Burckel speaks on future of McNeese at Kiwanis meeting

Daryl Burckel, incoming McNeese State University president, spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Calcasieu on Thursday, calling McNeese a “golden jewel” and the “cornerstone of Louisiana.”

Burckel, who was named the new president of McNeese in April, was guest speaker at the group’s weekly gathering at the Pioneer Club.

He spoke of his desire to find ways to address issues caused by a decade of budget cuts to higher education.

“Faculty are disheartened because their paychecks have fallen behind — no raises and yet higher insurance rates and rising costs in other areas,” Burckel said. “They are disheartened but not disengaged.”

Burckel said he would like to offer “no-cost benefits” to faculty and said one example could be providing day care on campus. He also said McNeese needs to “almost transition from a public to a private university because of funding issues.”

As Burckel moves toward taking the helm of McNeese after President Philip Williams retires on June 30, he said he’s excited about the future of the university and that taking on the responsibility is “an enormous task.”

“Actually, I feel like I’m drinking out of a firehose,” he said to laughter.

Burckel has 31 years of experience in higher education, is a professor of accounting, and holds the Arthur Hollins Endowed Professorship in Accounting at McNeese. He is a member of the Army Reserve and is a veteran of the Gulf War.