(April 10, 2012)

CODOFIL President to deliver Centenary commencement address

SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. William Arceneaux, Director of the Foundation for Excellence in Louisiana and President of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL), will speak at Centenary College's 2012 commencement ceremony, Saturday, May 5. The annual celebration will take place at 10:30 a.m. in the Gold Dome.

Dr. William Arceneaux
Dr. William Arceneaux

Dr. Arceneaux was the President of the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities from 1987-2007. He also served as Louisiana's first Commissioner of Higher Education (1975-1987) and 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 and chair of La Fondation Louisiane, a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to providing scholarships for students studying the French language at home and abroad. He was instrumental in developing La Escadrille, a French teacher preparation program that includes an innovative learning bridge between Centenary and the University of Rennes, France.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. Arceneaux as Chair of the Board of Directors of Sallie Mae Corporation, a Fortune 500 company and the nation's largest provider of student loans. He served in that capacity until 1997.

Arceneaux earned his B.A. from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University—all in history. He is the author of two books: Acadian General: Alfred Mouton and the Civil War, which received the Jefferson Davis medal, and No Spark of Malice: The Murder of Martin Begnaud, a nominee of the L.S.U. Press for the Pulitzer Prize in Letters and Drama.

A native of Scott, Louisiana, and a resident of Baton Rouge, Arceneaux is married and the father of four grown children and the grandfather of five.