Horatio Alger Association Selects Matthew Ross Theriot as its 2022 Alumnus of the Year
For Immediate Release
February 22, 2022
Horatio Alger Association Selects Matthew Ross Theriot as its
2022 Alumnus of the Year
A 2008 Louisiana State Scholar, Theriot continues to support the Association through his involvement in the National Scholars Conference and chairing the Alumni Summit
WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 22, 2022) – Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced Matthew Ross Theriot, a 2008 State Scholar from Louisiana, as its 2022 Alumnus of the Year Award recipient. Honoring a Horatio Alger Alumni Scholar who has previously earned an undergraduate degree as well as distinguished him/herself academically, professionally, and philanthropically, the Alumnus of the Year Award includes a $10,000 grant from the Association to be used for continuing education, previous educational loans or as a donation to their high school for scholarships in 2022.
Growing up in rural Louisiana, Theriot faced a multitude of adversities, including significant medical issues. During a seven-year period, Theriot underwent 11 surgeries to repair anomalies in his ankles and spine. While dealing with his health issues, Theriot’s family lost their home and community after Hurricane Rita. Despite the isolation he endured throughout his formative years, Theriot vowed to use his struggles as motivation and committed himself to helping others through a career in the medical field. Coming from a town where very few pursued careers outside of the oil or cattle farming industries, Theriot knew a scholarship was his best chance at pursuing his dreams. In 2008, he applied for and received the Horatio Alger Louisiana State Scholarship to attend McNeese State University. From there, he went on to earn a Master of Science in infant and child development from the Erikson Institute in 2014.
For six years post-graduation, Theriot traveled the world, launching and managing global pediatric clinical research studies. Over time, he felt something was missing and decided to go back to school in order to provide one-to-one support and care for children and their families. Theriot is currently enrolled in a second Master of Science program at the University of California, San Francisco to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. His goal is to advance research to understand toxic stress and how it affects children, their families and their communities.
In 2018 — a decade after receiving his Horatio Alger scholarship — Theriot was searching for a way to give back to the organization that did so much for his life. He saw that the Association was in search of team leaders for its annual National Scholar Conference. From that moment forward, Theriot has been a highly involved Alumni Scholar, sitting on the Horatio Alger Alumni Advisory Committee and serving as chair of the 2022 Alumni Summit Planning Committee, overseeing this year’s highly anticipated event in New Orleans in October.
“The Association is proud to honor Ross with our Alumnus of the Year Award,” said Terrance Giroux, Executive Director of the Horatio Alger Association. “He not only represents the Association incredibly well but used the adversity he faced as a springboard for success. From his love of medicine to his dedication to our Scholars, Ross’ passion for helping others is commendable and a wonderful reflection of the Association’s values.”
“It is an honor to watch Louisiana State Scholars like Ross succeed and give back to the Association,” said William Dore, 2001 Horatio Alger Award recipient and provider of the William J. Dore Louisiana State Scholarship. “The State Scholarship program continues to offer students the opportunity to pursue their dreams through education.”
“The Alumni Association is an integral part of furthering the Association’s important mission,” said James F. Dicke II, chairman of the Horatio Alger Association and 2015 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “We are grateful for the commitment that our Alumni have to the 35,000 Horatio Alger Scholars and the ways that they continue to support their peers as while advancing their own career goals.”
“To be named as the Horatio Alger Association’s Alumnus of the Year is a recognition I will always hold near to my heart,” said Theriot. “When I lost my father, I felt like I had lost a significant part of my home and my support system. The Association has given me a whole other family and I feel fortunate to have a network that will be there for me, no matter what. I look forward to continuing to give back to other students and helping them achieve their goals – whatever they may be.”
The Horatio Alger Association Alumnus of the Year Award annually recognizes exceptional leaders, such as Theriot, who go above and beyond in their service to the organization and their communities, despite having faced significant adversity and personal challenges in their journey to achieve success.
About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2020, the Association awarded more than $21 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships to 2,500 students across the United States and Canada, and provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $235 million in undergraduate, graduate, military veteran and career and technical education scholarships to more than 35,000 deserving students. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.
Horatio Alger Members are part of a select group of individuals who have experienced a wide spectrum of what life can offer. Similar to characters in stories by Horatio Alger, Jr., they traditionally have started life in “humble” or economically challenging circumstances.
The Association administers more than 70 undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarship programs.