By Lisa Addison
Dr. Daryl Burckel was named the seventh president of McNeese State University in a unanimous vote on Thursday by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System in Baton Rouge.
A Louisiana native, Burckel is a two-time graduate of Mc-Neese, where he played football on an athletic scholarship for the Cowboys. He received his doctorate in business administration from Mississippi State University.
“I’m honored to take on this role as the president of my alma mater, McNeese State University,” Burckel said shortly after being named president. “The university has a bright future filled with opportunity. I look forward to working with the students, staff, faculty and community at large to make McNeese the best it can be.”
Finalists for the position had included Burckel; Neil Aspinwall, chancellor of Sowela Technical Community College; and Jeanne Daboval, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at McNeese. The three finalists were interviewed separately by the board during a meeting that was streamed live Thursday.
Prior to being named finalists last week, the candidates went through a full day of public interviews, followed by deliberations by the McNeese State University Search Committee. In addition to public interviews, candidates also met with faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members. McNeese had previously hosted presidential search committee meetings and a public forum.
President-elect Burckel will assume his duties after McNeese President Philip Williams, who has served since July 1, 2010, retires on June 30.
Williams said on Thursday he “looks forward to working with Dr. Burckel during the transition.”
“He is a McNeese alumnus and he understands the importance of McNeese to Lake Charles and the Southwest Louisiana region,” Williams said. “McNeese has a bright future.”
During his interviews, Burckel outlined the importance of growing the university’s enrollment and dealing with budget issues by identifying innovative funding sources for the university through business partnerships and other opportunities.
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 was awarded one of four national NCAA-Postgraduate Scholarships in 1980, which he said he used to earn a Master of Business Administration degree in 1982.
He is the president of the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District Board of Directors, and serves on the JD Bank Board of Directors and the Louisiana Land Trust Board.
A captain in the United States Army Reserves from 1983-1990, he is also a veteran of Operation Desert Storm.
Burckel and his wife, Mary, have been married for 36 years and have three daughters and two granddaughters.