“Chris was instrumental in creating our forensics minor,” says Mike Monhollon, dean of the Hardin-Simmons University Kelley College of Business, where Chris Thibault had served as an associate professor of computer science.
Thibault died Thursday, June 6, 2013, at Abilene Regional Medical Center where he had been in the Intensive Care Unit since late May.
Thibault came to serve in HSU’s computer science program in 1997, having served as assistant professor of computer science at Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont. Thibault also served as a computer forensics consultant for the Abilene Police Department.
One of the most endearing things about Thibault was his sense of humor, for which he was notorious. “He loved a good joke,” says Monhollon. Giving an example of one of Thibault’s pranks, Monhollon says, “When an office next to him became vacant, he put ‘Computer Science Lounge’ on the door in hopes of sparking indignation on the part of other KCOB professors.”
On another occasion, as Monhollon tells the story, “When he came into a broken laptop, he made a big show of sweeping it off the podium during a presentation to the HSU Academic Foundation. As it crashed to the floor, he pushed a button on his working laptop, hidden under the podium, so that the PowerPoint presentation behind him went dark. After he had milked the audience for all the gasps he could, he pulled out his working laptop and continued with his presentation.”
Thibault graduated magna cum laude from Norwich University with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science business in 1988. He earned a Master of Science in management information systems from Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York, in 1989. Thibault was a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society, and during the 2004-05 academic year, he was nominated to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.
This summer, Thibault was getting ready for the annual Got Thought? summer workshop at HSU for aspiring high school seniors and recent grads interested in investigative computer science. Upon completion of the program, students receive a full scholarship for a computer science course at HSU. The workshop will be conducted Dr. Terry Sergeant, professor of computer science, and the workshops’ founder.
Sergeant, a good friend of Thibault, as well as a colleague, says, “Chris impacted so many computer science students over his time at HSU. I know many students and faculty are heart-broken at his loss.”
Sergeant says one of Thibault’s recent students, David Headstream, confided, “The first year I transferred in, Thibault would call me in the evenings after I got off work to answer questions. He wanted to make sure I was doing the homework and not falling behind. He really cared about his students. He was great guy and will be missed.”
Thibault is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and their four children, Olivia 16; Julia, 12; Josh, 7; and Victoria, 18, who recently graduated from Wylie High School in Abilene and is enrolled at HSU in the fall.
A memorial service is planned for Sunday, June 9, 2013, at Elmwood Funeral Home on Hwy 277 South in Abilene, Texas, with visitation starting at 2 p.m. Sunday.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Victoria Thibault Scholarship Fund, Hardin-Simmons University, Box 16100, Abilene, Texas, 79698.