February 2012  
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Six to receive Distinguished Alumni Awards in 2012
Financial Times ranks Smeal MBA Program 6th among U.S. public programs
College of Communications launches student media website
Lead blood levels may increase smokers' risk for kidney cancer
The Medical Minute: Fighting heart disease in women
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Penn State Well-Represented on Super Bowl XLVI Squads
No. 2 Nittany Lion Wrestlers Set for Conference Weekend Test
Walsh, Lion Alums Earn Trips to London 2012 Olympics
Women's Gymnastics Defeats Minnesota
Men's Volleyball Opens Home Slate Friday
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THON: 4 Ways FTK

Photo by Annemarie Mountz

Gas for commuting families of The Four Diamonds Fund. Wigs for children who have lost their hair. Research to find ways to better treat—and maybe some day cure—cancer. Each dollar donated to THON makes a difference. THON 2012 is just a couple of weeks away, and it’s not too late to show support.

Formally known as the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, THON—the largest student-run philanthropy in the world—is made possible by the yearlong efforts of 15,000 student volunteers. For the past couple of years, more than 700 dancers have participated in the 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon.

THON was born in 1973, when president of the Interfraternity Council Bill Lear ’73 proposed raising money by holding a 30-hour dance marathon, fashioned after the popular dance marathons from the 1920s and 1930s. More than $2,000 was raised that first year, when 39 couples took to the ballroom dance floor in the HUB. Those proceeds were donated to the Butler County Association for Retarded Children. Who would have thought then that Lear’s idea would pave the way for raising more than $78 million over nearly four decades?

Photo by Annemarie Mountz

In 1977, with 62 couples participating in the fifth annual Dance Marathon, the proceeds of more than $28,000 were directed to a fledgling charity at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center called The Four Diamonds Fund. Founded just one year before the first Dance Marathon, The Four Diamonds Fund helped children diagnosed with cancer and their families. In 1978, this charity became the permanent beneficiary of THON.

THON is now supported by alumni, friends and family in Penn State’s immediate community, across Pennsylvania and around the world. Beloved Coach Joe Paterno and his wife, Sue, have been among THON’s loyal supporters through the years.

“When they say, ‘We Are Penn State,’ this is what they are talking about,” Joe Paterno once said while rousing the dancers and the crowd during a THON weekend.

Become inspired by watching promotional videos—and archived videos from previous years—on THON’s website by clicking here.

Whether alumni are in San Francisco or Scranton, Daytona or Denver, staying connected to THON and Penn State is easier than ever. Join the Penn State Alumni Association, a major THON sponsor for years, in supporting THON and The Four Diamonds Fund, which—in the end—is all “For the Kids.” Below are some ways to support this one-of-a-kind endeavor.

Photo by Dave McKeown

This is the place to start. Photos and videos of past THONs? They’re on there. History of The Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital? It’s there. What’s it like for the families touched by childhood cancer and helped by the staff and services of The Four Diamonds Fund? Learn about several families in the “Meet a Family” section. The site also features a calendar of events, a brief history of THON and a summary of fundraising activities.

Donate to THON 2012
Donate early and often. Penn State students traditionally go “canning” during the weeks leading up to THON, although this year several canning trips were canceled due to weather and events on campus. If you didn’t drop a donation in a can, it’s not too late to make a donation now online. Click here.

Photo by Annemarie Mountz

Buy THON Goodies at the THON Store
Support THON and get good stuff at the same time. THON winter hats, T-shirts, hoodies, keychains, the 2012 THON travel mug and more are all available at the THON Store website.

Send Mail to Encourage Dancers
Remember how it felt to receive a care package from home while studying hard at college? The dedicated students who spend 46 hours without sleep or without even a moment’s rest sitting down need all the motivation and encouragement they can get to stay on their feet. Write a letter or send a package today, to make the postmark deadline of Feb. 7. Find out more by clicking here.

Published by Penn State Alumni Association
Copyright © 2012 Penn State Alumni Association. All rights reserved.
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