Charles Byrne, the first ACE president to serve two consecutive terms, was born February 9, 1895 in Madison, Wisconsin. He received a bachelor's degree in agriculture and a master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin. He received a doctorate in education from Stanford University.
He taught school in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and was head of the journalism department at South Dakota State College before moving to Oregon State in 1929 to become head of the industrial journalism department. In 1930, he was elected president of the Western Association of College News Bureaus.
In 1932, he was named the first head of the division of information for the state board of higher education. He later became secretary to the board and assistant to the chancellor. During his career, he wrote three books on news writing and management of higher education.
From 1950 to 1955, Byrne was chancellor of the Oregon State System of Higher Education. He retired in 1958 and lived for several years in Palm Desert, California. He died in Eugene, Oregon, June 9, 1970, at the age of 75.