THON 2009

On Sunday I was reminded of yet another reason why I think we owe it to our students to make things right. THON 2009 wrapped up yesterday after raising a staggering 7.49 million dollars to help fight cancer. The last hour is always so emotional and while we didn’t make it this year I was able to follow Twitter streams, blog posts, and the Collegian’s coverage. These are students who dance for 46 hours … 46! They do it “For the Kids” and they do it because they are all amazing.

We have this football coach here at Penn State named Joe Paterno who has seen it all — undefeated seasons, Heisman Trophy winner, National Championships, and Saturdays with 110,000 people screaming for he and his players. When he says it is his proudest moment at PSU in 58 years you have to feel humbled by the enormity of it all. I have to say, I was moved to tears and am so thankful to be a part of this community.

There are very few times in my life I’m speechless, but I am now. I wish the whole world could see and feel what’s in this room right now. Love and commitment and the dedication that just reeks from this room. In my 58 years at Penn State, I’ve never been more proud than right now.

5 thoughts on “THON 2009

  1. It was an incredible experience. I will not soon forget the energy, strength, dancers, moralers, vibrant colors, FourDiamonds families,cheers, laughter, tears, and most of all … Penn State pride.

  2. THON is amazing. I did it twice in 1992 and 1993. It’s grown and changed a lot since my time, but it’s still a group of students who sacrifice a lot of their own time and energy to improve the future of children they don’t know. It’s more than the students and a 46-hour weekend. It involves fund raising, building corporate contacts, the logistics of marketing and running the event, and a whole team of people who just focus on the morale of the dancers.

    When people start talking about students and how they attend college just to get high grades and move on with their life, I think of THON. The difference is handing students a challenge that is important and relevant. Not all will step up, but the ones who do will bring their own motivation. It reminds me again of Wesch and his focus on asking interesting questions.

  3. @ Allan Gyorke I think that notion is at the core of what moves me so much — I love that they do this for the kids, but I am moved by the fact that they do this with such passion and energy. It makes me feel like we have a real responsibility to push them to engage in learning like this. To tell you the truth I am betting a really rich learning experience does come from THON … I imagine it could be tapped into as an event to create more engaging curricular moments. Just a thought.

  4. It’s hard to believe they used to hold this event in the White Bldg gym, and back then I think they only pulled in 1 or 2 million dollars (still not a bad haul at the time).

    BTW, if you didn’t get to see it, the sports teams each put on a dancing show to the tune of one of the Disney movies. Here are videos from the men’s hockey team and men’s gymnastics:


    It’s great how THON was so well covered on YouTube.

  5. @Cole Thon is a great example of cocurricular learning because all of the students who participate are all from different colleges, different majors, diverse backgrounds, etc., but they are all working towards a common goal, applying what they know, and learning about and from each other along the way. My next certificate (4 courses) is on Leadership. Thon will be used as a shining example of student leadership at Penn State

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