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AddRan College of Liberal Arts


Jim Riddlesperger

In recognition of his 42 years of dedicated service to his students and the greater Horned Frog community, James “Jim” Riddlesperger, Ph.D., has been nominated as a 2024 Piper Professor. The award, presented annually by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, comes with a $5,000 honorarium and is bestowed upon professors throughout Texas for superior teaching at the college level. The 10 winners for 2024 will be announced during a ceremony in May.

A professor of political science, Riddlesperger was nominated by his friend and fellow political science professor, Ralph Carter, Ph.D., who was named a Piper Professor in 2014. “Ralph and I have been friends for a long time. We started her together in 1982,” Riddlesperger recalled. “Regarding my nomination, I think he said something like, ‘It’s time, Jim.’ I was very flattered that he thought of me.”

Piper Professors are university instructors with a long history of effective teaching. “At TCU, we promote the notion of teacher/scholar,” Riddlesperger explained. “We aren’t just people who go into the classroom — we’re also very active in our discipline, conducting research and writing, and we want to instill those abilities in our students, as well. In addition, the Piper Professorship has to do with being plugged into the community. It specifically mentions activities such as Scouting and church involvement. So, for me, that was an easy fit, because we’ve been plugged into the local community for a long time.”

Riddlesperger says he is extremely honored to be nominated as TCU’s Piper Professor, but that a greater reward has been the many relationships he has built during his tenure as a faculty member of TCU and AddRan.

“I’ve been here a long time, and I’ve won a number of teaching awards and other honors that come to you as a professor,” Riddlesperger said. “It’s always gratifying when they happen, but the truth is that the greatest reward for being a faculty member is in the relationships that you build with students and colleagues. And not just at the university, but nationwide. I’m blessed to have scores of students who have remained in contact, and I’ve watched them develop their careers and have successful lives. I’m very proud of their accomplishments, which is the true reward. It’s not a plaque on the wall or a certificate, it’s the deep relationships that you form over the years with people who are meaningful in your life.”

Riddlesperger started his teaching career at TCU in 1982. He anticipated eventually moving on to another position elsewhere, but quickly found a welcoming home at TCU and never looked back.

“TCU was the perfect place for my family,” Riddlesperger says. “My boys played on the TCU campus when they were young, and my wife received her nursing degree from TCU and taught in the College of Nursing for nearly 20 years.”