddy. (24)

The 1981 football team had a mediocre record, and at the end of the season Ernie Duplechin turned coaching over to Hubert Boales and restricted his own role to that of athletic director. William Hathaway, defensive tackle and an engineering major with a 3.4 average, was named to the Southland All-Academic Team. Rusty Guilbeau was named to the Associated Press All-American major college team, the first McNeese player since James Files to achieve that honor. Seven McNeese players - Guilbeau, Buford Jordon, Bret Martin, Stephen Starring, Robert Davenport, Mark Barrouse, and Leonard Smith - were named to the All-SLC team for the year. The basketball team was fifth in the SLC with a 14-15 record, but Joe Dumars and Fred Chaffould were named to the All-SLC team. (25)

One hundred and sixty-two students earned degrees in July 1981, but Harlan Lynn Etheridge was the only summa cum laude graduate. In December there were 280 graduates, and Wendell David, Suzonne Faulk, Sandra Guillory, Sylvia Marcantel, Rebecca Pack, Nancy Prejean, and James Sudduth achieved summa cum laude honors. In the spring, when United States Senator Russell Long was the speaker, James Earl Ambler, Jr., Bonita Roy Ham, Monica G. Lavergne, Gayle A. Trahan Pearce, Stephen Clabe Racca, Joel Lamar Rigby, and Sharon Elaine Rosteet achieved the highest honors. Some higher honor should have been available for James Earl Amber; he achieved his academic ranking despite being for all practical purposes blind. (26)


The 1982-1983 academic year saw more enrollment records broken. In the summer there were 4,194 students on hand, and thanks to the PIPS program, 1,847 of those were graduate students. In the fall enrollment rose to 7,351, 2,795 freshmen, 1,198 sophomores, 873 juniors, 953 seniors, and 1,463 graduate students. In the spring there were 2,356 freshmen, 1,258 sophomores, 936 juniors, 1,013 seniors, and 1,399 graduate students. This was the first time in the history of the university that spring enrollment had reached and exceeded 7,000 students. (27)

This year there were few personnel changes in administrative positions. Ted Brevelle resigned from the athletic staff to become coordinator of scholarships and testing, but he would soon return to the athletics complex. Judy Mier became assistant dean for student services with the understanding that her main attention would be devoted to handicapped students. Most important, Wilford Miles, formerly of Alfred College, became dean of the College of Business. Since it was understood that accreditation of the College of Business was the university’s first priority, that was an important appointment. (28)

The McNeese operating budget for 1982-1983 was set at almost $22,000,000 by the legislature, but in Louisiana operating budgets are never final until the fiscal year is over. In October, Governor Dave Treen ordered a 4.4 percent cut, over $700,000, in this operating budget. President Doland urged that there be no more across-the-board cuts, but the practice has continued and has become more and more crippling to colleges and universities as the years go by. In capital outlay, McNeese did much better, $900,000 in new equipment for the Computer Center adding significantly to its efficiency, though much remained to be done. The work on the Fine Arts Building was practically complete; floor space was practically doubled, to the great delight of the Department of Visual Arts, which boasted of a $7,000 press for printmaking instruction, contributed by Larry and Marilyn Woodcock of Lake Charles. The Department of Music now had an electronic piano laboratory with twelve keyboards. Ground-breaking ceremonies for the new Business-Economic Center were held in February, and a new classroom building for Engineering and Nursing was under construction directly in front of the Engineering and Technology Laboratory. The university asked for $500,000 for adding a third floor, and would eventually get it. For renovating Watkins, Zigler, and Sallier Halls and Pine Haven Married Student Housing over $2,000,000 was available. The designing of a new $6,000,000 heating and cooling system had begun, and a new telephone system was in the planning stage. (29)

At the beginning of the 1982-1983 year, black Georgia Congressman Andrew Young, who would soon be Mayor of Atlanta, told McNeese students: "You can be anything you want to be." (30) The regents approved a master of arts degree in psychology. George White noted in November that St. Patrick's, West Cal-Cam, and Memorial hospitals were all now recognized as major technical education centers for training students in the radiologic technician program. The Department of Speech signaled its increases in role and offerings by changing the name to Department of Communications and Theatre. Enrollment in the new paralegal program was increasing rapidly, and so was the number of students in the MBA program of the College of Business. (31)

The Brine Line Contract - whereby McNeese, in cooperation with Texas A&M University, monitored the effects of pumping brine from the salt dome at the Hackberry Strategic Oil Storage Area into the Gulf of Mexico - was quite a coup for a university the size of McNeese. For a time McNeese was second only to LSU in the state in the amount of money received for research grants. Unfortunately, relationships between McNeese and the New Orleans office of the Department of Energy were not harmonious; they were poor in the beginning and rapidly got worse. Perhaps it was a matter of personalities. Perhaps the Department of Energy felt uncomfortable dealing with a small university rather than a large one. Perhaps the fact that some of the McNeese reports showed, accurately, some bad effects from the brine discharge angered the DOE. It does not matter why; the university lost the Brine Line Contract. United States Senator J. Bennett Johnston was able to get the university a consolation prize, a contract for monitoring the environment of Calcasieu Lake, usually referred to as the CALECO Project. This did enable the university to keep most of the exceptionally able scientific staff that had been gathered for the Brine Line work, at least for the time being. (32)

Early in the year, the reception for the faculty presented annually by the business community honored the Board of Regents also. In November at long last, and after much complaining by students who were already paying the assessment they had voted, the Recreation Complex opened. In October Baker Auditorium became for a time a federal courtroom as Judge Earl Veron conducted naturalization ceremonies for 30 aliens. Joe Gray Taylor was the speaker for the occasion. In March David J. Frantz, now in charge of the university Astronomical Observatory, opened it to the public three nights a week from sunset to nine p.m. Finally, when the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury found itself unable to manage Burton Coliseum, McNeese fell heir to that structure. In time it would become available for graduation ceremonies and basketball games, but in the beginning it was merely another burden. (33)

James S. Hartley was SGA President for 1982-1983. Philip Harris, McNeese student and a member of the rodeo team, was killed in an accident on Christmas Eve, 1982, but this was the only such tragedy recorded among the student body this year. A visitor to the campus might have noted that the number of foreign students was growing; this was especially apparent when a meeting of the foreign students was held near the beginning of each academic year. The Department of Nursing became the College of Nursing with Anita Fields as dean, and the quality of the program was demonstrated by the fact that 97 percent of the 1982 nursing graduates passed their state licensing examinations. Rhonda Sweet, president of the McNeese chapter of Zeta Phi Beta sorority, was named coordinator of the southern region for that organization. Fifteen faculty and students played in a performance of the Rapides Symphony Orchestra in November, and freshman Sandra Haynes wrote the script for The Great Showboat Spectacular, a community presentation to be performed in her home town, Livingston, Texas. (34)

Joel Lamar Rigby won the Dr. Ben Goldsmith Award, presented to a student already admitted to medical school, and freshman Kevin Marcantel, who had represented LaGrange High School in a summer exchange with Quebec, won the France-Amerique Scholarship. Melda Duhon, who already held a degree in mathematics from Rice University, won the McNeese Foundation Graduate Fellowship, which she applied to work toward the MFA in Creative Writing. Karen Giamanco won a $4,000 Rockefeller Scholarship, and Richard Casey, a premedical student, won the Phi Kappa Phi Scholarship. Mimi Hyatt had a woodcut accepted in the 58th International Competition of prints and photographs sponsored by the Print Club of Philadelphia, and one of her drawings, after being selected for exhibit by the Portsmouth Community Art Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, was then selected for a two-year Smithsonian traveling tour. It was not unusual for three ROTC cadets to be commissioned at December graduation, but the young officers commissioned in December 1982 were all women, Glenda Guillory, Cindy Williams, and Andree Theaux. (35)

The McNeese State University Debate Team had most definitely reached its old form by 1982-1983. Lawanna Holmes, Tom Gray, Jack Rogers, Donna Spears, Chris Doucet, Dan McFatter, and Rob McCorquodale, were the outstanding team members. At the University of West Florida tournament in November, the team won six trophies. Then in January, at Stephen F. Austin, McNeese was sweepstakes winner. Jack Rogers was rated best debater, first in prose interpretation, and third in after-dinner speaking. He and Lawanna Holmes were first in debate, Dan McFatter and Donna Spears third. The debaters came in second at the Texas Intercollegiate Forensic Championship tournament at San Marcos, winning seven trophies, and then, when McNeese hosted the Louisiana Forensic Tournament, the team took first place in debate and the sweepstakes. The year ended perfectly when Holmes and Rogers managed to defeat Harvard. (36)

Angie Crawford was Freshman Queen 1982 with a court made up of Barbara Fredericks, Rhonda Nicholson, Adrienne Potier, and Toni Woodhatch. Lori Sutton was Homecoming Queen, and her maids were Nadine Bryant, Kristie LeBlanc, Jodie Wright, Paula Duplechain, Mary McCall, and Renee Fontenot. Miss Sutton was the queen of the Spring Court, with Kristie LeBlanc, Candace Wright, Deanna Fredericks, Renee Fontenot, Pam Derouen, Tina Hall, and Barbara Fredericks as maids. Phyllis Porter was LaBelle, with Renee Fontenot as first runner-up, Vickie Myers second runner-up, Jeanette Johnson third runner-up, and Melissa Webb fourth runner-up. Tyri Breaux was Miss Congeniality. Mary Duhon of McNeese was Miss Black Louisiana in 1982, and Sharon Meek was Engineering Queen. The Lake Charles Jaycees named Pam Derouen Miss Southwest Louisiana State Fair, and coed Deanna Pigno was Miss Lake Charles in 1983. (37)

Dr. Lee J. Monlezun was president of the Alumni Association in the fall, with Zeb Johnson as president-elect, Jodie Lambert secretary, and Bill McDonald treasurer. New members of the Board of Directors were Jolynn Raetzsch, Dr. Eli Sorkow, Joanna Viccellio, Paul Hebert, and Norman Robinson. It should be noted that alumna Joyce Patterson was now McNeese Alumni Director. In February the McNeese Foundation announced through treasurer Becky Sensat that it now had $663,102.69 in assets and that it was contributing no less than $85,000 a year to the university in one manner or the other. (38)

Everyone at McNeese was shocked by the death of Dr. Lise Pedersen on November 12, 1982. Dr. Pedersen was only 56 years old at the time of her death, and she had reached college faculty status fairly late in life. Yet she was recognized as a master teacher; indeed she was awarded the fourth McNeese Distinguished Faculty Award posthumously. She had been active in professional organizations, had served as a member of the Faculty Senate, and had recently been appointed to the Louisiana State Committee for the Humanities. Her publications were distinguished, and she was engaged in research and writing almost to the time of her death. Had she lived, she could have made major additional contributions to McNeese State University. (39)

In the College of Business, Willard Hohnstein stepped down as head of the Department of Economics and Finance, and Roy Patin was named to head that Department. Allen Mobley became acting head of the Department of Business Administration. Elizabeth Hudspeth retired as head of student health services (the Infirmary), and Albert Stoutamire retired from the Department of Music after 22 years at McNeese. William Groves, who had serious health problems stepped down as head of the Department of Music and was succeeded by Fred Sahlmann. Ralph Womack was named head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education, and Charles Roberts arrived on campus to head Speech, now the Department of Communications and Theater. (40)

In the College of Education, Cheryl Northam and Robert Voight in Health and Physical Education, Jerry Presly in Psychology, and Beth Wise in Curriculum and Instruction joined the faculty. Rick Lovell joined Social Sciences as coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program, and Larry Schuh became a member of the Visual Arts Department. Monique Nagem, a McNeese alumna and a part-time teacher for many years, joined Languages, and Michael Ewald and Susan Deaver were added to the Department of Music. Dan Plato, who would become a faculty member, became a visiting lecturer in the Department of Communications and Theater. (41)

Faculty members ranged far and wide in attending professional meetings. President Doland attended the Southern Regional Education Board meeting at Baltimore during the summer, and Henry Sirgo, after spending the summer at an NEH seminar at the University of California at Berkeley, attended the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association at Denver. Sirgo, Gary Freedom, Lisa Roberts, Billy Turner, and Jeff Arnold attended the Southwestern Regional Program in National Security Affairs at Texas A&M University in September. Kim Bowman went to the Southern Conference on Language Teaching at Richmond, Virginia and Charles Roberts participated in a workshop at the Eastern Communications Association meeting at Ocean City, Maryland. Alan Harms of the Library and Leo Marcello of Languages attended a New Orleans workshop on humanities programming sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries. (42)

