University honors namesake, John McNeese - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

University honors namesake, John McNeese

McNeese was named in honor of John McNeese, a man called an innovator, a reformer and a great pioneer of education. And now, the university and his family officially opened John McNeese Park as part of the 2012 homecoming ceremonies.

John McNeese was born in 1843 in New York. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War, fighting at Gettysburg and eventually wound up in Lake Charles where he married and became an educator. 

Though he studied law, education was his passion. And now, almost 100 years since his death, his legacy lives on through the institution that bears his name. His family, some of whom are alums, came from as far away as the Washington, D.C. for the opening of John McNeese Park.

McNeese President Dr. Philip Williams said it's a reminder of the unique connection here with the man known as the father of public education in Louisiana.

"We like to say that we're the only university in the state of Louisiana that's named for an educator and that's a great thing to be able to say. John McNeese was a pioneer in education, the first superintendent for the Imperial Calcasieu region and we've got his statue right here in campus now," Williams said.  

Williams spoke of John McNeese's heroic commitment to education.

"He would walk around in the swamp going to see people on stilts, because it was so important for him that every person get an education in this region," McNeese said.

John McNeese family members here included his great great granddaughter Becky Andrews who hopes students will learn about the university's namesake and be inspired.

"He worked extremely hard to establish a funding basis for the school systems and for education in Louisiana. He is the father for sustained funding for education, quite frankly. He put in the state constitution property tax funding," Andrews said.

John McNeese died in 1914 at the age of 70 and is buried in Orange Grove Cemetery in Lake Charles.

For more on John McNeese, including some of his historic papers and photos, click here.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • New Jeff Davis jail expected to open in July

    New Jeff Davis jail expected to open in July

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 11:19 PM EDT2018-05-24 03:19:22 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    The new Jeff Davis jail has been a project years in the making. After breaking ground nearly two years ago it's almost ready to open.  The $10 million jail in Jeff Davis Parish is close to completion.  "We're going to be going from 64 beds to almost 200 so it's two thirds larger," said Chief Deputy Chris Ivey.  The new facility has been talked about for years. The parish's current jail in Jennings was built in the 1960's, that faces constant ...More >>
    The new Jeff Davis jail has been a project years in the making. After breaking ground nearly two years ago it's almost ready to open.  The $10 million jail in Jeff Davis Parish is close to completion.  "We're going to be going from 64 beds to almost 200 so it's two thirds larger," said Chief Deputy Chris Ivey.  The new facility has been talked about for years. The parish's current jail in Jennings was built in the 1960's, that faces constant ...More >>
  • Jurors watch confession video in trial of Johnnie Hardman

    Jurors watch confession video in trial of Johnnie Hardman

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 8:54 PM EDT2018-05-24 00:54:06 GMT
    Johnnie Hardman (Source: KPLC)Johnnie Hardman (Source: KPLC)

    Jurors heard from a man who was robbed at the Twelve Palms RV Park the day that Joshua Touchet was shot and died.

    Witness Clinton Curtice told how there were three men and that one approached him with a handgun and demanded money.  Curtice identified that man as Johnnie Hardman. Hardman is on trial on a charge of first degree-murder.

    More >>

    Jurors heard from a man who was robbed at the Twelve Palms RV Park the day that Joshua Touchet was shot and died.

    Witness Clinton Curtice told how there were three men and that one approached him with a handgun and demanded money.  Curtice identified that man as Johnnie Hardman. Hardman is on trial on a charge of first degree-murder.

    More >>
  • Invest 90L likely poses little to no threat to SWLA

    Invest 90L likely poses little to no threat to SWLA

    Invest 90L likely poses little to no threat to SWLA

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 7:25 PM EDT2018-05-23 23:25:07 GMT
    Monitoring the Gulf for any developmentMonitoring the Gulf for any development

    The National Hurricane Center continues to highlight an area in Gulf of Mexico for potential tropical development over the next five days. This area to watch is currently located south of the Yucatan Peninsula and strong wind shear will keep this area at a 0% chance of development over the next couple of days before increasing late-week and weekend as it pushes into the Gulf of Mexico.

    More >>

    The National Hurricane Center continues to highlight an area in Gulf of Mexico for potential tropical development over the next five days. This area to watch is currently located south of the Yucatan Peninsula and strong wind shear will keep this area at a 0% chance of development over the next couple of days before increasing late-week and weekend as it pushes into the Gulf of Mexico.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly