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KPC Dr. Shelley A. Theno Psychology Endowed Scholarship

Dr. Shelley Ann Theno was born June 13, 1957, on the Aviano Air Force Base in Pordenone, Italy, to Betty A. (of Ireland and England) and Archibald “Scotty” Hendren (of Scotland). She graduated from Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1975.

Theno met her husband, Steve, when he was a cadet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He talked her into coming back to Anchorage with him, and they were married March 12, 1976. Although she grew up Outside, Theno was truly an Alaskan at heart and instantly fell in lifelong love with the vastness and beauty of Alaska’s mountains and water.

Theno was passionate about many things, but none so much as education. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Kansas in 1996 (where she also became an avid Jayhawks basketball fan). She was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Alaska Southeast from 1998 to 2003 and a tenured associate professor at UAA, Kenai Peninsula College, since 2003.

Theno was an inspiration to her colleagues and her students alike; she was known for encouraging them to succeed but challenging them to the highest academic standards. She enjoyed introducing her students to fresh ideas, alternative viewpoints, logical arguments and the scientific method. She considered it a great honor when her students presented her with a plaque thanking her for her devotion and commitment to them and her profession.

Theno also had a great passion for travel, and enjoyed the experience of new cultures, sites, people and history. She traveled throughout Europe as well as Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, and across the U.S. She cruised the Panama Canal, scaled the Sydney Harbor Bridge, drove across her homeland of Ireland with her mother and daughter, climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and ran the Colorado through the Grand Canyon.

Theno loved castles, game night, reading historical novels, kayaking, research and statistics, going to the movies, Circus Peanuts (the candy), learning to ride a motorcycle, “Law & Order,” Pepsi (into her 30s) and then Dr Pepper, Seawolf hockey (she was a devoted 25-year fan), and riding through the waves at the bow of a boat during stormy weather. She hated ignorance, boring clothes, mushrooms, and cat hair (but she did learn to love all of her daughter’s cats). But most of all, she enjoyed great friends and the chance for a robust discussion.

Theno will be remembered as a passionate, loving, intelligent, brave, stubborn, sassy and dedicated woman who maintained her wit, sense of humor, and skillful eyebrow arch until the very end. She is survived by her husband, Steve, and daughter, Seneca, both of Anchorage; mother, Betty Hendren of Tucson, Arizona; brother and sister-in-law, Scott and Donna Hendren of Greeley, Colorado; sister, Patricia Boyer of Colorado Springs, Colorado; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Scott and Lisi Theno of Pago Pago, American Samoa; several nieces and nephews; and friends and family all around the world.

Dr. Shelley Theno passed away in 2009.


If you are interested in supporting students through the student opportunity fund this donor supports, please note the UAA scholarship name within the gift designation section at: Donate Now.