Timothy Pennings grew up in rural Minnesota and decided in the ninth grade that he wanted to teach mathematics or physics at the highest level possible. To that end, he attended the University of North Dakota for his Bachelor’s and Masters of Science degrees in Mathematics and Physics.
While in North Dakota, Dr. Pennings won a limerick contest with:
There once was a mathematician
Who took his dear wife out a fishin’.
When she fell from the boat,
All he did was note,
She had changed her coordinate position.
Dr. Pennings pursued his Ph.D. at Iowa State University from 1982-87 and accepted a teaching position at Hope College, a liberal arts college in Holland MI. In 2013, he left Hope College to chair the Mathematics Department at Davenport University with campuses throughout Michigan.
With interests in mathematical modeling and the infinite, Tim’s claim to fame was his calculus-knowing dog Elvis, with whom he coauthored a half dozen papers and gave over 200 talks. As a student once explained, “Dr. Pennings has become famous just by having a dog who is better looking than he is… even when the dog is running away!” Humor is clearly a part of Dr. Pennings’ approach to Math!