Louisiana Commissioner of Administration and Manship School alum Jay Dardenne will deliver the commencement address at the Manship School of Mass Communication spring commencement ceremony on Friday, May 13 at 11 a.m. in the Maddox Field House. Friends, family and members of the public are invited to attend.
Dardenne was appointed Commissioner of the Division of Administration in January 2016 by Gov. John Bel Edwards. In this capacity, he serves as the state’s chief administrative officer and principal architect of the $25 billion executive budget.
Dardenne was elected twice as Louisiana’s Lieutenant Governor, beginning November 2010. He previously served four years as Secretary of State, 15 years as a State Senator and three years as a Baton Rouge Metro Councilman.
As Lieutenant Governor, he headed the Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism, which also includes State Parks, the Louisiana State Museum System, the State Library, the Office of Cultural Development, the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and Volunteer Louisiana. Louisiana’s tourism numbers skyrocketed after he took office, setting records each year, the first such increases since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005.
During his legislative service, he chaired the Senate Finance Committee and authorized legislation granting motion picture tax credits, which paved the way for the film and television industry to bring productions to the state. He also sponsored legislation streamlining the Department of Economic Development, creating a comprehensive Board of Ethics, establishing the Community and Technical College System and providing funding for coastal erosion. In 2003, he was named National Republican Legislator of the Year.
In 2012, he received the National Public Leadership for the Arts Award from Americans for the Arts and the President’s Award from Louisiana Public Broadcasting. In 2011, he was recognized by the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation for his “dedication to preserving the cultural heritage and historical resources of Louisiana.” He also was honored for his community and public service by the American Association of State Service Commissions with the inaugural State Leader Award. In 2010, he was named Public Official of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Museums.
He is an active community volunteer, having hosted the Jerry Lewis Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for more than 30 years.
Dardenne conducts many special presentations about Louisiana, including Why Louisiana Ain’t Mississippi, a lively and colorful look at Louisiana’s culture, history, music, literature and politics.
He is an attorney and graduate of Baton Rouge High School, Louisiana State University Manship School of Mass Communication and the LSU Law Center. He is a member of the Baton Rouge High School Hall of Fame and the Manship School of Mass Communication Hall of Fame. He is married to the former Cathy McDonald, and they have two grown sons, John and Matthew.