Honors of one kind or another almost rained upon the faculty this academic year. James H. Brooks, professor of biology and rodeo team coach, became director of the Southwest Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. The Department of Environmental Sciences and Microbiology won a $113,250 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to study bacteria in drinking water, and James N. Beck and Kalil Ieyoub received a $2,030 mini-grant to continue their study of acid rain. Barbara Coatney won the Home Economics Division Award from the Louisiana Vocational Association and also received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the USL Home Economics Department. Joe Gray Taylor received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History for his work in state and regional history. Dean Jim Brown, Don Lyons, and Toffee Nassar served on the National Teacher Examination Validating Committee for the Louisiana State Department of Education, and Richard Reid became chairman of the Continuing Library Education Advisory Council of Louisiana. Judith Morgan was appointed to the Louisiana State PIPS Committee and was elected chairman of the Council of Graduate Deans of schools under the State Board of Trustees. Wilma Moore was named in Who’s Who of American Women, and she and Mary Kordisch were named to Who’s Who in the South and Southwest. Marie Weaver was named "Young Career Woman of the Year in Lake Charles," and Kim Bowman was Louisiana chairperson for the Southern Conference on Language Teaching. Charles Roberts conducted a panel at the Speech Communications Association Annual Meeting, and he was a consultant on a team devoted to strengthening the humanities at Grinnell College. President Doland was honored as "Outstanding Public Servant" for 1982 by Calcasieu Council 1207 Knights of Columbus; Thomas D. Watson became president of the Louisiana Historical Association, and Henry Sirgo received a grant from the Harry S. Truman Library for research there. (43)

Michael Ewald presented a faculty trumpet recital in September, and Allan Fuller, Susan Deaver, and Barbara Belew gave a string recital at the Scurlock galleries in Beaumont in November. Deaver, Fuller, and Fred Sahlmann gave a recital in Squires Auditorium in January. Ewald gave the public another opportunity to hear him on the trumpet at Central School auditorium in March. In October, Larry Schuh had a color lithograph in the Indiana University Traveling Show, and in November he had other works on exhibit at the Arizona State Museum. (44)

Charles Roberts and Ronald Skinner presented a paper to the Speech Communication Association at Louisville in October, and in January Roberts read a paper to the Western Speech Communication Association meeting at Albuquerque. Lisa Roberts of Social Sciences read a paper to the meeting of the Southwestern Division of the Association of American Geographers in Memphis, and Judy Shaver, Rose Duhon, and Robert Gilbert were on the program of National Teachers of Mathematics Conference in New Orleans. Jim Brown of Health and Physical Education spoke to the Shreveport Metropolitan Tennis Association Conference, and Allen Scholnick read a paper to the meeting of the American Mathematical Society on the LSU campus. Carol Wood and Cheryl Ware presented papers to the South Central Modern Language Association meeting at San Antonio, and John Vile spoke to the Louisiana Council on Social Studies. Jim Hill lectured at LSU on bronze casting, and Harry Gaventa, Judy Shaver, and Ralph Huhn appeared on the program of the American Reading Forum at Sarasota, Florida, in December. In February Lalitha Swetharanyam and Roberta Yellott spoke to the meeting of the Louisiana-Mississippi Section of the American Mathematical Society and in the same month Judy Shaver and Doris Reed read papers at the International Reading Conference at Tulsa, Oklahoma. Joe Gray Taylor participated in a symposium at Rice University that dealt with southern United States historiography since 1960, the readers all being former members of the board of editors of the Journal of Southern History. Don Elfert of Engineering read a paper to the Gulf South Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education, and LaJuana Lee spoke to the Southern Regional Meeting of the American Business Communication Association at Little Rock, Arkansas. (45)

Faculty publications continued to flourish. Before her death, Lise Pedersen had an article accepted for Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, and Daniel E. Sutherland had one article in Louisiana History, another in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Lyman Hunter of Special Education was co-author of an article in Diagnostique, the journal of the Council for Exceptional Children, and Brantley Cagle had one article in the Bulletin of the American Library Association and another in Catholic Library World. Gary Freedom published an essay in Periodical, the journal of the Council on America’s Military Past, and Cheryl Northam of Health and Physical Education published in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. Physicist James Edmonds published an essay on black holes in Physics Education, and Kirby Detraz was co-author of an essay in Resources in Education. Carol Wood published an article in Folk Harp Journal, and John Vile contributed to Modern Age. Two faculty members, Billy M. Turner and Ronald Dorris, had works published in the 1982-1983 issue of McNeese Review. (46)

Two books came out of the Department of History during the year. Carolyn DeLatte’s Lucy Audubon: A Biography told the story of the artist’s wife and her role in his work. DeLatte was honored with an autograph party by the West Feliciana Historical Society. Joe Gray Taylor published Eating, Drinking and Visiting in the South: An Informal History. Taylor was honored with an autograph party sponsored by the Calcasieu Arts and Humanities Council. Both of the volumes were brought out by LSU Press. (47)

The first play of the season was When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder, with Greg Stratton, Sandie Haynes, Brian McCarty, Tim Stiff, Lesley Emory, Carl Bergeron, Ramona Albritton, and Jack Rogers. A Contraband critic had high praise for Greg Stratton’s performance. In October the College of Liberal Arts presented three one-act plays as part of the freshman English program. The Stranger starred Connie Doland and Tara Banning. The Sandbox cast was Geralyn Mott, Mike Mayo, and Judy Nixon, and Suppressed Desires presented Lisa Bustle, Roberta Fritsche, and Mike Mayo. Before the end of the fall semester, the Bayou Players put on Aristophane’s classical comedy Lysistrata, directed by Dan Plato, with Liz Edwards in the title role, and a fine cast that included Angela Doyle, Dan O’Hanlon, DeWayne Corley, Beth Tanner, Ray Caesar, Maureen McCain, Jolene Dupnick, Lisa Trouth, Susan Chenet, Julie Richard, Danny Breaux, Ricky Plaisance, and Rick Gonzalez. In the spring the College of Liberal Arts presented The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade under the direction of Robert Cooper with Dan O’Hanlon, Hugh Brown, Brett Downer, Sarita Bruney, Lisa Trouth, L. Kyle Nearhood, Peter Still, Julia Price-Kent, Mike Sober, Rusty McCall, Roberta Fritsche, and Karla Walling. The spring production of the Bayou Players was The Diviners, with Dan O’Hanlon, DeWayne Corley, Charlotte Richardson, Joy Helms, Linda Castle, Karla Walling and Ricky Plaisance. (48)

Rehearsals for The Messiah began with registration for the chorus on October 25, with Francis Bulber scheduled to conduct this forty-third performance. Joanna Dunlap, Dale East, Susan Parker, Jeanette King, and Tim Allured were the rehearsal soloists. Honors were paid to technicians Clifford Gaither, Gustav Johnson, Mayan Miller, and Bill Dickerson for their role in the presentation. The spring musical was Working, an adaptation of Studs Terkel’s book. In the cast were Mark Cross, Carol Cassell, Pat Daughtry, Joyce Fontenot, Paul Groves, Beatrice Libic, Jonny Miller, Ricky Plaisance, Lisa Price, and Eduardo Rodriguez, some of them playing a number of roles. (49)

The stage fare offered by the Departments of Communication and Theater and Music were impressive enough that in the spring of 1983 the student body voted to assess itself one dollar per semester for the support of theater on campus. In return, students were admitted to plays at no cost by presenting identification cards. This gave a degree of stability for theater that the university had never known before. This assessment, and the student assessment for debate, contributed significantly to the Department of Communication and Theater. (50)

The new Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing exposed students to creative artists, and many of the readings that resulted were available to the student body and faculty at large. Fiction writer Francois Camoin conducted workshops and readings in October, and noted poet W. D. Snodgrass in November. Steven Kellogg, author and illustrator, was on campus in January, and Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Richard Wilbur in February. Leon Stokesbury, who would spend some time on the McNeese faculty, came in March. In addition to these, the Louisiana Chapter of the American Harp Society sponsored a recital by harpist Lynne Aspens in February. (51)

Hubert Boale’s football team won only 4 games, losing 6 and tying 1. At the end of the season, Boales asked to return to assistant coaching status, and John McCann was named head coach. Four McNeese football players - Lonnie Collin, Ronnie Landry, James Hughes, and Bill Hathaway - were named to the All-Southland Conference academic squad. Leonard Smith was named All-American for Division 1AA and was selected for the Blue-Gray Game. Smith, Carlton Brisco, and Stephen Starring were drafted for professional football. (52)

The basketball team had a 15-12 record in regular season and tied for third in the conference. Joe Dumars was All-Conference for the second year. The women’s basketball team had a 16-11 record for the regular season and placed in the conference tournament. The men’s tennis team won the conference championship, as did the women’s in softball. Ellis Guillory was called out of retirement to coach the golf team, which placed fourth in the conference. The baseball team ran into trouble and went on two years’ probation for playing a freshman who had not, it developed, graduated from high school. Two players, Ray Fontenot and Shanie Dugas, were signed by the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians, respectively. There was some bickering on the rodeo team, and Harold Aymond became its advisor and Rick Kinney its coach. The team did win the men’s team championship in competition at Temple, Texas. Finally, Coach Ralph Ward and onetime football star Jules Derouen were inducted into the McNeese Hall of Fame. (53)

Two hundred and twenty-seven students graduated in the summer of 1982, including the last two doctorates to be awarded by McNeese under the long-abandoned doctoral program. Glinda D. Young Harvey, Penelope Anise Hoke, and Debra S. Smith Pulver graduated summa cum laude. Two hundred and seventy graduates received diplomas in December, with Reba Daniel Ferrell, Peter K. Fritzenschaft, and Tammy Lyn Pickering receiving the highest honors. In the spring of 1983 there were 437 graduates, and Timothy Carl Allured, Tina Layne Demarest, Catherine E. Dickerson, Daniel Dean Friesen, Evanna Lynn Johnson, Stuart Gerard Landry, Ann Marie B.S. Mack, Melinda McFatter, Andrea Cronce Owen, and Susan Adrienne Price earned summa cum laude honors. (54)


The growth that had begun at McNeese in the fall of 1980 and that had brought the extraordinary 30 percent increase in the fall of 1981 could not go on forever, but it did continue through the fall of 1983. At the end of registration that year there were 3,006 freshmen, 1,386 sophomores, 1,032 juniors, 1,014 seniors, and 1,515 graduate students, which with early admissions and other special students made a grand total of 8,026, the first time and up to today the only time McNeese has exceeded 8,000 in enrollment. The fall of 1984 was not far behind, however, with a total of 7,981, and in the fall of 1985 McNeese had 7,824 students. Undergraduate enrollment would hold fairly near the same figures, and even increase, but as the PIPS program began to decline, and by 1987 it was far past its peak, graduate enrollment dropped steeply. Even so, throughout the 1986-1987 year, fall enrollment would continue to be only slightly below the 8,000 mark.

Administrative changes were few until the fall of 1986. Richey Novak stepped down as dean of the College of Liberal Arts in 1983, and Joe Gray Taylor replaced him. At the end of the summer semester 1986, Wilford Miles resigned as dean of the College of Business to accept a similar position at the University of Hartford. Miles was replaced by Charles Bettinger, who had been head of the Department of Business Administration. When Mrs. Norma Tornabene retired, Frances Milburn replaced her in charge of Leisure Learning Courses, and Judy Mier then became director of High School Relations. When Paul Ritter retired as Director of Facilities and Planning to become an official of Chennault Air Park after Boeing announced the opening of a plant in Lake Charles, Larry DeRouen retained his position as director of research for McNeese and also took over Ritter’s duties.

The most significant personnel change came, of course, when President Jack Doland let it be known that he was going to leave McNeese to seek a position in the Louisiana State Senate. In a remarkably quiet campaign, Academic Vice President Robert D. Hebert managed to win the support of the entire Board of Trustees, which selected him to succeed President Doland without any opposition from the McNeese campus. A search committee appointed by President-Elect Hebert named Dean Bob Hankins of the College of Sciences and two off-campus applicants as candidates for the academic vice presidency, and Hebert selected Hankins. For the first time in recent McNeese history, and perhaps for the first time in all McNeese history, there was attempted political interference with an academic appointment, but Hebert became acting president as of February 1, 1987, and Hankins took over the office of the academic vice president on February 16, 1987. After a search, Dr. Kalil Ieyoub replaced Hankins as dean of the College of Sciences.

The role of the Equal Opportunity Office on campus, headed by Dr. Rose Duhon, who bore the titles of E. E. O. officer and director of minority affairs, increased in importance as the 1980s wore on. Dr. Duhon played a major role in recruiting as all departments of the university sought to increase minority representation of the faculty and in the administration of McNeese. She was also quick to intervene in any apparent instance of discrimination against minority students. Her role in the recruitment of new faculty increased significantly as the years passed.

