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Ms. Aline Arceneaux




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Email: AArceneaux@aol.com

Aline Margaret Arceneaux

Graduated with Distinction on June 2, 1941 with a major in Chemistry

When I enrolled at Southwestern in 1937 the enrollment was such that you knew practically everybody. As a commuter, I was glad that there was a Girls’ Club Room where we could go when we were not in class or in the library. The library, by the way, was in Girard Hall. It was during the time that I was on campus that the building program included Bittle Hall (originally built as a student center), Broussard Hall, Burke Hall, Evangeline Dormitory, Hamilton Hall (originally used as an elementary training school), Harris Dormitory, Earl K. Long Gym, McLaurin Gym, McNaspy Stadium, Mouton Hall, Parker Hall, C Building (originally built as a farm dormitory), Saucier Clinic and Infirmary, and Stephens Memorial Hall (originally built as a library). As you can see, the face of the campus changed drastically during the time I was there.

The teachers that I remember with fondness were Mr. Delarue, Mr. Riehl, Muriel McCulla, and Daddy Stokes. Others I remember for their mannerisms, like Miss Bancroft standing at the blackboard starting out writing with her left hand and switching to her right without changing position, Dean Hamilton twisting his hair as he was lecturing, and Miss Buchanan wearing gloves in class.

The extra-curricular activities that I remember were the Camellia Pageant, Stunt Night (a competition put on by the sororities), the dance students performing in Cypress Grove (it was not a lake then), and sports events such as football, basketball, and boxing.

Memories of Southwestern would not be complete without mention of the Rendezvous which was across from the North Gate. It was operated by my aunt, Mrs. T.C. Wiggins. I would help out at noon in exchange for my lunch. A number of young men were able to attend college by working there and staying in her boarding house.

Since I attended three summer schools, I was able to finish at mid-semester. My first teaching assignment was at the L.T. High School in Thibodaux. I taught there for the spring semester, and the next year I taught at Big Lake High School in Cameron Parish. I then moved to Iota High School in Acadia Parish (my sister Lucille was the librarian there).

It was during the spring semester that I enlisted in the Navy and reported on May 8, 1943 to Smith College in Massachusetts for training. I was commissioned on June 30, 1943, and after spending five days in New York seeing the sights, I reported to the Bureau of Ships in Washington, D.C. I was assigned to the Submarine Design Section and worked there for the three years I was on active duty. There were a number of SLI graduates stationed in Washington at the time and we would meet at times. I also had the good fortune to be invited several times for lunch in the Senators’ Dining Room at the Capitol.

After I was discharged, I taught in Rayne for two years and decided I was not really cut out to be a teacher. I was fortunate to get a job at Southwestern where I went from working in the Film Library, secretary for the Alumni Association, to secretary for Joe Riehl who was Dean of Administration at the time. After a number of title changes, and for a time acting as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, he held the title of Academic Vice President at the time of his retirement. When Dr. Ray Authement was named to replace him, I remained in the secretarial position; when Dr. Authement was named President, I moved up with him. I remained in that position until I retired in 1985.

Besides working at Southwestern, I was asked in 1951 to become active in the Naval Reserve. I stayed active until 1978 when I was transferred to the inactive Reserve. On July 20, 1980 I became Commander Aline M. Arceneaux, Ret.

Although retired from USL, I still retain ties to it by serving on the Retirees Committee.

Aline Margaret Arceneaux

Submitted to Ed Dugas, Chair College of Education Academic Showcase, 1999.