Murray State College community in mourning

By: KXII Staff Email
By: KXII Staff Email

TISHOMINGO, Okla. -- Condolences and prayers continue to go to out to the students and faculty at Murray State College in Tishomingo.

Dr. William Pennington, the president of the college, died over the weekend. Pennington and his wife were involved in a car accident near McAlester.

Marty Pennington was taken to a Tulsa hospital.


Memorial Service for Dr. William Pennington
Murray State College
Wednesday, 2:00 pm
Fletcher Hall

A memorial ceremony has been planned for Wednesday afternoon at two o’clock in the Fletcher Auditorium.

A memorial has also been set up at the Student Union Building on campus.

From the weekend...
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TISHOMINGO, Okla.—The Murray State College community is mourning the loss of its president, Dr. William Pennington. Pennington was killed in a car accident near McAlester late Saturday night, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Pennington, 64, and his wife, Marty were traveling five miles west of the Indian Nation Turnpike near Arpelar, on Highway 270. A car was swerving to avoid debris in the road, when it veered left of center, hitting Pennington’s car head-on. Pennington died at the scene. according to patrol reports.

Marty was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa where she’s listed in stable condition.

Dr. Pennington served as Murray State’s president since 2004. He was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma, but was raised in Duncan. He is survived by his wife, son David, his daughters Martha Link and Mallory Roark.

Everyone knew Dr. William Pennington as Bill. Not only did he serve as president of Murray State College for the past three years, he was also a leader in the community in more ways than one.

Flags fly at half staff honoring a college president and community leader. Now an entire city mourns the loss of Dr. William Pennington.
"He was like a breath of fresh air to Murray College," said Letha Clark, a family friend.

Others describe him as a likable person with a positive attitude, making great strides for the community.

"He never met a man he didn’t like or that didn’t like him."

Dr. Pennington became the 18th president of Murray State College in 2004, continuously bringing new opportunities for the students.

"He brought the Chautauqua to Murray College. “He was real enthusiastic about next years one hundred years for Murray State College."

Friends describe Pennington as a history buff, receiving his doctorate in history from the University of Oklahoma. He was also involved Johnston County historical society, and often demonstrated his love for Sooner state history. Pennington dressed up as the ninth Governor of Oklahoma during a campus symposium

"Just the willingness to be silly play like and dress up like ‘Alfalfa Bill’ just do his thing keep everyone in stitches were all going to miss him."

His community involvement stretched all across Tishomingo, serving on various committees. Pennington also served as president of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce. Even with all those titles, his friends say they'll miss his friendship the most.

"We just talked about things and laugh and joke about it that’s what I’ll miss about him is his friendliness... just Bill being Bill."

Dr. Pennington married his wife Dr. Marty Pederson, this past July. Pederson works as an East Central University professor. He is also survived by his three children: David, Martha, and Mallory.


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  • by Tikka Location: Dickinson, Texas on Oct 17, 2007 at 12:22 PM
    I did not have the opportuniy to meet Dr. Pennington, however. I did know his son David. David spoke so highly of his father, with such love and admiration. My grandaughter, Liz - a friend of Davids' - has also often said that Dr. Pennington was truly a gracious man - she admired him greatly, and always enjoyed being in his company. My blessings and comfort to all of his family, they are in my prayers. Tikka
  • by Don and Donna Dobbs and Familly Location: Lone Grove on Oct 16, 2007 at 12:01 PM
    I am a student at Murray State College. Just wanted to say that he was a really nice guy. I meet him for the first time 2 weeks ago. He shook my hand and he did not know who I was and came up and started talking to me and it was just like he knew me. It was just like he has never met a stranger type person. He will surly be missed at the college. Dr. Penningtons familly is in my prayer.
  • by JB Location: Calera, but Tish will always be home. on Oct 16, 2007 at 07:30 AM
    A true loss for MSC and Tishomingo. As a former resident of Tish and employee of MSC, I met Dr. Pennington and his wife this past Christmas during the county wide Christmas dinner, one of the many functions and activities that they were involved in with the community and MSC. Always heard good things from employees and students about Dr. Pennington and have noticed the improvements on the campus of MSC. He was always looking toward the future of the students, employees, and MSC. Prayers go out to the family, staff, students,and the community for such a tragic loss.
  • by MSC student Location: Madill on Oct 15, 2007 at 08:48 PM
    Dr.Pennington will be missed so much by everyone. I am very blessed to have know him. I hope that his wife has a succesful recovery and my heart goes out to both of the families involved. MSC loves you Dr. Pennington
  • by Tina Location: Duncan on Oct 15, 2007 at 06:40 PM
    Pat, Jay Todd & the rest of the family. My heart & prayers go out to you and everyone in the family.
  • by Karen Location: Tishomingo on Oct 15, 2007 at 05:15 PM
    Dr. Pennington will be greatly missed and his family is in our prayers. He never gave up on the college or on our town. He did what he thought was best for the students! He will be missed by many!
  • by Tishomingo Resident on Oct 15, 2007 at 04:04 PM
    This was a man who really cared about others. The only people who didn't like him where those who wanted it to be all about politics and who you know. Now MSC starts the long road of finding a new president, and they will never find one who cares about quality education, and students as much as this one.
  • by Kari Location: Sapulpa on Oct 15, 2007 at 02:11 PM
    I am so sad to hear the news about Dr. Pennington. I graduated from Northwestern (Enid Campus)in 2000. When my father passed away suddenly in December of 1999, Dr. Pennington sent me a card in the mail the very next day. My final semester was difficult as I was grieveing but he encouraged me everytime he saw me. If not for him, I never would have graduated. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of this wonderful man.
  • by Anonymous Location: Tishomingo on Oct 15, 2007 at 12:45 PM
    There are not many people like Bill Pennington. He was truly a special person. His smiling face and wonderful personality will be missed. Tishomngo and Murray College will truly miss this impressive man. Condolences to his wife of only a short time, Marty. We wish her a speedy recovery.
  • by CK Location: Tishomingo on Oct 15, 2007 at 11:54 AM
    To abominable in Texas, Absolutely the other people in the accident are important! Everyone in Tishomingo and at MSC are praying for them and their families. Just because their identites have not been revealed (perhaps a family decision) do not mean that we are uncareing and don't put great importance on the other lives that were affected.
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