The office of facilities and planning had had a major role in recent years. The acquisition of Burton Coliseum in 1983 added major responsibilities. The Coliseum was renovated at a cost of more than $2,000,000, and $225,000 in equipment was added. This renovation included new restrooms, locker rooms, showers, meeting rooms, a box office, and a portable basketball floor and goals. Beginning in the fall of 1986, McNeese basketball home games were played in Burton Coliseum unless some event of higher priority had first call. Additions at Burton included an outdoor rodeo arena with seating for 1,000 people.

The major facilities to come into use since 1982 have been a centralized heating and cooling system that serves all buildings on the campus. For a time during installation, the campus looked like a First World War battlefield, but the new system has not only provided improved heating and cooling. It also has proved more economical than the system, or lack of the system, it replaced. The Business and Economic Center, though much of the construction proved shoddy, has come into full use in the last four years. New elevators have been installed in Kaufman Hall for the use of handicapped students and faculty, and the third floor addition to the Engineering, Technology, and Nursing building has been completed and put to use. Nor should renovations of the ROTC Building, the provision of new carpeting throughout Farrar Hall, and the completion of a four-stall Equine Center of the University Farm be ignored.

McNeese’s greatest problem since 1982 has been financing. The OPEC-inspired period of high oil prices in the early 1980s led to a great expansion in the petroleum business (though with little benefit to higher education). The collapse of the boom brought true "short rations" to state institutions, and McNeese was in no way immune. State appropriations amounted to slightly more than $16,000,000 in 1983-1984, but the state then recalled $323,500 of that amount. The university received only $17,500,000 in 1984-1985, and this was regarded as a lean year. But in 1985-1986, the appropriation was only $16,750,000, and the state recalled over a million of that. Then in 1986-1987, the appropriation dropped to $15,200.000 and the state recalled $1,500,000. In small part, these reductions in state funds were compensated for by increases in tuition, but only in small part. The sad truth was the future promised little better. As the 1987 session of the Louisiana legislature came to a close, it seemed obvious that no matter how small the appropriation for higher education might be, it was in deficit before it was ever approved. This made it inevitable that there would be further state-ordered reductions during the year, and department heads reduced their budgets for the 1987-1988 year by 20 percent in preparation for a poverty-stricken year.

Alumni presidents from 1983-1984 through 1986-1987 were Zeb Johnson 1983-1984, Mrs. Nancy Morris 1984-1985, Paul D. Hebert 1985-1986, and Mrs. Ann Hurley 1986-1987. The Alumni Association initiated the Outstanding Alumni Award in 1983, an award to be presented to a graduate who has distinguished himself in his profession and brought distinction to the university. In 1983 the award went to William F. (Bill) Gossett for his years of effort as director of alumni affairs. In 1984 this award went to Dr. John R. (Mickey) Royer for his long career as a plastic surgeon. No award was made in 1985, but the 1986 award went to Dr. Cecil Cyrus Vaughn, who had distinguished himself through his pioneering efforts in cardiovascular surgery and with the implantation of artificial hearts. Dr. Vaughn also received an honorary degree from McNeese in the spring of 1986.

The alumni could boast of beginning an annual Honor of Excellence Banquet each spring, at which one hundred high school juniors of Calcasieu Parish and their parents are honored on the campus. The Association acquired a computer for donor records and expanded fund-drive capabilities, expecting to enlarge its already considerable monetary contributions to the university. Last, but not least in satisfaction to active members of the Alumni Association, the mortgage on the Stream Alumni Center was retired, leaving that campus landmark clear of debt.

Winners of the Distinguished Faculty Award at McNeese from 1983-1984 through 1986-1987 were Fred Sahlmann of the Department of Music in 1984, David Tauber of Chemistry in 1985, James N. Beck of Chemistry in 1986, and Heather Kelley of Visual Arts in 1987. This award has become the greatest campus distinction that a faculty member can receive.

The Department of Chemistry and of Biology and Environmental Science have, separately and jointly, been responsible for a large number of grants to McNeese in recent years and for considerable contract research of value to the region. Hugh Turner’s work on crayfish parasitological, mentioned earlier, has been funded by the Louisiana Board of Regents and the National Science Foundation. In 1983 Robert S. Maples, Dennis Casserly, Hugh Turner, and Mike Vecchione in Biology and Environmental Science, and Jim Beck in Chemistry, received a grant of $144,371 from the U.S. Department of Commerce through the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources for an environmental assessment of coastal wildlife habitats in Calcasieu Lake. In 1984-1985, Jim Beck received $28,000 from the Louisiana State Board of Regents to measure levels of environmental radioactivity in Louisiana. Beck, H. E. Murray in Biology and Environmental Science, and others, received $300,000 from the Regents for a study to run from 1987 to 1990 of ground water in the Chicot aquifer. Victor Monsour and Dennis Casserly had a $99,270 contract from the Environmental Protection Agency in 1983 to study the Lake Charles drinking water, and H. E. Murray later received a similar $10,000 contract from the Greater Lake Charles Water Company. Keith Stolzle was granted $10,000 in 1983 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the tinting properties of cotton fabrics. All these and some smaller grants were in addition to the CALECO Project referred to previously and the Shearman grants dealt with below.

The Department of Psychology of the College of Education twenty years ago was really a department of educational psychology. That situation has been gradually corrected, and today educational psychology is merely one of the specialties represented on the psychology faculty. In 1985 Jerry Whiteman of the department received national publicity when he developed a commercial psychology game known as Personality Probe. In the same year Jess Feist published a textbook entitled Theories of Personality, and Feist and Linda Brannon published Health Psychology: An Introduction to Behavior and Health in the fall of 1987.

The Department of Agriculture, which had established the John Geddings Gray Chair of Animal Science in 1982, announced that the McNeese-FFA Invitational Judging Contest, held for many years but much enlarged, boasted an annual attendance of up to 1,000 high school students. Then in 1983 the Department began its sponsorship of the McNeese Classic Livestock Show at Burton Coliseum. This Labor Day stock exhibit and contest, held at Burton Coliseum, is open to Future Farmers of America and 4-H Club members, and in 1986 more than 800 animals were exhibited.

George Meade became chairman of the Department of Mathematics in 1983, and in that same year McNeese undergraduates began to compete in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) contest. The name of the department was changed to Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics in 1985, a name that more adequately described its function. In 1985 two visiting speakers held seminars, Dr. Merrick Furst from Carnegie Mellon Institute and D. Joseph Liang from the University of South Florida. In 1985-1986 Dr. James Rogers of Tulane and Dr. Bruce Rodda from Merck Sharp Laboratories provided seminars. It must be noted, also, that members of the department produced a textbook, Introductory Algebra, which was published in 1985. This text is copyrighted in the name of McNeese State University, and all proceeds from the book go to the university.

McNeese had had a mini-grant program to help fund faculty research for more than a decade, but a great advance came in 1985. At that time the Burton Estate provided $50,000, renewable annually, to be used primarily for computer software for instructional and research purposes. Since there were many departments on campus that had no computer hardware, some of this money was spent to provide mini-computers and printers as well as software for such departments. This program was of special benefit to the College of Business in its attempt to achieve accreditation, but practically every department on campus has benefited to a greater or lesser degree.

Of not less significance was a gift of an equal amount, also renewable year by year, by the Shearman family of Lake Charles, and known as the Shearman Research Initiative Fund. The money given by the Shearman's was used as direct grants to faculty members to encourage research on their part. Grants were evaluated by a faculty committee. In 1985 grants went to James N. Beck and Gerald J. Ramelow of the Department of Chemistry; H. Edward Murray, James Felley, Gary R. Gaston, Edward P. Meyertholen, E. Davis Parker, Mark L. Wygoda, and Bruce Wyman of the Department of Biological and Environmental Science; Dallas Brozik, Andrew W. Foshee, Michael M. Kurth, Douglas W. McNiel, Roy P. Patin, and Nicola Vulkovic of the Department of Economics and Finance; Gary Jackson, Clyde E. Newmiller, Lonnie Phelps, and Shane R. Premeaux of the Department of Management and Marketing; and Dean Wilford Miles of the College of Business. In 1986 they went to James N. Beck of the Department of Chemistry; Cynthia Bettinger and Benjamin Zachary of the Department of Accounting; Virgil Boaz, Department of Chemical and Electrical Engineering; Ruth E. Brewer of the College of Nursing; Carolyn E. DeLatte and Thomas Fox of the Department of History; Andrew W. Foshee and Douglas W. McNiel of the Department of Economics and Finance; Gary S. Freedom, Pamela J. Jenkins, Henry Sirgo, and John Vile of the Department of Social Sciences; Bill Iles of the Department of Visual Arts; Robert Jordahl of the Department of Music; Susan Kelso of the Department of Communications and Theatre; Edward P. Meyertholen, E. Davis Parker, Jr., and Mark L. Wygoda of Biological and Environmental Sciences; Shane Premeaux of Management and Marketing; and Beth Wise of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. The results of this encouragement of research are already beginning to appear, and they are most gratifying.

A primary mission of McNeese since it was a junior college has been to serve as a cultural center for Southwest Louisiana, and the university continues to serve that function to the best of its ability. Taking into account the financial restrictions of recent years, the mission has been accomplished with astounding success. Almost from the very beginning the Department of Music, under the leadership most of the time of Francis Bulber, has provided outstanding leadership. Since Dean Bulber’s retirement, William Groves and Fred Sahlmann have continued along the path he laid out. The annual performance of the Messiah, faculty recitals, and the participation of faculty and students are examples merely of the most obvious contributions. Wear and tear on equipment which cannot be replaced under current circumstances becomes a greater problem every year, but so far it has not affected the quality of the department’s work.

The drama section of the Department of Communications and Theater has made important cultural contributions since junior college days. Mrs. Marjorie Reynolds and Dr. Maurice Pullig gave strong leadership. Since 1980, however, under the overall leadership of Dr. Charles Roberts and with additional resources provided by the university administration and an assessment upon students voted by the student body, there has been a great increase in theatrical activity, with at least four productions (some of them musicals offered with the cooperation of the Music Department) each year. It is not feasible to mention all performances, but in the spring of 1987 Cabaret and The Merry Widow were highly praised. Strictly speaking, The Merry Widow was a presentation of the Lake Charles Civic Symphony, but both it and Cabaret were directed by Michele Martin of the McNeese Department of Music, and a number of leading roles and most of the lesser roles were performed by the McNeese faculty and students.

McNeese football teams under Coach John McCann were not notably successful from 1983 through 1986, and at the end of the 1986 season McCann resigned his position as head football coach. He was replaced by William H. (Sonny) Jackson, formerly of Nicholls State University. Of the old football coaching staff, only Hubert Boales and Tommy Tate remained. Jackson brought Denzil R. Cox and Kenneth P. Guillot with him to function as his assistants at McNeese.

In 1986-1987, scandal again rocked the McNeese basketball program. After newspaper publicity, an investigation by the University Athletic Committee, and an investigation by the Southland Conference, the basketball program was put on two years’ probation and all members of the basketball coaching staff were prohibited from recruiting for two years. This obviously necessitated the employment of a new coaching staff, and Steven C. Welch became the new head basketball coach in the fall of 1987.

There were strong developments in athletics after 1982. Buford Jordan was selected as a football All-American in 1983 and went on to a professional football career. Also, two former McNeese stars participated in the 1986 Super Bowl, Stephan Starring playing for the New England Patriots and Keith Ortego for the Chicago Bears. In basketball in 1985 Joe Dumars was named as All-American and was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the professional draft. Dumars’s number, 4, was retired. Dumars won national acclaim in the 1987 National Basketball Association playoff. In 1986 McNeese participated in its first National Invitational Tournament in basketball, and McNeese’s All-American of the 1950s, Bill Reigel, was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, the first McNeese athlete to be so honored.

Two hundred and twenty-five students graduated in the summer of 1983, and none of them achieved summa cum laude status. In the fall of 1983 there were 283 graduates, and Ellen Estelle Benoit, Deanne Hill Abshire, and Dianne F. Shelton won highest honors. In the spring of 1984 there were 455 graduates, and an astounding fifteen of them were summa cum laude. The fifteen were Mary S. Cagle, Virginia Carmouche, Marie Hajduk Dorry, Peggy Jane A. Gary, John Kent Granger, Gregory Paul Hebert, E. Carleen Mahaffey, Debra V. McNally, Lisa R. Monticello, Anne E. Pollet, John Bartels Pope, Carolyn M. Puricelli, Susan Anne Savant, Jane M. Whitfield, and Phyllis Marie Young.

