Dr. Dionne Arceneaux revered for love, leadership

Dr. Dionne Arceneaux's spirit was matched by her passion to lead.

Dr. Dionne Arceneaux's vibrant personality matched her wisdom, which resonated throughout the Grand Canyon University community, where she served as an adjunct professor in the Colangelo College of Business for more than a decade.

“Dr. Di was one of the most positive, energetic and kind individuals I knew,” said Dr. Allison Mason, senior associate dean of the Colangelo College of Business.

Arceneaux, who also was senior manager at Living Word Bible Church for more than 24 years, passed away Nov. 19 after a two-month illness. Services will be Thursday at the church, 3520 E. Brown Road, Mesa.

She also served as senior manager at Living Word Bible Church.

“Dr Di was a powerful force of Christian love and servant leadership,” Dr. Randy Gibb, GCU Provost and Chief Academic Officer, wrote in an email. “We were all blessed to have known her, worked with her and prayed with her. Her students loved her positive and enthusiastic approach to everything she did. She is so missed.” 

Dr. Dionne Arceneaux is flanked by CCOB Senior Associate Dean Dr. Allison Mason and Provost Dr. Randy Gibb.

Arceneaux was more than just a teacher and pastor. She was a major supporter of conscious capitalism – a tenet of CCOB’s business management program – and supporter of GCU’s Women in Business Club.

Dr. Moronke Oke, professor and Chair of Management, knew Arceneaux from the time she was a student in GCU’s Executive Master of Business Administration program, “and right away, her passion for excellence stood out.”

“This passion for excellence, her selflessness, positive attitude and gratefulness to God are only a handful of the defining attributes in her life as a person, as a Christian, as a parent, a pastor, a colleague, a friend, a Lope and as an employee,” Oke said.

At the same time, Arceneaux never lost sight of her ability to teach and still instill a relentless sense of positivity to students and staff.

Dr. Dionne Arceneaux (left), pictured with Dr. Moronke Oke, was known for her vibrant spirit and infectious smile.

“Her students consistently praised her teaching, saying she was a challenging grader but truly enjoyed their experience with her and what she brought to the classroom,” Mason said. “She was the type of person who came by just to say ‘hi’ and would always leave a note on the board if she missed you.

“Her infectious smile had the power to light up any room she entered. She has left a gaping hole in my heart and will greatly be missed.”

Arceneaux earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational sociology in 2006 and an Executive MBA in servant leadership in 2008 from GCU.

Dr. Dionne Arceneaux taught in the Colangelo College of Business.

Arceneaux received her doctorate in organizational leadership from Argosy University in 2015 and was credentialed as a life coach the following year.

But she already embarked on a teaching career as an adjunct professor in CCOB, teaching servant leadership and organizational behavior for undergraduate and graduate students.

Dr. Dionne Arceneaux (right) with Board Chairman Jerry Colangelo (left) and GCU President Brian Mueller.

“When we needed her to step up at the last minute to take up classes, deliver a speech or be a keynote speaker, she never – not once – declined,” Oke said. “She always was passionate about GCU, CCOB and the students.

“If you were ever in her company, you always left with a smile on your face and a spring in your step because of her optimism and faith. Dr. Di was 100% GCU – the perfect alumni and spokesperson for a community she loved until the end. If she is allowed to, she would wear her purple and wave her ‘Lopes Up’ in heaven.”

In a GCU video produced seven years ago, Arceneaux said she chose GCU because it was a Christian-based school that shared the same beliefs and values, and the ability to incorporate those traits into her schoolwork was “epic.”

Arceneaux’s dedication to her work was unparalleled. Oke recalled that Arceneaux committed to a CCOB event despite her recent illness and still navigated her way to fulfilling her duties, thanks in part to members of Women in Business students reading questions to her.

Dr. Dionne Arceneaux (center), with Dr. Randy Gibb and Dr. Moronke Oke, rarely said no to giving a talk or other GCU request.

“No one never would have guessed what was going on,” Oke said.

Arceneaux’s enthusiasm never wavered. During her illness, she asked Oke about her students, appreciated that the classes were being covered and looked forward to returning to teach.

“Dr Di was passionate about GCU,” Mason said. “Anyone who has been at GCU long enough would have seen her either on television or every other form of marketing material we have.

Dr. Dionne Arceneaux and Dr. Helen Hammond, Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching Senior Program Manager

“All you had to do is tell her, ‘we need you (for GCU)’ and she would accept, oftentimes even before finding out what you needed her for.”

Services will be Thursday at Living Word Bible Church, 3520 E. Brown Road, Mesa. Attendees are asked to wear red, white or both colors. Those who want to donate toward the celebration are encouraged to bring Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and Coca-Cola cans. The church is accepting deliveries from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

Arceneaux was blessed with two children and her mother. Donations toward supporting her children and celebration of life expenses can be made through Zelle at [email protected] or [email protected], or a food-only option at mealtrain.com/9eD0MV. A donation toward Dr. Di’s nonprofit can be made through Zelle at [email protected]


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Bible Verse

Jesus taught his disciples, saying: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

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