THON – It Begins!

From my SHC blog.


Being a Scholar is more than just good grades. At Penn State anyone who has a high enough GPA and class ranking can graduate with highest distinction, but a Schreyer Scholar is a student who not only succeeds academically but also engages the world around them and leads others in bringing a true, positive, and lasting change in this world.

Penn State is, of course, full of students, faculty, and staff who work for just such positive change every day and perhaps the single most obvious example of that effort is the annual THON. The Penn State Dance Marathon is the largest student-led college philanthropy in the world. Last year students raised $4.2 million for pediatric cancer research and for the last 30 years they have been partnered with the Four Diamonds Fund, a charity of the Penn State Children’s Hospital. Over 700 dancers will take to the floor tonight, February 16th and will not leave until 46 hours have passed. Thousands of friends, students, faculty, and staff will be there to support them. Most importantly, 187 THON families, children and their families who are directly benefiting from this charity will be there joining in on the fun, dancing, playing, and one will even celebrate his 8th birthday.

As a parent it is impossible for me to read about these young children, from 3 months to 23 years old, who are struggling for their very lives, and not be moved. But with the welling tears my pride swells to know that our students are working so hard for something so very good. The Schreyer Honors College has three teams representing the best of SHC. Our “official” team is SHC-THON, but the residents of Atherton and Simmons were not content with just one team and so Atlas House and Springfield House have been working just as hard to raise funds and a select group of dancers, who have forgone caffeine for the last two weeks, will take to the floor and eschew sleep for the next two days.

Leadership is not about giving orders or rushing into battle. It is providing the right example to others and a willingness to do it oneself and all the while doing it for the good of others. Our THON teams and all those at PSU who have worked to make this multi-million dollar success are leading the way, giving of themselves to help the lives of thousands of young children and their families.

-Dean Brady

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