Two hundred and eighty-eight students graduated in the summer of 1984, and in the fall there were 323 who received diplomas. In the fall ceremony, Karen Lee M. Calcote, Sharon Gale Burns, Suzanne Dent, and Lynnette T. Walker won summa cum laude distinction. In the spring of 1985, 532 students, the largest graduation class in McNeese history, received diplomas. Those winning highest honors were Julie Agnes Biachoff, Richard Evans Casey, Timothy Courville, Lisa Anne Dronette, Stephen C. Prudhomme, Karen L. Ryson-Cooley, and Julie Emma Withers. In 1985-1986 there was a total of 1,032 graduates, 111 fewer than the previous academic year, 203 in the summer, 333 in the fall, and 496 in the spring. Karen S. Batchelor won highest honors in the summer, Darlene M. Kennison and Lori Lane Vaughn in the fall. Summa cum laude graduates in the spring were Shannon R. Bergeron, Richard Martin Bobo, Darlene Gay Hebert, Marie Therese Janise, Barbara R. Monroe, Deborah N. Weeks, and Edmond Joseph Welsh.

No one can predict the future, and as of early 1987 the future of McNeese State University is especially obscure. The university has taken most of the steps it can take toward growth of the student body and growth in the quality of education provided. Especially is this true of faculty. The university faculty now is of high quality, and it includes some distinguished teachers and scholars. More important, it includes numerous young men and women who will soon be distinguished teachers and scholars. An atmosphere appropriate to a true university has been created; all that is needed is encouragement.

Obviously there are still weaknesses. One definite and obvious weakness, shared with too many other colleges and universities since the 1960s, is an intolerable degree of grade inflation. This is not university-wide, but it definitely exists in a number of departments. Nor does it appear that any significant effort is being made to correct this condition. Some faculty and administrators appear not to realize how discrediting to the university is a semester honor roll taking up columns of fine print in the local newspaper which includes the names of well over one-fourth of the undergraduates enrolled.

In the final analysis, however, the quality of McNeese’s future depends upon the people of Louisiana their elected representatives. The university cannot continue to barely hold on, eliminating the purchase of books for the library, putting off essential maintenance, and losing its better faculty to universities in other states that manage to pay adequate salaries. The real question is whether the people of Louisiana in general and of Southwest Louisiana in particular really want a quality university at Lake Charles. If they do, the necessary support will be provided. That this should be done seems obvious. That it will be done is much more doubtful. Louisiana has not yet in its history demonstrated any real concern with quality education other than at election time. Perhaps the future will be different.



The student government was at first called a Student Senate, and consisted of separate chambers for men and women. By 1942-1943, if not earlier, the practice was for men and women to alternate semesters as chairpersons of the Senate when both chambers met together. By 1944-1945 there was a unicameral government called a Student Council, headed by a President, and this terminology was in effect until the constitution adopted in April 1957 reintroduced a Senate, chaired by a President of the Student Government, as the principal governing body. The use of the present designation, Student Government Association (SGA), appears to have come in with the revision of the student constitution in 1966. The Student Union Board (SUB), largely concerned with bringing entertainment to campus, was created in 1967-1968. (1) The following list is complete only from 1944-1945 on; before then, there may have been some one-semester Senate chairpersons whose activity escaped notice. Up until fall 1951, the chair or president was chosen in the fall term of the academic year in which he or she actually served. Beginning in May 1951 presidents were elected in the spring to begin serving in the fall. Whenever there are two presidents in one year, it is because of graduation or resignation of the fall president at the end of that semester.

The LaBelle contest evolved from the beauties pictured in the early yearbook, who at first chosen from photographs by outside celebrities such as Governor Jimmie Davis, John Robert Powers, and Gregory Peck. The title "LaBelle" first appears in 1952. The early favorites were simply designated "Beauties" in the Log, while from 1948-1951, inclusively, the title was "Miss McNeese." Beginning in 1975, the LaBelle competition has been a preliminary for the Miss Louisiana and Miss USA contests; before that it was only a campus affair. LaBelle is elected in the spring term by the student body, from candidates put forth by student organizations. In earlier years, one or two summer Contrabands were issued; their editors are not listed here. Each Log is dated by the second half of its academic year, e.g., the 1988 Log covers the academic year 1987-1988, and its editor(s) are listed with that academic year below. No Log was published in the years 1942-1944; during the war, Contraband issues for each year were bound together to form that year’s Log.

The Reserve Officers Training Corps at McNeese grew out of a voluntary drill team which was formed in spring semester 1942. The official ROTC program began in fall 1942. The student unit was initially a company and its commander a cadet captain. Beginning fall 1947, the unit was a battalion with a cadet lieutenant colonel as commander. In fall 1968 the unit became a battle group, and in fall 1962 a brigade, in each case commanded by a cadet colonel. After ROTC became non-compulsory in fall 1969, dwindling enrollment brought reduction down to a nominal battalion from fall 1973 onward, and the cadet commander has usually had lieutenant colonel rank since then. Sometimes, as in the case of student body presidents, corps commanders changed at mid-year due to graduation or resignation of the fall commander.

The Alumni Association was founded in 1947. Each fall at homecoming the alumni choose a president-elect who acts as homecoming chairman for the following year, whereupon he or she then becomes president and serves in that job for the next year. The alumni presidents are listed in the year of the homecoming during which their terms as presidents began. (2)

Student Body President: Clyde Ripley.
LaBelle: The Log pictures some unnamed men and women "Favorites" this year.
Homecoming Queen: None.
Editor: G. W. Ford.
Editor: Burnell Pinder (3).
ROTC Corps Commander: None.
Alumni Association President: None.

Student Body President: Warren Hinchee.
LaBelle: The Log designates no beauties or favorites this year.
Homecoming Queen: None.
Editor: Orville Emmett
Log Editor: Martha Caldwell.
ROTC Corps Commander: None.
Alumni Association President: None.

Student Body President: Horace Lyons.
LaBelle: No Log published.
Homecoming Queen: None.
Editor: Tommy Ford and Robert Lemoine, co-editors.
Editor: No Log published.
ROTC Corps Commander: Glenn Allgood was commander of the informal drill company. (4)
Alumni Association President: None.

Student Body President: (Miss) Marion North (fall semester).
LaBelle: No Log published.
Homecoming Queen: None.
Editor: Juanita Greene and Gene Dietz.
Editor: No Log published.
ROTC Corps Commander: George Kenneth Barrett. (5)
Alumni Association President: None.

Student Body President: Gloria Miner (spring semester).
LaBelle: No Log published.
Homecoming Queen: None.
Editor: Jean Goforth, Melda Faye Dietz, Nancy Schindler.
Editor: No Log published.
ROTC Corps Commander: H. P. Hebert. (6)
Alumni Association President: None.

Student Body President: Jodie White, Jr.
LaBelle: The five principal beauties in the Log were Mary Frances Dimmick, Sydney Ryan, Juanita Dark, Carol Blair, and Mary Jo Farr.
Homecoming Queen: None.
Contraband Editor: Pat Ford.
Log Editor: Eva Cox.
ROTC Corps Commander: Patrick L. Ford. (7)
Alumni Association President: None.

Student Body President: Bill Traylor.
LaBelle: The four principal beauties in the Log were Lucille Farquhar, Betty Dixon, Jane White, and Mrs. Eldride Mitchell.
Homecoming Queen: Adrienne Managan.
Editor: Marilyn Managan.
Editor: W. J. Frusha and Betty Shea.
ROTC Corps Commander: Patrick L. Ford (fall); Dudley Doiron (spring). (8)
Alumni Association President: None.

Student Body President: Bill Alexander.
LaBelle: The Log beauties were Mary Elise Addison , Elsie Turnage, Dolores Daspit, and Betty Jane Moseley.
Homecoming Queen: Elizabeth Stark.
Editor: Patsy Heidt.
Log Editor: Fred R. Moore.
ROTC Corps Commander: Seaman Mayo. (9)
Alumni Association President: None.

Student Body President: Bert Talbot.
LaBelle: Theresa Vidrine, "Miss McNeese."
Homecoming Queen: Barbara Helms.
Editor: Bob Hennigan (fall); Fred Horne (spring); Pasty Bertrand edited the last spring issue.
Editor: C. C. Faust, III.
ROTC Corps Commander: M. William Talbot.
Alumni Association President: Robert Wheeler.

Student Body President: Allen Commander.
LaBelle: Sylvia Delord, "Miss McNeese."
Homecoming Queen: Beatrice Teer.
Contraband Editor: Pat Bertrand through Nov. 24; Charles Force thereafter.
Log Editor: Betty Bruce.
ROTC Corps Commander: Percy Clark.
Alumni Association President: James St. Dizier.

Student Body President: Gilbert Manuel.
LaBelle: Patricia Clay, "Miss McNeese."
Homecoming Queen: Jennie Lee Bruno.
Editor: Sherrill Milner.
Editor: Gilbert Manuel.
ROTC Corps Commander: Ernest Lambert (fall); Gilbert Manuel (spring). (10)
Alumni Association President: Robert Miller.

Student Body President: Allen Commander.
LaBelle: Leumel Dore, "Miss McNeese."
Homecoming Queen: Rose Richey.
Editor: Sherrill Milner.
Editor: Joel Kelly.
ROTC Corps Commander: Allen Commander.
Alumni Association President: Ernest Schindler.

Student Body President: Allen Commander.
LaBelle: Jackie Hoffpauir.
Homecoming Queen: Geraldine Christ.
Editor: Gene Booth (fall); William Buck (spring).
Editor: Dorothy Akins.
ROTC Corps Commander: Donald L. Williams.
Alumni Association President: Horace Lyons.

Student Body President: Jimmy Whitehead (fall); Gerald Bishop (spring).
LaBelle: Donna Merchant.
Homecoming Queen: Vernie Miller.
Editor: Davey Hebert (fall); Fred Thomas (spring).
Editor: Dwayne Milner.
ROTC Corps Commander: William Clarke.
Alumni Association President: Frank Salter, Jr.

Student Body President: Gene Booth.
LaBelle: Annette Landry.
Homecoming Queen: Ida Mae Bouquet.
Editor: Carolyn Pulliam.
Editor: Dwayne Milner.
ROTC Corps Commander: Nelson Thomas.
Alumni Association President: Gerald Sinitiere.

Student Body President: M. K. Woolbert.
LaBelle: Frances Thompson.
Homecoming Queen: Alma Marie Rostrum.
Editor: Merlene Mertena; she became Merlene Mertena Trahan in March and Charlotte Doane became editor.
Editor: Dwayne Milner.
ROTC Corps Commander: William Campbell (fall); Charles Thomason (spring).
Alumni Association President: John Eckhardt.

Student Body President: Roy Price (fall); Anthony (Buck) Fulco (spring).
LaBelle: Sara Newman.
Homecoming Queen: Jo Ann Medrano.
Editor: Emogene Lanier.
Editor: Lary W. Padgett.
ROTC Corps Commander: Larry Guillory.
Alumni Association President: Jimmy Whitehead.

Student Body President: Keith Lyons.
LaBelle: Rebecca Ashburn.
Homecoming Queen: Sara Newman Meadows.
Editor: Leneta Doucet.
Editor: Clarence (Bubba) Monismith and J. B. Smith, Jr., co-editors.
ROTC Corps Commander: Kenneth Jackson.
Alumni Association President: Lloyd Jones.

Student Body President: Stanley J. Chelchowski (fall); Kalil Ieyoub (spring).
LaBelle: Peggy Addison.
Homecoming Queen: Jacqueline Bouquet.
Editor: Charlotte Clarke.
Editor: J. B. Smith, II.
ROTC Corps Commander: Charles Borel (fall); Larry Derouen (spring).
Alumni Association President: Calvin Billings.

Student Body President: Fred Nodier (fall); Julie Christ (spring).
LaBelle: Frances Domingues.
Homecoming Queen: Peggy Addison.
Editor: Rex O. Miller, Jr.
Editor: J.B. Smith, II.
ROTC Corps Commander: Nathan J. Myers.
Alumni Association President: Freddie LeBlanc.

Student Body President: Frank Sadler (fall); Harold Guillory (spring).
LaBelle: Kathy Gordy.
Homecoming Queen: Dena Christ.
Editor: Robert Houston; C. H. Seiber from Dec. 8 on.
Editor: George Mitchell, editor: J. B. Smith, editor emeritus.
ROTC Corps Commander: Leonard Chisholm (fall); Bobby Wayne Smith (spring).
Alumni Association President: Alfred E. Flores.

Student Body President: Louis (Butch) Hobbie.
LaBelle: Suzanne Fuller.
Homecoming Queen: Anne Pellerin.
Editor: C. H. Seiber; Rochelle Kristal from 2 Dec. on; Tony Darby for the last spring issue.
Editor: George W. Hurlbut.
ROTC Corps Commander: Peter Crawford (fall); Norman Beadle (spring).
Alumni Association President: Fred Godwin.

