Government Professor Sean Theriault Selected by Friar Society for Teaching Excellence Award, University’s Largest Undergraduate Teaching Honor

April 3, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas — Associate Professor of Government Sean Theriault was awarded the 2009-10 Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship by The University of Texas at Austin Friar Society on Wednesday, April 1.

Students Stephen Myers and Nicole Trinh present a $15,000 check to Dr. Sean Theriault
The co-chairs of the Friar Society, Stephen Myers (left), a student in the School of Law, and Nicole Trinh (right), a graduate student in public affairs, present a check for $15,000 to Dr. Sean Theriault. Photo: Marsha Miller

The annual award of $15,000 is for one full year and goes to a full-time, tenured or tenure-track undergraduate professor. The fellowship is the largest award for undergraduate teaching excellence at the university.

In keeping with tradition, the Friar Society interrupted Theriault's afternoon class with parading friends, colleagues and the Longhorn Band.

"Receiving the Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship is a tremendous honor," Theriault said. "Previous recipients like professors Carver, Richmond-Garza, Hart, Jarvis, Stoff, Forgie, Deitz and Miller have served as teaching role models to me since I showed up at UT in 2001. I am truly humbled to be the latest name in that long list of stellar teachers."

Theriault is known for his popular Government courses in American politics. He is also the recipient of the 2005 Eyes of Texas Teaching Excellence Award and the 2006 President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award.

"Sean Theriault is one of the very few professors of whom it can be truthfully said that his students simply adore him," said G. Howard Miller, the Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of History and last year's recipient of the Friar Centennial Fellowship.

Dr. Henry Dietz congratulates Dr. Sean Theriault
Dr. Henry Dietz (left), government professor and Friar Award recipient in 2006, congratulates Dr. Sean Theriault.Photo: Marsha Miller

Nicole Trinh, co-chair of the 2009 Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship, said Theriault is an extraordinary faculty member who is considered a great friend and mentor to students across campus.

"Dr. Theriault is truly an outstanding professor," said Trinh. "He always goes above and beyond the call of duty, ensuring that his students not only learn concepts inside the classroom but that they experience them as well. Through his Maymester in Rome program and annual trip to Washington D.C., he provides the opportunity for students to see his teachings come to life."

Founded in 1911, the Friar Society is the university's oldest and most respected honor society. Students across campus nominate their favorite professors for the award, and a committee of Friar Society student members selects the award recipient.

For more information, contact: Jessica Sinn, College of Liberal Arts, 512-471-2404; Stephen Myers, Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship co-chair, 409-771-1218.

15 Comments to "Government Professor Sean Theriault Selected by Friar Society for Teaching Excellence Award, University’s Largest Undergraduate Teaching Honor"

1.  Melody Simon said on April 9, 2009

Dr. Theriault was my favorite professor when I was at UT. Congratulations, Sean!

2.  Deborah Jones said on April 9, 2009

I am a 1982 graduate of UT in economics. Congrats for winning. Thanks for all you give to the students you serve. (I have two students in right now.) What will be the focus of your fellowship?

3.  Peggy Pickle said on April 9, 2009

Congratulations, Sean. I'm pleased and proud to see you receive this award. Your enthusiasm for teaching and your connection with your students is in the Jake Pickle tradition.

4.  Brittany Hardy said on April 10, 2009

Sean, I'm positively thrilled for you! If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be missing Rome as much as I am. All the best.

5.  Eric Garcia said on April 10, 2009

The highest compliment I can give Professor Theriault is that he made learning fun and left me wanting more. You are truly deserving. Congratulations!

6.  Jeff King said on April 13, 2009

Dr. Theriault was recommended to me by a friend before I was even a Longhorn student or living in Austin, and he is the best professor I have ever had. His classes are very informative, always engaging, and he builds a great sense of community and comradery in his classes among all students. I am very thankful to have had him for a professor. Congratulations, Dr. T!

7.  April Oviedo said on April 14, 2009

I'm so happy that Sean Theriault received this award! He is an amazing professor and deserves this award. We definitely need more professors like him who not only make the class exciting, but show us how crucial it is to know our information. I was never bored in his class and very grateful that I took his class. Congrats, Dr. Theriault!

8.  Joanna Labor said on April 15, 2009

Professor Theriault is one of my most favorite professors of all time. I absolutely loved his Government 310L class and he put up with me always asking questions. Congrats, Prof. Theriault!

9.  Kyle Maruscak said on April 16, 2009

I took Dr. Theriault's Government 310L class in the fall 2008, and he is simply the best prof at UT!

10.  Sasha Haagensen said on April 17, 2009

I absolutely dreaded taking government while I was at UT. After avoiding it for many semesters, I stumbled upon Dr. Theriault's class and was pleasantly surprised. His method of teaching and overall disposition are what most faculty should strive to have. He clearly loves what he does, and to a student that can make a world of difference.

11.  Cathy Patton said on April 17, 2009

Professor Theriault was my very first professor at UT. He made me feel a part of this giant place and opened my eyes to so many possibilities. He gave of his time and inspiration, and I am forever changed. Bravo!

12.  Cody Yocom said on May 6, 2009

I took Dr. Theriault's U.S. Congress and Congressional Elections classes in 2002 and 2004. (I think). He is an excellent professor. He's clearly bright and funny. His classes were also of interest. Congratulations on winning this award!

13.  Jessica Robles said on June 10, 2009

Congratulations Dr. Theriault. I couldn't think of any one else who would be more deserving.

14.  Liz Stegman said on Aug. 20, 2009

Sean: Congrats! I wouldn't expect anything less from you!

15.  Kelly (Dyer) Crosser said on Aug. 24, 2009

Congratulations! Always the overachiever and loved by all...nothing has changed in 20 years!