Stephen Beasley Linnard Penrose, Jr. was born on March 19, 1908 in Walla Walla, Washington. He graduated from Whitman College with a BA, and came to AUB where he was taught physics from 1928 to 1931. He then returned to the US and enrolled at Columbia University, receiving a PhD in philosophy in 1934; that same year he married Margaret Date.

He was offered the job of president of AUB when Dodge retired in 1948. He accepted and was inaugurated at the opening of the 1948-49 academic year. The job of president of both AUB and International College was a challenging one. Funds were needed to keep both institutions going. Dodge made ambitious plans to raise ten and a half million dollars to cover the budget of the University for the next ten years.

During 1953 and 1954 he traveled extensively, making numerous trips to the US to secure the financing needed for expansion. He faced numerous challenges and obstacles which left little time for rest. On December 9, 1954, whilst drafting a new constitution for AUB; he worked late into the night. He then slept, never to wake up again. He was the second president to have given his life for AUB.

His book "That They May Have Life" is an invaluable story of the Syrian Protestant College/American University of Beirut.