Mark Thelen, PhD (1935-2017)

Mark H. Thelen, Ph.D
(December 13, 1935 – September 18, 2017)              

Shirley A. Thelen
(September 13, 1933 – April 14, 2018)

It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing last fall of Professor Emeritus Mark Thelen, and more recently his wife, Shirley Thelen. Dr. Thelen was a longtime faculty member in the department. He served as Director of Clinical Training for more than 20 years, overseeing well over 100 doctoral students in clinical psychology (and with his wife Shirley, hosting some very memorable clinical area parties at their home!). Mark mentored countless undergraduate and graduate students who went on to successful careers in psychology, and published numerous articles in the areas of eating disorders, intimate relationships, and professional issues. He maintained an active clinical practice throughout his career and supervised many future clinicians.

Mark was also active and engaged in a rich personal life, with his wife and lifelong partner, Shirley Thelen, four children and their spouses, children, and grandchildren. He loved spending time with family and friends, running on the Katy Trail or shooting hoops, enjoying summers in Michigan, or simply hanging out in the backyard or basement of his comfortable home.  Mark and Shirley were both enthusiastic supporters of Mizzou athletics and if you were lucky, you could occasionally use their season tickets to football or basketball games. The tickets were quite good, because as Mark noted, he made sure to keep them during the teams' down years with the assurance that "they'll be good again someday" (great advice, Mark!).

Dr. Thelen’s impact on the clinical program and especially his contributions as a mentor, are honored with the Mark H. Thelen Outstanding Clinical Graduate Student Award. Initiated in 2006 with annual donations from the clinical faculty and from Dr. Thelen himself, the award recognizes up to two clinical students each year whose accomplishments exemplify the values of psychological clinical science to which Mark devoted his career. We are thrilled that Dr. Thelen’s family has continued to support this award through requesting donations in both Mark’s and Shirley’s memories. We know that the student recipients, most of whom only know Mark by reputation or from his occasional visits to clinical seminar following his retirement, will help carry on Mark's legacy of a lifetime of service to psychological science through teaching and mentoring, clinical service, and research. Donation inquiries can be directed to the MU Department of Psychological Sciences (573-882-6860) or




Mark Thelen