MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Jerry Penner, CEO of the Murray-Calloway County Hospital and advisor of the Murray State University chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, has been named Chapter Advisor of the Year.
Penner received the award at the national convention in Memphis July 29. In addition, the MSU chapter, Epsilon Lambda, received the 100-percent Phi Phi Kappa award for donations for ongoing education, the Level II Recruitment Award, the International Work Day recognition, the Top 3 finalist for New Safety and Health Program and the Ray Orians Chapter Excellence Award (first since 1999).
The Murray Pikes also won two alumni awards — the Alumni Advisory Board of the Year and the William R. Nester Alumni Association of the Year (chapter based) — for the third time in four years.
Students attending the conference from the MSU chapter were Cole Cracker, Paxton Crider, Tanner Weatherbee, Graham Martin, John Ryne Winchester, Keenan Lautner, Suphat Yoopensuk,
Preston Merriss, Brett Sorrels, Mathew Hammett, Clay Bryan, Brien Dossett and Craig Lamb. Lamb is the student vice president on the PiKA Supreme Council.
A 1982 Murray State graduate with a major in biology and a minor in military science, Penner served four years in the Army Reserves before entering active duty in February 1986. He retired on June 30, 2011 with 29 years of commissioned service at the rank of colonel.
Among his military command assignments was serving as commander of the theater’s largest trauma center in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. Penner earned a Master of Health Care Administration degree from Baylor University and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U. S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. His other military education includes officer basic and advance courses, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Command and General Staff College and the Senior Service College.
His military awards and certifications include the Legion of Merit (three awards), Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (seven awards), Army Commendation Medal (three awards), Army Achievement Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Army Superior Unit Award, Overseas Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Ribbon, Expert Field Medical Badge and the Airborne and Air Assault Badge.
A board-certified healthcare administrator, Penner is a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives. He received the 1995 Excellence in Service Leadership Award by the Arizona Hospitals and Healthcare Networks and the American College of Healthcare Executives 2007 Regent’s Award.
He was added to the Murray State ROTC Wall of Honor as a distinguished graduate of Murray State in 2014. He is a Murray Chamber of Commerce Trustee, president of of the Board of Governors of the Murray State University Alumni Association and the current chairman of the Kentucky Hospital Association.
Since returning to Murray in April, 2011 to become CEO of the hospital, he has been active with the Pike chapter. He is chairman of the Alumni Advisory Board, the Membership Chairman and President of the 160-member Epsilon Lambda Alumni Association, secretary of the Housing Corporation and chapter advisor.
Penner was named the Outstanding MSU Fraternity Advisor in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
“Jerry serves not only as a wonderful example for the young men of Epsilon Lambda but also as a consummate volunteer and servant-leader among our Racer alumni,” said Carrie McGinnis, Murray State University director of alumni relations. “As the president of the Murray State University Alumni Association Board of Governors, he is always the first to step forward and ask how he can help to fulfill the mission of the Alumni Association and that of the University as a whole.”