Anna Marian Shannon, 90

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Dr. Anna Marian Shannon died in Bozeman on April 1, 2019, her 90th birthday.

Anna, dean emeritus of the College of Nursing at Montana State University, received her registered nursing degree from Missouri Baptist in 1950, Bachelor of Science degree from University of Missouri in 1955, Master of Science degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1957, and was one of the first nurses to earn a doctoral degree in nursing, a D.N.S., at University of California San Francisco in 1970. Anna was acting chair of Mental Health and Community Nursing at UCSF before returning to her beloved Montana in 1975 to be the dean of nursing at MSU, a position she held until her retirement in 1990. During her tenure, she expanded student enrollment, including collaborating with the former diploma nursing program through St. Patrick Hospital to create the Missoula campus of MSU College of Nursing.

Her professional contributions and honors were many, including Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a founding member of both the Western Society for Research in Nursing and Western Institute of Nursing. She was the recipient of the UCSF Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Missouri-Columbia Citation of Merit, and MSU Blue & Gold and Extraordinary Ordinary Women Award. In collaboration with her counterparts at two other nursing schools, Anna developed a consortium of nursing schools in Montana to better serve the state and nursing education.

While Anna received ample professional recognition, it is the awards given in her name that honor her enduring impact. In 1992, in recognition of her unselfish efforts to support and promote the professional growth of other nurses across the West, the Western Institute of Nursing established the Anna M. Shannon Mentorship Award, given annually in her honor. Those who were lucky enough to be mentored by Anna often reflected that she saw more in them than they saw in themselves. She pushed them to achieve beyond what they thought possible. Anna worked tirelessly to inspire nursing faculty — particularly those in rural states — to engage in scholarship and pursue doctoral education to advance their academic careers. Anna Shannon helped to change the face of nursing across the rural West.

Anna was born in Dillon to the Rev. Richard Orwin and Dr. Mabel Wartig Shannon and grew up in Lewistown, Montana, and Perry, Missouri.

She is survived by her nieces and nephews, Sarah Shannon of Bozeman, Gail (Mike) Gagnon of St. Louis, Polly Shannon of Eugene, Oregon, Margaret (Errol Meidinger) Shannon of Rock Creek, Montana, Craig (Peggy) Helsher of St. Louis, and many “grand” nieces and nephews.

No memorial service is planned.

Donations may be made in Anna’s memory to either Western Institute of Nursing (www.winursing.org/donate/); MSU College of Nursing Anna M. Shannon Fund created to support faculty development and research (gifts@msuaf.org); or Yellowstone National Park which Anna considered “her” park (www.yellowstone.org/).

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