More than $130,000 raised for scholarships at June 17 event

Doyon Foundation supporters came together to raise money for scholarships at the 2021 Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, which marked the 20th anniversary of the fundraiser.

After a year hiatus due to the pandemic, the event returned with strong support, including 116 golfers on 29 teams, more than 60 sponsors and more than 50 volunteers. The 2021 golf classic, held June 17 in Fairbanks, raised approximately $131,000 for the Morris Thompson competitive scholarship fund, named in memory of the late Morris Thompson, who served as president and CEO of Doyon, Limited from 1985 – 2000.

The 2021 golf classic took place at Chena Bend Golf Course on Fort Wainwright, where team 15 (Drew Mazzolini, Kirk Butcher, Andrew Honea and Paul Mazzolini) and team 30 (Connie Johnson, Martha Hanlon, Dee Liebl and Janette Smith) tied for first place.

The festivities continued at Pike’s Landing, where donors showed their generosity at the Fund the Future live donation event, and live and silent auctions, which featured items including a stay at Peppermill Resort, a Holland America cruise and a Denali getaway.

Attendees also heard from student speaker, Sheena Tanner, who graduated in December 2020 with her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Alaska Southeast.

Sheena shared how watching her mother obtain a degree inspired her own educational journey. “My mother graduated from UAF with her teaching degree when I was 8 years old,” she said. “Seeing the process firsthand of how beneficial an education is inspired me to earn my degree and start my career in a field that I am passionate about.”

Sheena took her time choosing her educational direction and completing her degrees. “I knew that my strengths were in organization and writing but I wasn’t ready to choose a degree program (after graduating high school),” she said. “I learned not to be impatient when it comes to my education and to assess my workload and move forward with what my schedule allowed.”

Her patience and persistence paid off, as Sheena now holds an Associate of Arts degree and a bachelor’s in criminal justice, in addition to her master’s degree. Doyon Foundation scholarships helped her along the way. “Because I was receiving a scholarship from Doyon Foundation, I used that as a driving force to get my work done, especially when the going got tough,” she said. “I would tell myself that I’m not just doing this for myself, I have others depending on me and others that have invested in me. It was a good reminder to keep moving forward.”

Today, Sheena encourages those around her to keep moving forward with their own education, including her niece, daughter and husband, who are all enrolled in programs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

“I’m so proud of my niece, daughter and husband, and especially thankful for Doyon Foundation and all of those who have contributed to the Foundation, as those contributions help to make educational goals possible,” Sheena said. “Education can lead to opportunities.”

The Foundation extends a special thank you to major sponsors KeyBank, Key Equipment Finance, Doyon Family of Companies and Council Tree Investors, as well as Robin Renfroe and Howie Thies, who celebrated 20 years of volunteering, and golfer Woody Wallis, who has participated in 19 of 20 golf classic events.

Since inception, proceeds from the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic have provided 214 scholarships totaling $556,180 to higher education students, including 2020 – 2021 recipients: Shane Derendoff, Cory LePore, Hannah Bagot, Andrianna Albert, and Calee Stark

The golf classic will return to a two-day format next year, with events taking place Thursday and Friday, June 23 and 24, 2022. Watch the Foundation website,, for 2022 event information or contact 907.459.2000 or with questions.