Arnold R. Kilpatrick

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Arnold Roy Kilpatrick
President of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana
In office
Preceded by John S. Kyser
Succeeded by Rene J. Bienvenu
Personal details
Born (1920-08-05)August 5, 1920
Eros, Louisiana, US
Died December 12, 2005(2005-12-12) (aged 85)
Spouse(s) Juanita Cardozier Kilpatrick (married 1950–2005, his death)
Children 2
Residence Natchitoches, Louisiana
Alma mater
Occupation College president

Arnold Roy Kilpatrick (August 5, 1920 – December 12, 2005) was a Louisiana educator, coach, and businessman who was the president of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches from 1966 to 1978.


Kilpatrick was born in tiny Eros in Jackson Parish. He first attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe (Ouachita Parish), formerly known as Northeast Louisiana Junior College. He later earned his bachelor's degree from Northwestern State and master's degree and Ed.D. from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He served in the U.S. Air Force (then the United States Army Air Corps) during World War II.

In 1946, he began his educational career as a teacher and coach at Jonesboro-Hodge High School in Jackson Parish. He built a successful basketball program at the school. The team won the Class A state championship in 1951, when it achieved forty-five victories, a school record.

College Coach of the Year[edit]

Kilpatrick joined Northeast Louisiana State College in 1951 as a faculty member and assistant football and basketball coach and later head basketball coach and the director of athletics. In his three final seasons at Northeast, his teams had three consecutive winning seasons. Kilpatrick guided the team to its first 20-win season in 1954–1955. He was honored by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association that season as "Coach of the Year" in the Gulf States Conference. Kilpatrick was also a guiding force in the success of the conference, having served as vice-president and later president of the league. In 1957, Lenny Fant became the Northeast basketball coach and guided the team to eighteen victorious seasons, culminating in his final year, 1978–1979.

After leaving coaching, Kilpatrick remained on the Northeast faculty and served as head of the Department of Education at the college in 1965 to 1966. He was appointed dean of the college at Northwestern State in March 1966 and became the NSU president of NSU later in the year.

NSU president, 1966–1978[edit]

During Kilpatrick's tenure as the NSU president, enrollment increased substantially, and a number of buildings were constructed or renovated. Kilpatrick helped to secure funding for the construction of the Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library, the Rene J. Bienvenu Biological Sciences Building, the Physical Education Majors Building and the Teacher Education Center, the Student Recreation Complex, and University Post Office. He also pushed successfully for the renovation of Turpin Stadium, Prather Coliseum, and the Sylvan Friedman Student Union, named for a former Louisiana lawmaker. It was during Kilpatrick's administration a new home for the president was constructed. The previous presidential home was converted some years later into the renovated NSU Alumni Center.

Arnold R. Kilpatrick sign at NSU President's Home
The Northwestern State University President's Home is named for Kilpatrick, who was the university president when the facility was constructed.
Attractive Chaplin's Lake Walking Trail follows the path of Cane River; photo taken from street in front of the residence of the NSU President.

Under Kilpatrick, NSU established a branch campus at Fort Polk near Leesville, the seat of Vernon Parish. The institution achieved university status, and the name was changed from Northwestern State College to Northwestern State University in 1970.

Kilpatrick remained active in athletic activities during his presidency at Northwestern. He served on the U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors and as president of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Kilpatrick's tenure at NSU corresponded in part with that of George T. Walker, a former NSU dean, Jackson Parish native, and the president of the University of Louisiana at Monroe from 1958 to 1976. Under Walker ULM, then known as Northeast Louisiana University, expanded fourfold in enrollment.[1]

Meanwhile, F. Jay Taylor was president of the NSU sports rival, Louisiana Tech University, from 1962 to 1987. Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones was president of historically black Grambling State University during this same period.

In 1994, Kilpatrick was selected for the NSU Hall of Distinction, the highest honor bestowed at the university. He was also inducted into the NSU Graduate N Club Athletic Hall of Fame, the NSU Hall of Distinguished Educators, and the Northeast Louisiana Athletic Hall of Fame. He further received the Nth Degree for Meritorious Service from NSU.

Later years[edit]

After he retired from education, Kilpatrick engaged in a number of business activities. He was vice-president of Savings Life Group of Shreveport and also served as chairman of the board of directors of Pelican State Bank in Pelican in DeSoto Parish.

Kilpatrick also held membership over the years in the Masonic lodge, the Order of the Eastern Star, El Karubah Shriners of Shreveport, and the Scottish Rite Society.

Services were held at his home congregation, the First United Methodist Church of Natchitoches under the direction of the Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home. Survivors included his wife of fifty-five years, the former Juanita Cardozier (1928-2011), a native of Montgomery in Grant Parish and a music educator who graduated from NSU in 1949;[2] a daughter, Lael Alexis Kilpatrick of Naples, Florida; a son, Joel Young Kilpatrick, an official of the Louisiana State Police, and his wife, the former Jeri Allen Parker of Natchitoches, and at the time three grandchildren, Ryan Daniel Kilpatrick, Jared Young Kilpatrick, and Ashley Danielle Schult.

He was a brother-in-law of Virgus Ray Cardozier (1923-2014), professor emeritus of higher education administration at the University of Texas at Austin.[3]

On May 1, 2009, the NSU president's home was renamed the Arnold Kilpatrick President's Home. The Kilpatricks moved into the residence in 1970. Along with other residences of state college presidents, the NSU structure was constructed with funds from an oil and natural gas account generated by Nicholls State University in Thibodaux.[4]


  1. ^ "George T. Walker". Monroe News Star. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Juanita Cardozier Kilpatrick". The Shreveport Times. 
  3. ^ "Professor V. Ray Cardozier". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Home Named in Honor of Former NSU President". Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
Preceded by
John S. Kyser (1954-1966)
President of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana

Arnold Roy Kilpatrick

Succeeded by
Rene Joseph Bienvenu, Jr., (1978-1982)