Student Body President: C. H. Seiber.
LaBelle: Mary Ashburn.
Homecoming Queen: Suzanne Fuller.
Editor: Linda Mixon.
Editor: Glenn Vincent.
ROTC Corps Commander: Reginald Fontenot.
Alumni Association President: William T. Clarke.

Student Body President: Donald C. Cornett.
LaBelle: Abi Heasley.
Homecoming Queen: Rochelle Kristal.
Editor: Tillie Coffey.
Editor: Howard Melton.
ROTC Corps Commander: Donald C. Cornett.
Alumni Association President: Lloyd Hennigan.

Student Body President: William H. Ledbetter.
LaBelle: Nannette Benoit.
Homecoming Queen: Diane Primeaux.
Editor: Ronald Walker.
Editor: Carl H. McPherson.
ROTC Corps Commander: Perry B. Dennis, III.
Alumni Association President: Al Newlin, II.

Student Body President: Lee J. Monlezun.
LaBelle: Jill Methvin.
Homecoming Queen: Nannette Benoit.
Editor: Tillie Coffey (fall); Richard Kucner (spring).
Editor: Michael W. Neely.
ROTC Corps Commander: Robert Landry.
Alumni Association President: Max Jones.

Student Body President: Charles Poe.
LaBelle: Laura Faye Daigle.
Homecoming Queen: Becky Simpson.
Editor: Richard Kucner.
Editor: Michael W. Neely.
ROTC Corps Commander: Charles R. Davies.
Alumni Association President: William F. Gossett.

Student Body President: John LaVern.
LaBelle: Sheryl LeBleu.
Homecoming Queen: Linda Kaye Smith.
Editor: Jim Stacy.
Editor: Kaye Smith.
ROTC Corps Commander: Timothy A. DeRouen.
Alumni Association President: Larry A Roach.

Student Body President: Jim Hopkins.
LaBelle: Laura Faye Daigle.
Homecoming Queen: Melissa Stewart.
Editor: Jim Stacy.
Editor: David Spell.
ROTC Corps Commander: William Mitchell.
Alumni Association President: Daniel Ieyoub.

Student Body President: Wesley (Wes) Shinn.
LaBelle: Sara Beth Head.
Homecoming Queen: Laura Faye Daigle.
Editor: Jim Stacy.
Editor: David Spell.
ROTC Corps Commander: James Fruge.
Alumni Association President: Bobby Gauthreaux.

Student Body President: Clarke Borges.
LaBelle: Willie Landry.
Homecoming Queen: Cathy Abelson.
Editor: Paul Martin; Randy Soileau April 6-May 8; Paul Martin for the last spring issue.
Editor: Cathy Abelson.
ROTC Corps Commander: Donald Rivers.
Alumni Association President: Leland Parra.

Student Body President: Ben Mount.
LaBelle: Cindi Dyer.
Homecoming Queen: Willie Landry.
Editor: Bill Pardue.
Editor: Malcolm Landry.
ROTC Corps Commander: Howard Duhon.
Alumni Association President: William Fontenot.

Student Body President: E. R. (Buddy) Bouquet.
LaBelle: Theresa Walker.
Homecoming Queen: Cindi Dyer.
Editor: Bill Pardue.
Editor: David Cook.
ROTC Corps Commander: Thomas A. Glatt.
Alumni Association President: Gene Booth.

Student Body President: Robert (Robbie) Guillory.
LaBelle: Janie Stine.
Homecoming Queen: Lana Brunet.
Editor: Kirk Warner was "editorial supervisor" until Nov. 10, after which Rose Ann Wilson was editor.
Editor: Donna Guidry.
ROTC Corps Commander: Carl J. David.
Alumni Association President: Fred Nodier.

Student Body President: Whitney Harris (fall); Robert Landers (spring).
LaBelle: Marcia Miller.
Homecoming Queen: Rosanna Armand.
Editor: Smitty Midkiff through Dec. 7; David McCain thereafter.
Editor: Donna Guidry Little.
ROTC Corps Commander: Joe Gray Taylor, Jr.
Alumni Association President: Charles (Chuck) Bellon.

Student Body President: David Dickens.
LaBelle: Diane Campbell.
Homecoming Queen: Marcia Miller.
Editor: David McCain.
Editor: Rick Bailey.
ROTC Corps Commander: Stephen Paul Peterson.
Alumni Association President: Charles Goen.

Student Body President: Joyce Patterson.
LaBelle: Nanette Knight.
Homecoming Queen: Paula Shipp.
Editor: Ann Murchison.
Editor: Mary Stewart New.
ROTC Corps Commander: Charles S. New.
Alumni Association President: D. C. Green.

Student Body President: Bennett R. (Benny) Lapoint.
LaBelle: Amy Rentrop.
Homecoming Queen: Pat Flavin.
Editor: Ann Murchison.
Editor: Bryan Kidder.
ROTC Corps Commander: Jane Christy (fall); Philip Conway (spring).
Alumni Association President: Pat Quirk.

1977- 1978
Student Body President: Shannon Turner.
LaBelle: No pageant was held this year.
Homecoming Queen: Dianne Small.
Editor: Kevin Troutman.
Editor: Bryan Kidder.
ROTC Corps Commander: Chirley McLaurin (fall); Darrell D. Miller (spring).
Alumni Association President: Roy (Toddy) Moore.

Student Body President: David O’Bryan.
LaBelle: Lisa Midkiff.
Homecoming Queen: Janet Crowe.
Editor: Kevin Troutman.
Editor: Donna M. Vincent.
ROTC Corps Commander: Leslie G. Martin.
Alumni Association President: Richard Guillory.

1979- 1980
Student Body President: Steve Jordan.
LaBelle: Maureen Farrar.
Homecoming Queen: Jan Mitchell.
Editor: Jan Morgan (fall); Cindy Oliver (spring).
Editor: Angelle B. Rion.
ROTC Corps Commander: Patrick A. Stallings.
Alumni Association President: H. Gayle Marshall.

1980- 1981
Student Body President: Janet Austin.
LaBelle: Laura Calloway.
Homecoming Queen: Esther Schmid.
Editor: Jan Morgan.
Editor: Pam Cotham.
ROTC Corps Commander: Gary Lee Floyd.
Alumni Association President: Dick Miller.

Student Body President: John Chenet.
LaBelle: Vanessa Benham.
Homecoming Queen: Pam Moreau.
Editor: Kathryn Kingery.
Editor: Carl W. Smith.
ROTC Corps Commander: Glenda Guillory.
Alumni Association President: Anthony Zaunbrecher.

1982- 1983
Student Body President: James Hartley.
LaBelle: Phyllis Porter.
Homecoming Queen: Lori Sutton.
Editor: Etta Smith.
Editor: Sandra Kelley.
ROTC Crops Commander: Gerald Thacker.
Alumni Association President: Dr. Lee J. Monlezun, Jr.

1983- 1984
Student Body President: James Hartley.
LaBelle: Jackie Ewing.
Homecoming Queen: Laura Welsh.
Editor: Marsha Montgomery.
Editor: Becky McMillin.
ROTC Corps Commander: Paul J. Gautreaux.
Alumni Association President: Zeb Johnson.

Student Body President; David Green.
LaBelle: Vickie Myers.
Homecoming Queen: Sandra Lee Canik.
Editor: Etta Smith.
Editor: Rickie Rozas.
ROTC Corps Commander: Melton Dwayne O’Brien.
Alumni Association President: Nancy Morris.

1985- 1986
Student Body President: E. J. Alexander.
LaBelle: Sherry Guidry.
Homecoming Queen: Phyllis Porter.
Editor: Brett Downer.
Editor: Mike Duhon.
ROTC Corps Commander: Mark Stephen Hanchey.
Alumni Association President: Paul Hebert.

1986- 1987
Student Body President: E. J. Alexander.
LaBelle: Carol Hebert.
Homecoming Queen: Cindy McCullough.
Editor: Pam Breaux.
Editor: Wilber Abshire.
ROTC Corps Commander: Martin G. DeRouen.
Alumni Association President: Ann Hurley.

1987- 1988
Student Body President: Doug Stewart.
LaBelle: Kelley Lovett.
Homecoming Queen: Pam Benoit.
Editor: Pam Breaux (fall); Brett Downer (spring).
Editor: Lauron Sonnier.
ROTC Corps Commander: David C. Berg.
Alumni Association President: Norman Robinson.

1988- 1989
Student Body President: Missy Young.
LaBelle: Stacy Smith.
Homecoming Queen: Karen Karkalits.
Editor: Fran Dickey.
Editor: Pam Spees.
ROTC Corps Commander: Stephen L. Hardy.
Alumni Association President: Dennis Donald.


(1)    Contraband, September 30, 1941, September 30, 1942, January 22, 1943, October 8, 1943, May 6, 1944, January 7, 1966; Log 1945
        (not paginated), 1957, p. 139, 1968, p. 88; Corral, Handbook for Students, McNeese State University, 1957-58, p. 26, and 1966-67,
        pp. 33-46.

(2)    These lists have been compiled primarily from the scrapbooks in the university archives, from the Contraband and Log, and from scrapbooks
        in the Department of Military Science. The Office of Media Services, Alumni Office, Registrar, and Dean of Student Services also cooperated in
         verifying the information. The Log, it should be noted, is not always a complete record of the year’s officers. It often neglects mid-year changes
         in student body presidents, Contraband editors, and ROTC student commanders, and in some years gives no information at all on one or
         another student activity.

(3)    Contraband, December 1, 1939.

(4)    Contraband, March 17, May 28, 1942.

(5)    Contraband, November 13, 1942. Barrett was cadet captain; on February 19 and April 6, 1943, the Contraband also mentions as captains:
         Gedge Gayle, Morys Hines, William Coleman, and William Plauche.

(6)    Contraband, November 26, 1943.

(7)    Lake Charles American Press, October 6, 1945, says Ford was commander "last year."

(8)    Log, 1946; Scrapbook, 1944 -1947, October 6, 1945, March 19, 1946.

(9)    Contraband, November 20, 1946.

(10)    Contraband, October 14, 1949, April 19, 1950.





(1)  At least one account says that Dr. Stafford lived on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.




(1)           Lake Charles Daily Press, Special Edition, 1885: cited in Lake Charles American Press, October 25, 1964.

(2)           Lake Charles American, September 5, 1888:  cited in Lake Charles American Press, October 25, 1964.

(3)           Rodney Cline, Pioneer Leaders and Early Institutions in Louisiana Education (Baton Rouge:  Claitor’s Publishing Division, 1969), 286-87.

(4)           John McNeese Junior College Contraband, September 30, 1941.  Cited hereafter as Contraband, with date.

(5)            Lake Charles American Press, January-February, 1938, passim.

(6)        Catalogue, Northeast Louisiana University, 1985-1986.

(7)             Lake Charles American Press, September 27, October 12, 13, 1938.

(8)          Ibid., March 3-15, August 26, 1938.

(9)             Lake Charles American Press, April 1, 1940, May 2, 1954; Contraband, September 30, 1941.

(10)     Lake Charles American Press, June 8, 17, 23, 24, 29, July 7, 1938.

(11)     Ibid., October 25, 1964.

(12)     Contraband, September 30, 1941; Lake Charles American Press, October 25, 1964.

(13)     Lake Charles American Press, October 18, December 14, 22, 1938, April 1, 1940, January 8, 20, 1941.

(14)     Ibid., May 30, 1939, March 29, 1940, October 25, 1964; Marietta M. LeBreton, Northwestern State University of Louisiana,
     1884-1984: A History
(Natchitoches: Northwestern State University Press, 1985), 193-194; personal reminiscence of Dolive Benoit.

(15)     The 1940 Log, a yearbook issued by the students of the Lake Charles Junior College of the Louisiana State University, Lake Charles,
     Louisiana. Cited hereafter as Log with year.

(16)     Ibid., personal reminiscence of Dolive Benoit; Scrapbook, John McNeese Junior College, 1939-1940, in the Archives, McNeese State
     University.  The scrapbooks in the University Archives consist of extensive clippings from regional newspapers, and are cited hereafter as
     Scrapbook, with appropriate dates.  In most cases the newspaper is the Lake Charles American Press.

(17)     Catalogue, I, 1939-1940, Lake Charles Junior College, Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Cited hereafter only with vol. number and date.

(18)     Lake Charles American Press, March 29, 1940; Catalogue, II, 1940-1941.

(19)     Contraband, October 10, 1941; Log, 1941; Lake Charles American Press, January 15, 1941, October 25, 1964; Scrapbook,
     1940-1947, December 10, 1941.

(20)     Catalogue, II, 1940-1941.

