The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans has selected Roger Penske as one of 11 recipients of an award which honors outstanding individuals who encourage youth to pursue their dreams through higher education.
The Horatio Alger Association, named after a 19th century author who wrote "rags-to-riches" stories of endeavor, is a non-profit educational organization which annually honors and inducts “admirable leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversity, and who are committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their local communities.”
Penske Corporation, through such subsidiaries as the Penske Automotive Group and Penske Truck Leasing, creates more than $26 billion in revenue, operates more than 3,300 locations and employs more than 50,000 people worldwide. This also year marked the 50th anniversary of Team Penske.
Although born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, studying at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn., and having his race team operate from Mooresville, NC, Penske Corp.’s hub is Bloomfield Hills in Detroit, MI. On the philanthropic front, in 2006 Penske chaired the Host Committee for Super Bowl XL held in Detroit, and set in motion initiatives to help improve the city. The press release from the HA Association listed “Downtown Detroit Partnership, Clean Downtown, M-1 RAIL and $8 million of private funding for new police and EMS vehicles” among the programs that have benefited from Penske.
The Downtown Detroit Partnership, for which Penske is chairman, organizes IndyCar's Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle, and the organizers and partners are said to have contributed more than $13.5m to improving the Belle Isle region alone.
“Roger’s strong work ethic and determination to reach his goals is admirable and inspiring,” said Byron Trott, president of the Horatio Alger Association. “My fellow Members and I congratulate Roger on his induction into the Association, recognizing his self-made success, entrepreneurial vision and commitment to giving back.
“We look forward to working with him to further encourage our Scholars to follow their dreams, no matter the adversities they face.”
Penske himself said: “It is a privilege to receive the Horatio Alger Award alongside 10 remarkable men and women.
“I was fortunate enough to have a strong support network growing up and I learned the importance of believing in yourself and having the courage to take the first step toward your dream.
“We are all stronger and more capable than we think, and I hope to convey that message to as many young people as possible through my work with the Association.”
The Horatio Alger Association awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities, and these scholarships are funded solely by Association Members, Life Partners and friends. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, the Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $125 million to students in need.
Penske and the Member Class of 2017 will be formally inducted into the Association on March 30-April 1, 2017, in Washington, D.C.