Dr. William Arceneaux
Dr. William Arceneaux was born in Scott, Louisiana in August, 1941. He received a B.A. in History from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1962 , and an M.A. (1965) and Ph.D. (1969) in History and Politics in 1969, both from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. William Arceneaux is Visiting Lecturer in History at Tulane University in New Orleans and adjunct Professor of History at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He serves as Director and member of the Foundation for Excellence in Louisiana Public Broadcasting. In January, 2011, Bill was elected President of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL). From 1987 to 2007, he was President of the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He was Louisiana’s first Commissioner of Higher Education (1975-1987), and served as Executive Director of the Louisiana Coordinating Council for Higher Education (1972-1975).
He was elected president of the State Higher Education Executive Officer’s Association (representing public colleges and universities) in 1979, and elected president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities State Executives (representing private colleges and universities) in 2002. He remains the only person in the history of American higher education to head both national organizations, one in the public sector of higher education and the other in the private. Dr. Arceneaux is the founder of la Fondation Louisiane, a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to providing scholarships for students studying the French language at home and abroad. He is on the Board of Directors of the French/American Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast Chapter, and a member of the World Trade Center of New Orleans. The International Order of French-Speaking Parliamentarians awarded him the decoration of Chevalier dans l’ordre de la Pleiade; and the Republic of France named him a Chevalier (1984), Officier (2008), and Commandeur (2013) in l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques. In 1989, Bill he served as a member of the American Committee on the Bicentennial of the French Revolution.
In the mid-1980’s, when the revolutions in Central America broke out, he founded an NGO called the Consortium for Service in Latin America. Banking on his familiarity of the region, i.e., he lived nearly a year in Venezuela while completing his Ph.D. dissertation, he travelled to all of the countries of Central America recruiting “peace scholars.” These were citizens of the 5 Central American countries from all walks of live who were brought to the United States for democracy training. He continued this effort into the early 1990’s when the revolutions wound down.
Dr. Arceneaux is a member of the American and Louisiana Historical Associations. He has authored two books: ACADIAN GENERAL: ALFRED MOUTON AND THE CIVIL WAR (1981) which was awarded the Jefferson Davis Medal; and NO SPARK OF MALICE: THE MURDER OF MARTIN BEGNAUD (2000) which was nominated by the L.S.U. Press for the Pulitzer Prize in the non-fiction category of Letters and Drama. A French edition of the latter was published by Editions Atlantique in 2007 under the title MEURTRE EN LOUISIANE: L’AFFAIRE DES FRERES BLANC.
In 1979, the shareholders of SallieMae Corporation elected Dr. Arceneaux to a seat on the company’s 21-member board of directors. He was re-elected annually for eighteen consecutive years. In 1993,
President Bill Clinton appointed Arceneaux chair of the board of directors of SallieMae, a Fortune 500 company and the nation’s largest provider of student loans; he served in that capacity until 1997. From 1989 to 2007, he served as a member, board chair (1992-1994), and member of the executive committee (1992-2007), of the board of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, the state wide affiliate of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).
William Arceneaux was awarded the honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters by Loyola University (1985) and Doctor of Laws by Centenary College (2012). A resident of Baton Rouge, Bill is married and the father of four children and the grandfather of five.