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.
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.
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.