(21)     Lake Charles American Press, 1940:  cited in Lake Charles American Press, May 2, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, January 17, 1941.

(22)     Lake Charles American Press, February 28, March 13, May 16, 20, 1941; Contraband, October 10, 1941; personal reminiscence of
     Dolive Benoit.

(23)     Edwin Knapp, “The Messiah Comes to Lake Charles,” McNeese Review, II (Spring, 1949), 25-30.  

(24)     Lake Charles American Press, April 23, 1941.




(1)               Contraband, May 4, 1954.

(2)               Catalogue, II, 1940-1941, III 1941-1942; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, February 6, 1942.

(3)               Interview with Philip D. Uzee, March 20, 1986.

(4)               Catalogue, II, 1940-1941, III, 1941-1942; Contraband, January 30, February 16, 1942; Lake Charles American Press, April 21, 1942.

(5)               Contraband, January 30, March 12-26, 1942.

(6)               Contraband, January 30, February 16, March 17, April 1, 1942; Scrapbook, 1941-1947.

(7)               Lake Charles American Press, January 9, 16, February  25, 1942; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, January 9, February 24, 26, March 3, 17, 1942.

(8)               Lake Charles American Press, February 7, 1942; Contraband, February 16, March 17, April 1, 1942; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, January 1, February 14, February 24, 26, March 3, June, July 14, passim, 1942.

(9)               Scrapbook, 1941-1947, April 7, May 12, 1942; Contraband, May 12, 1942; Lake Charles American Press, April 8, 1942. 

(10)           Contraband, January 30, 1942; Lake Charles American Press, May 30, 1942; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, April 28, May 26, 1942.

(11)           Lake Charles American Press, August 29, September 7, 15, November 4, December 31, 1942; Catalogue, IV, 1943-1944; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, 1942 passim.

(12)           Contraband, November 13, 1942; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, January 9, February 20, 1943.

(13)           Lake Charles American Press, July 15, 1942.

(14)           Ibid.,  November 9, 1942; Contraband, October 19, 1942; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, August 6, October 1, 31, 1942.

(15)           Contraband, October 19, 1942.

(16)           Ibid.,  November 25, 1942, April 22, 1943; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, September 7, 1942, December 12, 1942; February 17, 26, April 22, 27, 1943.

(17)           Contraband, January 8, 1943; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, January 23, February 17, 20, March 3, 1943.

(18)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, January 20, June 15, 1943; Contraband, January 28,  April 6, 1943, January 14, 28, 1944;  Lake Charles American Press, January 20, April 1, 1943.

(19)           Lake Charles American Press, May 22, 1943; Contraband, May 14, 1943; Scrapbook 1941-1947, May 27, 1943.

(20)           Contraband, August 6, 1943; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, June-July, 1943; Lake Charles American Press, May 27, 1943.

(21)           Lake Charles American Press, July 14, 19, 26, 27, 1943; Catalogue, IV, Fall, 1944.

(22)           Lake Charles American Press, August 13, 1941, September 13, 1943; Catalogue, IV, 1943-1944; Contraband, October 8, December 15, 1943; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, September 13, October 5, 1943.

(23)           Lake Charles American Press, September 3, 1943.

(24)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, undated.

(25)           Ibid.,  January 10, 25, February 4, March 18, 29, 30, 1944; Contraband, December 15, 1943; Knapp, “The Messiah Comes to Lake Charles,” 28-29.

(26)           Lake Charles American Press, April 4, 1944; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, June 7, 12, 1944; personal reminiscence of Dolive Benoit.

(27)           Lake Charles American Press, December 2, 1944; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, October 20, November 18, 24, 1944.

(28)           Lake Charles American Press, November 25, 1944; Scrapbook 1941-1947, November 25, 1944, February 13, 1945.

(29)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, August 15, November 21, 30, 1944.

(30)           Ibid.,  December 1944-May, 1945.

(31)           Ibid.,  January 6, February 14, March 7, 22, 1945, passim.

(32)           Ibid.,  December, 1944 -February, 1945; Lake Charles American Press, August 28, 1944.

(33)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, 1944-1945.

(34)           Ibid., May 18, 1945.




(1)               Scrapbook, 1944-1947, July 19, 1945; telephone conversation with Mrs. Dorothy Rolufs, April 29, 1986.

(2)               Ibid.,  July 18, August 16, 1945; Lake Charles American Press, October 25, 1964.

(3)               Enrollment Chart, provided by Ms. Linda Finley, Registrar, McNeese State University; Lake Charles American Press, September 7, 1945; conversation with Jack Doland, president of McNeese State University, April 28, 1986.

(4)               Catalogue, VII, 1944-1945; Lake Charles American Press, August 1, September 7, 1945; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, August 1, 8, 1945.

(5)               Scrapbook, 1944-1947, September 18, 1945.

(6)               Ibid., November 26, 1945, January 8, February 19, May 5, 13, 1946.

(7)               Ibid., October 6, 12, November 13, 1945, May 2, 24, 1946.

(8)               Ibid.,  November 1, 3, 1945, April 27, 1946; Lake Charles American Press, October 25, 1964.

(9)               Lake Charles American Press, October 25, 1964.

(10)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, November 25, 28, December 14, 1945, January 31, February 6, 1946; Scrapbook, 1944-1947, November 25, 28, 1945, February 8, April 2, 1946.

(11)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, November 12, December 6, 7, 10, 1945; Lake Charles American Press, December 17, 1945; Scrapbook, 1944-1947, March 30, 1946.

(12)           Log, 1946; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, February 12, 1946; Scrapbook 1944-1947, March 15, 19, April 2, 1946.

(13)           Scrapbook, 1944-1947, January 29, March 8, May 23, 1946.

(14)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, November 11, 1945, January 29, March 19, 1946; Scrapbook, 1944-1947, passim.

(15)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, October-November, 1945: Lake Charles American Press, September 12, 1945.

(16)           Scrapbook 1941-1947, December 15, 1945, January 30, January-February, 1946; Scrapbook, 1944-1947, January 29, March 1, 1946, January-February, passim; Lake Charles American Press, January 14, 1946.

(17)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, February 12, March 11, May 2, 24, 1946.

(18)           Catalogue, VIII (1946), IX, 1948; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, summer, 1946, Lake Charles American Press, July 17, 1946.

(19)           Enrollment Chart; Scrapbook, 1944-1947, September 16-18, 1946; Lake Charles American Press, September 9, 1946.

(20)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, March 3, 1947.

(21)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, November 26, 1946; Scrapbook, 1948-1949 [sic], December 5, 1946; Lake Charles American Press, November 22, 1946.

(22)           Scrapbook, 1944-1947, November 29-30, December 12, 1946; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, December 10, 11, January 8, 1947.

(23)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, November 16, 20, December 13, 1946, February 1, 1947.

(24)           Lake Charles American Press, February 7, March 31, 1947; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, May 5, 1947.

(25)           Lake Charles American Press, July 18, 1946, January 27, 1947; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, February 8, 1947.

(26)           Scrapbook, 1944-1947, August 16; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, November 14, 1946.

(27)           Contraband, December 20, 1946; Scrapbook, 1941-1947, September- November, 1946, passim; Scrapbook, 1947-1948, January 13, 1947.

(28)           Scrapbook, 1941-1947, December, 1946- February, 1947, passim; Log,  1947.

(29)           Ibid.,  January 24, 1947, January - March, 1947, passim; Contraband, February 28, 1947; personal reminiscence of Dolive Benoit.

(30)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, July 25, 1947; Contraband, July 3, 1947.

(31)           Enrollment Chart; Catalogue, IX, 1947-1948 ; Scrapbook, 1947-1948, August 31, September 21, 1947, Contraband, October 6, 13, 1947; Lake Charles American Press, August 22, 1947.

(32)           Catalogue, X, 1948-1949.

(33)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, July 26, 1947.

(34)           Lake Charles American Press, June 6, 21, October 6, 1947; Catalogue, XXIII, 1963-1964, 17; Scrapbook, 1947-1948, June 21, 1947.

(35)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, September 9, October 30, December 11, 1947, February 1948; Lake Charles American Press, November 1, December 11, February 26, 1948; Contraband, March 15, 1948.

(36)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, October 13, 1947, January 24, March 3, 1948; Lake Charles Southwest News, January 25, 1948; Contraband, August 1, 1947; Lake Charles American Press,  April 27, 1948.

(37)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, October 18, 1947; January 4, July 20, 1948; Lake Charles Southwest News, January 25, 1948.

(38)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, October 18, 1947, January 4, July 20, 1948; Lake Charles Southwest News, May 2, 1948; Lake Charles American Press, May 21, 1948.

(39)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, October 1, 1947, March 10, April 1, 1948; Contraband, April 26, 1948.

(40)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, November 8, 1947; Lake Charles American Press, November 8, 1947, June 11, 1948.

(41)           Lake Charles American Press, April 15, June 2, 1948; Scrapbook, 1947-1948, October 13, 1947, February 20, June 2, 1948.

(42)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, November 15, 1947, January-May 1948, passim, March 4, 25, 1948.

(43)           Ibid., October 29, December 12, 1947; Contraband, December 17, 1947.

(44)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, November 20, 1947, March 24, April 7, 1948; Contraband, April 12, 1948.

(45)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, July 23, November 28, December 18, 1947, March 2, 1948, passim; Contraband, October 6, December 12, 1947, January 22, 1948.

(46)           Scrapbook, 1947-1948, December 11, 17, 1947, January 12, February 26, 1948, December, 1947-March, 1948, passim.

(47)           Ibid., January 9, February 7, 1948.

(48)           Enrollment Chart; Catalogue, X, 1948-1949; Lake Charles American Press, August 23, 1948; Scrapbook, 1948-1949, August 23, September 13, October 30, 1948, May 2, 1949.

(49)           Scrapbook, 1948-1949, September 18, December 13, 1948, March 8, 1949.

(50)           Ibid., September 23, 1948.

(51)           Ibid., November 16, 1948, October- December, 1946, passim.

(52)           Ibid., October 30, December 9, 13, 1948, March 10, 17, 18, 1949; Contraband,
April 6, 1949.

(53)           Scrapbook, 1948-1949, April 20, 23, 27, May 8, 1949.

(54)           Ibid., October 7, 14, 1948, February 15, 1949.

(55)           Contraband, November 3, 1948; Scrapbook, 1948-1949, October 27, 1948.

(56)           Contraband, October 6, 1948, May 19, 1949; Scrapbook, 1948-1949, September 5, October 1, November 20, December 10, 1948, April 2, 9, May 3, 5, 1949.

(57)           Scrapbook, 1948-1949, September 22, 25, November 3, 1948, April 12, 1949, September- November, passim.

(58)           Ibid., December 6, 1948, February 26, April 12, June 15, 1949.

(59)           Ibid., November 11, 15, 1948, January 22, April 7, 1949.

(60)           McNeese Review, II (Spring, 1949), passim.

(61)           Ibid.,  May 13, 22, 31, 1949.

(62)           Scrapbook, 1948-1949, June 14, September 21, 1949; Enrollment Chart.

(63)           Contraband, December 9, 1949.

(64)           Lake Charles American Press, May 1, July 13, 1949; Scrapbook, 1948-1949, September 11, 1949; Scrapbook, 1950, February 27, 1950; Contraband, February 22, 1950.

(65)           Log, 1950; Scrapbook, 1948-1949, September 16, 1949; Scrapbook, 1950, February 26, 1950; Contraband, October 14, December 9, 1949, January 27, April 19, 1950.

(66)           McNeese Review, III (Spring, 1950), passim.

(67)           Contraband, November 18, December 9, 1949; Scrapbook, 1950, February 25, March 13, May 19, 1950.

(68)           Contraband, April 19, 1950; Lake Charles Southwest Citizen, April 18, 1950; Scrapbook, 1950, April 21, 22, 1950.

(69)           Log, 1950; Contraband, October 14, November 18, 1949.

(70)           Lake Charles American Press, August 4, 1949.

(71)           Lake Charles Southwest News, page undated (c. September, 1949); Log, 1950; Scrapbook, 1950, April 30, 1950; Contraband, December 9, 1949.

(72)           Scrapbook, 1950, February 2, March 10, April 30, 1950.

(73)           Contraband, December 9, 1949; Log, 1950; Scrapbook, 1950, April 12, 14, 30, 1950.

(74)           Scrapbook, 1950, May 10, 21, 1950.

(75)           Contraband, November 18, 1949; Scrapbook, 1950, May 4, 1950.

(76)           Lake Charles American Press, May 12, 14, 17, 31, 1950; Scrapbook, 1950, June 22, 1950.

(77)           Lake Charles American Press, May 24, June 8, 1950.

(78)           Ibid.,  June 22, 1950.

