BREAKING: Dr. Daryl Burckel is named McNeese president - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

BREAKING: Dr. Daryl Burckel is named McNeese president

(Source: McNeese State University) (Source: McNeese State University)

The search for the next McNeese president is over.

Dr. Daryl Burckel, a McNeese accounting professor, was named McNeese President at a special meeting held in Baton Rouge Thursday.

In a unanimous vote, Burckel beat two other finalists - Jeanne Daboval, vice president for academic and student affairs, and Neil Aspinwall, Sowela chancellor, for the position.

Burckel will replace Dr. Philip Williams, who is retiring.

Burckel says his main focus right now is evaluating the university before he starts making policy changes.

"I want to sit. I want to listen. I want to understand where we are - where our strengths are, the opportunities we may have - work with faculty, and have a participatory style of leadership that brings everybody on board and everybody together in the goals we are going to accomplish for the university," Burckel said.

Jim Henderson, University of Louisiana System President, says the unanimous vote shows that the board really got behind Burckel and the support he gathered.

"Our board really did a thorough job of vetting these candidates," Henderson said. "They had some engaging convos both in public and behind closed doors. We had a voluminous input from faculty, staff, students, alumni, community stakeholders, and it's a combination of all of that which led to this decision."

Burckel acknowledges the hardships ahead with budget cuts, and says he wants to work on partnerships with industry, state lawmakers, and other area universities.

But his main goal is to put McNeese on the map as a student's first choice, and to boost enrollment.

"Enrollment is always going to have to be something we have to pursue, because it drives our budget," said Burckel. "With enrollment comes students' lives that can be changed with a degree - and their futures can be changed. With that in mind, it's always to pursue those students to come to McNeese." 

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