November 7, 2023

Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot Receives AASCU’s 2023 Distinguished Alumnus Award

2023 DAA recipient Claire Babineaux-Fontenot With President Joseph Savoie of University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Photo by Rhonda Nunn.
2023 DAA recipient Claire Babineaux-Fontenot with President Joseph Savoie of University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Photo by Rhonda Nunn.

Kellee Edmonds
(202) 478-4662

CHICAGO, November 7, 2023 – The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) today honored Feeding America Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Claire Babineaux-Fontenot with its 2023 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Babineaux-Fontenot accepted the award during AASCU’s 2023 Annual Conference in Chicago.

Babineaux-Fontenot is a 1985 graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from the AASCU institution.

As CEO of Feeding America since 2018, Babineaux-Fontenot leads the nation’s largest domestic charity organization and the country’s largest hunger-relief organization, according to Forbes, taking in $4.06 billion in donations in 2021. Feeding America’s network is made up of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food associations and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries, and meal programs. In 2020, she was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people.

“Claire Babineaux-Fontenot embodies what it means to be a compassionate leader in service to others,” said University of Louisiana at Lafayette President E. Joseph Savoie who nominated Babineaux-Fontenot for AASCU’s highest honor. “From being a first-generation college student at UL Lafayette to combatting hunger and food insecurity confronting millions in the United States, Claire has worked tirelessly to make a difference. Just last month, the university honored her with our Outstanding Alumni Award. She is well-deserving of every accolade.”

“I am both humbled and honored to accept the 2023 Distinguished Alumnus Award,” said Babineaux-Fontenot. “My journey is emblematic of what is possible when someone has dreams that are deeply invested in by other people. The investments made in me at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette provided a strong foundation that I have carried with me throughout my career, without which I do not believe I would have the privilege to serve as CEO of Feeding America. I am sincerely grateful.”

Babineaux-Fontenot has been deeply committed to service throughout her career and has served on the boards of several organizations, including the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the National Urban League, and the National Association of Black Accountants.

Similarly, Babineaux-Fontenot has a long history of leadership. Prior to her tenure at Feeding America, she was the executive vice president and global treasurer at Walmart and held leadership positions at PwC (formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers) and Adams and Reese LLP.

“We are proud to celebrate and honor Claire Babineaux-Fontenot as the 2023 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient,” said Heidi M. Anderson, president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and outgoing AASCU Board Chair. “She joins an impressive list of outstanding alumni who have taken the high-quality education and rich experience they received at an AASCU institution to prepare them to consistently give back to their communities and the nation in positive and meaningful ways.”

For more than four decades, AASCU has recognized individuals who have achieved acclaim in their fields and who have made significant contributions to the public, intellectual, or cultural life of the nation. Through this award, AASCU directs national attention to the value of society’s investment in America’s state colleges and universities. Past honorees include Paul J. LeBlanc, president, Southern New Hampshire University in 2022; NASA astronaut Richard R. Arnold II in 2021; and Al Roker, weather and feature anchor of NBC News’ TODAY in 2020.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photo of award acceptance is available upon request.


The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of 350 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise.