McNeese named among ‘Best Colleges’ list

Published 11:56 pm Saturday, October 16, 2021

McNeese State University was recently ranked as one of the top universities in the South according to U.S. News and World Report. This marks the 11th consecutive year that the college has been named in the publication’s Best Colleges list.

The ranking system considers factors such as outcomes, retention and graduation rates, student excellence and more. Toby Osburn, McNeese associate vice president for enrollment management, said the qualities that have consecutively garnered the publication’s attention are also attractive to the community of Southwest Louisiana.

“They (community members) immediately think of high-quality academic programs, close-knit campus community, affordability and great value in terms of return on investment,” he said.

“It’s a broad brush of things we hear over and over again from alums, recent grads making their way into the world of professional work and even from prospective students checking us out.”

Daryl Burkel, McNeese president, said the ranking is evidence that the university is reaching its goal for community standing. “Our vision is for McNeese to be the first choice university for our five-parish region and this national recognition confirms our role as a leader in providing exceptional academic programs in a student-centric environment.”

Naturally, the university has had to work through numerous unforeseen hurdles in the last 18th months but has cleared them all to continue its high standing. “The most important thing we’ve done institutionally with COVID and back-to-back hurricanes and the flip to fully online students is be laser focused on face-to-face instruction,” Osburn said.

“What distinguishes McNeese is not only the excellence with a personal touch but the one-on-one support which is far better delivered in- person than virtually.”

Whether it’s agriculture students working on the farms or at the meat processing center or nursing students in the simulation lab, the personal touch of McNeese is rooted in the hand-on experiences that students engage in very early on and throughout their academic career, Osburn added. “This is not going to be theoretical for you…Our focus is face-to-face instruction, one-on-one student mentoring and the hands-on preparation to get those students ready for their professional careers.”