(79)           Ibid.,  June 22, July 1, 1950, October 25, 1964; Catalogue, XII, Supplement, 1950-1951; Contraband, May 20, 1952; Scrapbook, 1950, June 22, July 1, 1950.

(80)           Scrapbook, 1950, June 22, 24, July 18, 1950.

(81)           Scrapbook, 1950, December 28, 1950; Lake Charles American Press, December 28, 1950.

(82)           Lake Charles American Press, February 20, March 18, 1951; Lake Charles Southwest Citizen, April 25, 1951.

(83)           Lake Charles American Press, May 28, 1951; Scrapbook, 1951-1952, October 7, 1951; Scrapbook, February, 1958-March, 1959, February 14, 1958.

(84)           Scrapbook, 1951-1952, May 30, 1952; Lake Charles American Press, July 1, 1951, June 11,  1952; Scrapbook, 1953-1954, March 25, April 6, 1954.




(1)               Catalogue, Supplement, 1950-1951; Lake Charles American Press, July 28, 1950; Scrapbook, 1950-1951, January 7, 1951.

(2)               Scrapbook, 1950, June 22, September 22, 1950; Lake Charles American Press, August 16, 1950; Contraband, November 21, 1951.

(3)               Scrapbook, 1951 - 1952, August 11, 27, 28, September 3, 6, 22, 1950.

(4)               Ibid.,  August 20, October 2, 25, 29, 1950, January 16, March 28, 1951; Lake Charles Southwest Citizen, April 18, 1951.

(5)               Scrapbook, 1950, September 22, November 5, 11, 1950, February 11, 1951.

(6)               Ibid.,  October 17, 1950, February 12, 1951; Lake Charles American Press, January 28, 1951; Lake Charles Southwest Citizen, January 28, 1951; Scrapbook, 1951-1952, April 5, May 1, 1951.

(7)               Contraband, October 13, 1950; Lake Charles Southwest Citizen, March 5, 1951; Lake Charles American Press, October 25, 1964.

(8)               Scrapbook, 1950, October 1, 1950; Scrapbook, 1950-1951, November 30, November 22, December 4, 1950, January 12, 1951; Scrapbook, 1951-1952, April 18, 28, 1951; Lake Charles American Press,  December 11, 1950; Contraband, December 20, 1950, April 16, 1951.

(9)               Scrapbook, 1950, September 8, October 6, 1950; Scrapbook, 1950-1951, November 22, 1950, February 13, 1951; Lake Charles American Press,  May 12,  1951.

(10)           Scrapbook, 1950-1951, March 12, 1951; Contraband, January 19, 1951.

(11)           Scrapbook, 1950, July 27, August 20, September 23, 1950; Lake Charles American Press, July 28, 1950.

(12)           Scrapbook, 1950- 1951, February 14, April 4, May 4, 1951.

(13)           Enrollment Chart; Scrapbook, 1950-1951, February 2, 1951; Lake Charles
American Press,
February 9, 1951.

(14)           Scrapbook, 1950-1951, October 27, November 2, 5, 16, 17, 1950.

(15)           Scrapbook, 1950-1951, December 4, 1950, passim; Lake Charles Southwest Citizen January 28, 1951.

(16)           Enrollment Chart; Scrapbook, 1951-1952, September 9, October 1, 10, 1951, January 7, 1952;  Contraband, October 3, 1951.

(17)           Scrapbook, 1951-1952, January 17, March 9, June 8, 1952.

(18)           Scrapbook, 1951-1952, September 16, 29, November 4, 11, 25, December 16, 1951, January 1, March 9, 16, April 20, May 4, 1952; Log, 1952.

(19)           Ibid., September 28, October 21, November 22, 1951, February 9, 1952.

(20)           Ibid.,  December 1, 5, 9, 1951; Contraband, November 22, 1951; Log, 1952.

(21)           Scrapbook, 1951-1952, August 5, September 6, November 6, 1951, March 17, April 20, June 7, 1952; Contraband, October 3, 1951; Lake Charles Southwest Citizen August 5, 1951.

(22)           Scrapbook, 1951-1952, October 21, 24, November 18, 1951, January 20, February 3, March 9,22, April 22, May 18, 1952.

(23)           Ibid., October 21, November 4, 11, December 7, 21, 1951, January 8, March 23, 29, April 7, 1952.

(24)           Ibid.,  September 18, 30, December 21, 26, 1951, March 2, 29, May 4, 1952; Contraband, March 4, 1952.

(25)           Scrapbook, 1951-1952, October 10, 14, 29, 1951.

(26)           Contraband, October 3, 12, December 19, 1951; Scrapbook, 1951-1952, November 13, December 4, 1951, September- November, 1951, passim, January 6, April 15, 1952; Lake Charles American Press, November 4, 1951.

(27)           Ibid.,  April-May, 1952.

(28)           Ibid.,  December 2, 1951, March 23, April 28, May 18, 28, 1952; Contraband, December 19, 1951; Log, 1952.

(29)           Enrollment Chart;  Bulletin, XII [XIII], 1951-1952; Bulletin, XIV, 1952-1953; Scrapbook, 1952-1953, November 3, 1952, DeRidder Beauregard News, August 22, 1952.

(30)           Lake Charles American Press,  April 15, 1952, January 30, March 1, 1953; Scrapbook, 1951-1952, August 8, September 3, December 18, 1952, January 30, March 1, 1953; Beaumont Enterprise, September 23, 1952.

(31)           Scrapbook, 1951-1952, August 10, 1952, February 1, 18, 1953; Scrapbook, 1952-1953, October 19, 22, 1952, March 16, 1953;  Lake Charles American Press, August 8, October 23, 1952, February 23, 1952, Contraband, March 17, 1953.

(32)           Scrapbook, 1952-1953, December 28, 1952, March 15, April 2, 1953; Log, 1953; Contraband, January 16, 1953.

(33)           Scrapbook, 1952-1953, October 5, 6, 26, November 30, 1952, February 8, 23, 1953; Log, 1953.

(34)           Scrapbook, 1951-1952, August 8, 31, 1952; Scrapbook, 1952-1953, October 7, 27, November 19, 1952, April 14, 1953; Contraband, October 31, 1952.

(35)           Scrapbook, 1952-1953, July 14, December 11, 1952; DeRidder Beauregard News, December 5, 1942.

(36)           Scrapbook, 1951-1952; Lake Charles American Press, August 3, 1952; DeQuincy News, August 15, 1952; Contraband, October 3, 1952; Contraband, October 3, 1952, April 14, 1953.

(37)           Scrapbook, 1951-1952, August 28, 1952, August-September, 1952, passim; Scrapbook, 1952-1953, March 5, 1953; Beauregard News, August 22, 1952.

(38)           Scrapbook, 1952-1953, March 26, April 2, 26, 1952; Contraband, April 14, 1953; Lake Charles American Press, January 11, 1953.

(39)           Scrapbook, 1952-1953 (II), December 7, 1952; Scrapbook , 1952-1953, November 24, 27, December 3, 24, 1952, April 10, 1953; Beaumont Enterprise, October 18, 1952; McNeese Review, IV (Summer, 1951) passim.

(40)           Lake Charles American Press, October 12, 1952; Scrapbook, 1951-1952, July 13, 31, 1952, February 8, 19,  March 5, 17, April 24, 1953; Contraband, January 16, 1953.

(41)           Lake Charles American Press, November 18, 1952, April 17, 1953; Scrapbook, 1952-1953, November 18, 30, December 8, 1952; February 22, March 5, April 2, 9, 1953; Contraband, March 10, 1053.

(42)           Scrapbook, 1951- 1952, June 8, 1952; Scrapbook, 1952-1953, December 1, 1952, September - November, 1952, passim.

(43)           Scrapbook, 1952- 1953, December 24, 1952, February 4, 20, 23, 28, 1953, November 1952- March 1953, passim;  Lake Charles American Press, November 30, 1952, March 12, 1953;  Log, 1953.

(44)           Scrapbook, 1952- 1953, January 15, 18, May 17, 24, 26, 1953; Contraband, February 13, May 25, 1953.

(45)           Enrollment Chart; Scrapbook, 1952-1954, September 17, 29, 1953; Contraband, September 22, 1953; Lake Charles American Press, September 18, 20, 1953.

(46)           Catalogue, XV, 1953-1954; Scrapbook, 1953-1954, June 16, August 23, 1953, February 14, 1954; Contraband, May 4, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, June 6, August 23, 1953.

(47)           Scrapbook, 1953-1954, November 1, 4, 1953; Lake Charles American Press, October 4, 1953, April 4, 1954; Beaumont Enterprise, March 2, 1953; Catalogue, XV 1953 - 1954; Contraband, October 20, 1953.

(48)           Lake Charles American Press, December 13, 1953; Scrapbook, 1953-1954, November 22, December 13, 1953; Beaumont Enterprise, February 25, 1954.

(49)           Scrapbook, 1953-1954, October 22, 1953, January 25, March 22, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, May 2, 1954; Contraband, October 20, 1953, May 24, 1954.

(50)           Scrapbook, 1952-1953, May 21, 1953; Scrapbook, 1953-1954, October 18, November 12, 1953, March 9, 28, April 7, 1954.

(51)           Lake Charles American Press, September 20, October 18, 1953, June 27, 1954; Log, 1954; Scrapbook, 1953-1954, September 27, 1953.

(52)           Scrapbook, 1953-1954, November 8, 1953; Contraband, August 4, 1953; Lake Charles American Press, June 13, 1954.

(53)           Scrapbook, 1953-1954, July 16, 19, 26, September 8, 1953, January 11, April 6, May 10, 1954; Scrapbook, 1952-1954, September 25, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, September 6, October 4, 1953, May 30, 1954; Beaumont Enterprise, March 31, 1953.

(54)           Catalogue, XII, 1950-1951, XV, 1953-1954; Scrapbook, 1952-1954, December 4, 1953; Scrapbook, 1953-1954, November 18, 1953, April 18, 23, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, June 6, July 9, 1954; Modern Language Journal, XXXVIII (1954), 421-22.

(55)           Scrapbook, 1953-1954, November 1, 1953, February 7, 1954; Contraband, February 16, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, July 1, 1954.

(56)           Scrapbook, 1953-1954, October 26, November 25, December 7, 1953; Contraband, December 8, 1953; Lake Charles American Press, November 29, 1953.

(57)           Scrapbook, 1953-1954, March 23, 31, 1954; Contraband, March 2, 1954.

(58)           Scrapbook, 1953-1954, October 12, November 15, December 1, 1953, January 24, April 5, 9, 21, 1954; Contraband , November 10, 1953, February 9, March 30, April 13, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, October 12, 1953.

(59)           Scrapbook, 1953-1954, September 20, October 15, 1953, September 1953-March 1954, passim; Contraband, March 9, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, March 10, 1954.

(60)           Lake Charles American Press, May 23, 24, 1954; Log, 1954.

(61)           Enrollment Chart; Lake Charles American Press, September 12, 26, 1954.

(62)           Scrapbook, May-December 1954, August 26, 1954; Scrapbook, January-June 1955, March 13, 1955; Contraband, February 8, 1955; Lake Charles American Press, February 18, 1955.

(63)           Scrapbook, May-December 1954, November 20, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, September 17, December 20, 1954; Contraband, September 21, 1954.

(64)           Lake Charles American Press, July 4, August 29, September 7, October 11, 1954, January 9, 21, February 6, 1955.

(65)           Scrapbook, May-December 1954, passim.

(66)           Lake Charles American Press, November 18, 1954, April 20, 1955; Contraband, May 10, 1955; Scrapbook, January-June 1955, February, date not given.

(67)           Lake Charles American Press, November 21, 1954, February 28, April 17, May 1, 1955; Scrapbook, May-December 1954, November 28, 1954; Scrapbook, January-June 1955,  April 20, 1955; Contraband, September 26, 1954, March 8, 1955.

(68)           Contraband, October 26, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, October 24, 1954, March 6, 1955.

(69)           Lake Charles American Press, September 19, 26, October 31, 1954, February 13, 1955; Log, 1955; Scrapbook, May-December 1954, September 22, 1954.

(70)           Scrapbook, May-December 1954, August 1, 1954, November 17, 1954; Scrapbook, January-June 1955, February 16, 1955; Lake Charles American Press, January 13, February 16, 1955.

(71)           Lake Charles American Press, August 8, 11, September 21, November 7, 1954, January 26, 1955.

(72)           Contraband, November 16, 1954, February 8, 1955; Scrapbook, May-December 1954, September 19, 1954.

(73)           Lake Charles American Press, November 10, 18, 1954, March 7, April 27, 1955; Contraband, March 8, 1955; Scrapbook, May-December 1954, passim; Scrapbook, January-June 1955, March 30, May 3, 1955, passim.

