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May 15, 2015 10:40 AM, EDT

University of Memphis Establishes Award Honoring Trucking-Industry Figure Mike Pennington

Mike Pennington, Photo by John Sommers II for TT

The University of Memphis has established the D. Mike Pennington Award for Outstanding Mentoring to honor a longtime trucking-industry figure who died in December.

Pennington died of a heart attack while out with his wife, Patsy, and friends. He spent 25 years in corporate communications and 15 years as a business magazine journalist, editor and photographer, primarily in trucking and affiliated industries.

The honor is the first faculty award in the school’s Department of Journalism and the first mentoring award in the College of Communications and Fine Arts.

It will annually recognize a journalism faculty member “who has been an exemplary guide to students during their learning experience,” according to the University of Memphis.

The Pennington family and friends created the tribute to honor Mike Pennington's dedication to helping others and his loyalty to his alma mater.

A Memphis, Tennessee, native, David Michael Pennington earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Memphis in 1972. He began his career as a reporter and editor for Southern Motor Cargo magazine.

Pennington worked for Meritor — beginning with Rockwell International in 1985 and later with ArvinMeritor, which spun off from that company — for 25 years, until retiring as senior director of marketing communications in 2010.

He was a member of American Trucking Associations since 1978, vice chairman of ATA’s Communications and Image Policy Committee since May 2013 and an advocate for the industry’s Trucking Moves America Forward image campaign.