Rene Joseph Bienvenu, Jr. (March 19, 1923 – January 27, 1983), was an American scientist and academic who wound up his career from 1977-1982 as the president of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Bienvenu was born in Colfax, (pronounced COLL FAX), the seat of rural Grant Parish, Louisiana, to Rene J. Bienvenu, Sr., and the former Corinne Wells. He was educated in the Grant Parish schools. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1944, his Master of Science from LSU in 1949, and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1957. He also studied at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and at the Radioisotope Technological Program at the Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
On January 28, 1948, Bienvenu married the former Catherine Nelken of Natchitoches, the daughter of Lennie D. and Sylvan W. Nelken, the dean of administration at NSU. There are three Bienvenu children: Patricia Renee Bienvenu Franklin (born in 1957), Elizabeth Bienvenu, and Steven Nelken Bienvenu (born 1950) of Shreveport, the seat of Caddo Parish. Patricia Franklin and her husband, Clay O. Franklin, have two children, Kimberly Renee and Jonas Clay, and two grandchildren.
Bienvenu joined the NSU faculty in 1950 and served the institution for 27 years before he assumed the presidency. As president, he named the historian Donald Rawson as Dean of the Graduate School. He chaired the Department of Microbiology from 1960 to 1967 and was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Science and Technology from 1967 to 1977. He wrote numerous articles for scientific and scholarly journals.
Bienvenu died in Shreveport and is interred at the Colfax Cemetery in Colfax in Grant Parish, Louisiana.