(74)           Contraband, November 30, 1954; Scrapbook, May-December 1954, August 11, December 6, 1954; Scrapbook, January-June 1955, January 31, 1955.

(75)           Scrapbook, May-December 1954, July 29, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, October 20, 1954.

(76)           Lake Charles American Press, December 12, 1954, April 17, 1955.

(77)           Scrapbook, May-December 1954, August 1, 1954; Lake Charles American Press, November 28, 1954, April 3, 1955; Interview with Frances Bulber, June 11, 1986.

(78)           Lake Charles American Press, March 4, 1955.

(79)           Lake Charles American Press, July 21, 1954, February 20, March 4, 1955; Contraband, February 22, 1955; Scrapbook, January-June 1955, March 17, 1955.

(80)           Scrapbook, May-December 1954, passim; Scrapbook, January-June 1955, March 23, 1955, passim; Lake Charles American Press, January 14, 26, February 13, 1955; Contraband, February 1, 1955; Log, 1955.

(81)           Lake Charles American Press, November 28, December 2, 5, 1954, February 2, March 31, 1955.

(82)           Lake Charles American Press, May 22, June 12, 1955; Scrapbook, January-June 1955, May 8, 18, 24, 1955; Log, 1955.

(83)           Scrapbook, January-June 1955, May 4, 1955; Contraband, July 26, 1955.




(1)               Scrapbook, 1953-1954, September 17, 1953.

(2)               Ibid., April 23, 1954.

(3)               Lake Charles American Press, June 7, 1954.

(4)               Ibid., September 3, 1954; Scrapbook, May-December, 1954, September 10, 14, November 23, 1954.

(5)               Conversations and remarks not for attribution.

(6)               Conversation with former students who were present.

(7)               Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, August 28, 1956; Scrapbook, November 1956-April, 1957, February 5, 1957.

(8)               Log, 1955; Log, 1956.

(9)               Contraband, September 20, 1955.

(10)           Catalogue, II-XV, 1940-1941-1954-1955.

(11)           This paragraph is unapologetically based upon the author’s observations over more than ten years of the Cusic administration.

(12)           Ibid.

(13)           Scrapbook, January-June, 1955, June 12, 1955: Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, May 16, 1956; Enrollment Chart; Contraband, September 20, 1955; Lake Charles American Press, October 9, 1955.

(14)           Catalogue, XVI, 1955-1956.

(15)           Ibid., Scrapbook, January-June, 1955, June 3, 1955; Scrapbook, July 1955-Februry, 1956, October 10, 1955, January 27, February 27, 1956; Contraband, October 11, 1955.

(16)           Lake Charles American Press, June 5, 22, August 19, 1955; Scrapbook, 1953-1954, December 19, 1954; Scrapbook, January-June, 1955, June 24, July 8, 1955; Scrapbook, July, 1955-February, 1956, September 18, December 18, 1955, January 21, 1956; Scrapbook, March-November, 195 6, March 25, 1956; Contraband, October 25, 1955, February 28, 1956.

(17)           Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, November 3, 1955; Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, March 14, 16, April 12, 1956.

(18)           Scrapbook, March-November 1956, April 22, May 6, 1956; Lake Charles American Press, January 2, 1956.

(19)           Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, November 13, 1955; Contraband, February 7, 1956; Lake Charles American Press, April 8, 1956; Log, 1956.

(20)           Lake Charles American Press, October 2, 23, 1955, February 12, 1956.

(21)           Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, September 4, 1955; Scrapbook, March-November 1956, June 27, 1956; Contraband, March 13, 1956.

(22)           Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, October 10, 30, 1955; Scrapbook, March-November 1956, June 17, 1956; Lake Charles American Press, September 9, 1956.

(23)           Scrapbook, July 1955-Februay 1056, September 14, 15, 1955; Contraband, July 26, September 27, 1955; Lake Charles American Press, September 13, 16, 1955.

(24)           Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, February 5, 26, 1956; Scrapbook, March-November 1956, March 1, April 22, 1956.

(25)           Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, August 27, 1955; Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, April 20, 26, 1956.

(26)           Scrapbook, January-June, 1955, July 10, 1955; Scrapbook, July 1955- February 1956, November 9, 12, 17, 22, 1955.

(27)           Scrapbook, July 1955-Januray 1956, July 17, 24, November 13, 16, 1955; Contraband, November 15, 1955; Lake Charles American Press, November 6, 1955.

(28)           Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, October 9, November 27; Lake Charles American Press, April 1, 1956.

(29)           Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, January 29, 1956; Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, April 12, 1956; Contraband, February 21, 1956.

(30)           Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, October 13, November 17, 1955, January 15, 20, February 9, 1956; Scrapbook, March-November 1956, March 28, April 9, 22, 1956; Contraband, January 10, 1956.

(31)           Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, January 27, 1956, passim; Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, May 3, 1956; Log, 1956.

(32)           Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, passim; Contraband, March 6, 1956; Lake Charles American Press, February 15, 1956.

(33)           Scrapbook, March-November, 1956 March 6, 14, 15, 18, 19, 1956; Contraband, March 20, 1956; Log, 1956; Lake Charles American Press, March 8, 10, 27, 28, April 2, 1956.

(34)           Log, 1956.

(35)           Lake Charles American Press,  February 22, 1956; Scrapbook, July 1955-February 1956, November 13, December 4, 1955; Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, April 18, May 11, 1956.

(36)           Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, May 20, 1956; Log, 1956.

(37)           Enrollment Chart; Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, October 28, 31, 1956; Scrapbook, April 1957- February 1958, April 16, 1957.

(38)           Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, February 7, 9, March 1, 1957.

(39)           Scrapbook, March-November 1956, July 22, 25, September 21, 1956; Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, March 16, 17, 31, 1957; Catalogue, XVII, 1957; Lake  Charles American Press, July 22, 1956; Contraband, February 5, 1957.

(40)           Catalogue, XVII, 1957; Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, December 7, 1956, March 10, 1957; Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, June 23, 1957.

(41)           Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, November 25, December 18, 1956, March 14, 1957; Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, May 2, 1957; Log, Al56; Contraband, March 19, 1957.

(42)           Lake Charles American Press, November 1, 1956; Scrapbook, November 1956- April 1957, March 8, 12, 14, 15, 26, 1957; Scrapbook, April 1957-Febraury 1958, May 4, 5, June 20, 1957.

(43)           Enrollment Chart; Scrapbook, March-November 1956, September 30, 1956; Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, April 2, 1957; Contraband, October 2, 1956.

(44)           Contraband, January 8, 1957; Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, March 20, 24, 28, 1957.

(45)           Lake Charles American Press, October 14, 1956; Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, September 20, October 21, 1956; Log, 1957; Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, May 31, June 8, 1957.

(46)           Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, October 19, 1956; Contraband, October 30, 1956; Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, July 28, 1957.

(47)           Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, August 12, 1956; Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, November 9, 1956; Contraband, October 2, 1956.

(48)           Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, May 8, 1957.

(49)           Ibid.,

(50)           Ibid., Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, May 2, 5, 18, 1957.

(51)           Scrapbook, March-November,1956, July 20, August 26, September 3, 11, October 5, 1956; Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, November 11, December 16, 1956; Contraband, September 18, 1956.

(52)           Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, July 29, 1956; Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, April 14, passim; Scrapbook, April 1975-February 1958, May 2, 19, 1957.

(53)           Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, November 18, 1956.

(54)           Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, December 2, 5, 1956, April 5, 1957.

(55)           Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, November 1, 8, 1956; Contraband, October 23, 1956, February 12, May 7, 1957; Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, May 1, 1957.

(56)           Scrapbook, March-November, 1956, passim, Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, November 9, 22, 1956, March 19, 1957; Contraband, November 13, 20, 1956, February 19, 1957.

(57)           Scrapbook, March-November 1956, October 30, November 1, 1956, passim; Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, December 16, 1956; Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, May 12, 1957; Contraband, November 6, 1956, February 5, March 12, 1957.

(58)           Log,  1957; Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, November 4, 1956, March 18, 22, 1957; Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, April 25, 29, June 10, 15, 17, 1957.

(59)           Scrapbook, November 1956-April 1957, April 14, 1957; Scrapbook, April 1957-Febraury 1958, May 15, June 9, 1957.

(60)           Lake Charles American Press, June 27, 30, 1957; New York Times, June 30, 1957; Scrapbook, June 30, July 7, 8, 21, 1957.

(61)           Enrollment Chart; Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, September 15, October 9, 1957; Scrapbook, February 1958-March 1959, March 1, 1958; Contraband, October 15, 1957; Log, 1958.

(62)           Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, August 11, 15, 22, September 13, 1957; Contraband, April 1, 22, 1957; Lake Charles American Press, April 20, 1957.

(63)           Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, August 18, 22, October 1, 1957, April 28, 1958; Contraband, September 17, 1957.

(64)           Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, January 27, 1957, February 5, 1958; Scrapbook, February 1958-March 1959, February 18, March 23, 1958; Lake Charles American Press,  November 20,1957, March 19, April 20, 1958; Log, 1958; Contraband, November 12, 1957,  January 14, February 4, 1958.

(65)           Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, October 16, 1957; Scrapbook, February 1958-March 1959, March 12, April 16, 1958.

(66)           Contraband, April 1, 1958; Scrapbook, February 1958-March 1959, March 2, 23, April 22, May 3, 1958; Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, November 6, 1957, passim.

(67)           Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, October 9, 1957; Scrapbook, February 1958-March 1959, April 20, 1958;  Lake Charles American Press, November 10, 1957, February 16, 1958; Log, 1958.

(68)           Scrapbook, April 1957-February 1958, August 11, 21, October 17, November 17, 1957.

(69)           Contraband, September 24, October 21, 1957; Scrapbook, April 1957- February 1958, August 18, 22, September 15, passim; Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, May 15, 1958.

(70)           Scrapbook, April 1957 - February 1958, August 22, November 17, 1957, January 31, February 9, 1958; Contraband, September 24, 1957.

(71)           Scrapbook, April 1957 - February 1958, August 8, 1957; McNeese Review, IX (1957), 56-58, McNeese Review, X (1958), 1-11,25-31, 45-67, 118-27.

(72)           Scrapbook, April 1957 - February 1958, August 15, 1957, January 13, 30, 1958; Lake Charles American Press, February 2, 1958; Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, February 23, 28, 1958; Contraband, February 25, 1958.

(73)           Lake Charles American Press, January 13, May 8, 1958; Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, May 23, 1958.

(74)           Scrapbook, August 1957 - February 1958, July 24, August 1, August 6, 1957.

(75)           Contraband, October 8, 1957; Scrapbook, April 1957 - February 1958, November 19, 1957.

(76)           Scrapbook, April 1957 - February 1958, December 8, 12, 1957; Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, March 20, 22, 1958; Lake Charles American Press, December 1, 1957.

(77)           Contraband, February 18, April 29, 1958; Lake Charles American Press, April 24, 30, 1958; Contraband, April 29, 1958; Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, February 23, 1958, April 28, 1958.

(78)           Scrapbook, April 1957 - February 1958, January 5, 1958; Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, February 15, 22, May 6, 13, 16 1958; Lake Charles American Press, May 4, 1958.

(79)           Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, April 11, 13, 1958.

(80)           Scrapbook, April 1957 - February 1958, December 12, 1958, passim; Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, February 17, March 1, 2, passim, Log, 1958.

(81)           Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, May 25, 27, 1958.




(1)               Enrollment Chart; Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, June 22, October 8, 1958; Lake Charles American Press, September 3, October 8, 1956; Contraband, October 7, 1958.

(2)               Lake Charles American Press, September 14, November 5, 1958, January 28, 1959; Log, 1959.

(3)               Ibid.,  September 21, 25, November 2, 1958, January 6, February 28, 1959; Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, June 4, 1958; Contraband, April 21, 1959.

(4)               Lake Charles American Press, October 29, November 9, 1958, January 6, February 5, 1959.

(5)               Scrapbook, February - November, 1959, May 11, 1959; Catalogue, XIX, 1959-1960.

(6)               Catalogue, XIX, 1959-1960.

(7)               Lake Charles American Press, December 4, 18, 1958, April 12, 15, 1959; Scrapbook, February - November 1959, March 19, April 3, 11, 1959; Contraband, January 8, 13, February 5, 10, 1959.

(8)               Lake Charles American Press, September 28, November 16, 1958, January 11, April 5, 1959; Scrapbook, February 1958 - March 1959, June 29, September 28, 1958; Scrapbook, February - November, 1959, March 15, 1959.

(9)               Lake Charles American Press, October 9, November 22, 1958, January 11,  February 18, April 5, 1959; Scrapbook, February - November 1959, March 9, April 2, 1959; Contraband, April 7, 1959.

(10)           Lake Charles American Press, November 6, 7, 21, 23, 1958.