Penn State Dance Marathon Speech

Let Them Come to THON

The Bryce Jordan Center-University Park, PA

February 19, 2012

Just bear with me for a couple of minutes, it’s been an emotional time the last couple of months. But you guys are in the home stretch right now and everybody, every Penn Stater salutes what you’re doing right now so give yourselves a round of applause.

 

I want to do a quick shout out to Karisa and Troy the Paternoville dancers, and a special thank you to the Paternoville students. At a time when people were running to take Joe’s name off things, they stood and kept it, and I thank them.

 

I want to thank all of you for what you’ve given our family the last couple months and certainly the last couple of weeks.

 

But I want to talk about what you’re doing today.

 

Robert F Kennedy said one time, he said “Only those that dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” That has never been more evident than it is right in this room guys. You have achieved greatly.

 

When the storm clouds gathered around this campus in November, a lot of people ran for the hills, not the students who are leaders of THON. You guys stood your ground, kept up the fight and later on this afternoon you’re gonna shock the world, you’re gonna shock the world.

 

Your leadership, YOUR leadership—Student leadership is going to tell the world what Penn State is all about once again. Your leadership and it’s going to happen this afternoon.

 

When all those satellite trucks showed up on Old Main lawn and across the street from my Dad’s house, we all took some hits. A lot of things were said about Penn Staters, Penn State students, all of you suffered those allegations-none of which you had anything to do with.

But I challenge them to come back and see what is in THON. I challenge them, I say to them Let Them Come to THON.

 

When people doubt what Penn State is all about…Let Them Come to THON.

 

When the world wants to see what courage and leadership is…Let Them Come to THON.

 

When they want to see the good that young people do in this country, despite all that is written about young people. When they want to see the good that you do and the lives you are saving….Let Them come to THON.

 

When they want to see how Penn Staters stand up for themselves when others try to define us with their agenda…Let them Come to THON.

 

When they want to see how we Make an Impact on the world…..Let them come to THON.

A Couple of last things….

 

First of all one of the moving things for myself was going up to Joe’s statue at odd hours when people weren’t around. When it was all said and done they collected everything and the one thing that I kept was this mug. Now you can’t see it in the back, but is a Dance Marathon 2012 Mug.

 

I want to thank Will Martin, Pat Howley, and two people who would’ve gotten a shout out if their hand writing was legible at all—but there were two other guys on the mug. That mug sits on my desk every day to remind me what THON is about, what Penn State is about and what you are all about.

In the movie Gladiator Maximus says to his soldiers “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” It was true of my father and it is true of THON. You have and you will save lives.

 

Every year that they do this, and for the last forty-two hours and with four to go—You fought. You’re fighting for the lives you’ve saved, the lives you’re saving now and more importantly you’re fighting for the children who will be diagnosed in the future and to save their lives.

 

In conclusion I just want to wrap up here because I know you have a lot more fun stuff to do and a lot more important people to hear from.

 

If you live to be 100 years old, if you live to be 100 years old, what you’ve done here for the past two days, weeks, months, all the time you’ve put into this. What you’ve done will echo in eternity.

 

You represent the best of our alma mater. In the Alma mater it talks about Love and Loyalty, and it says let our lives but swell thy fame. You have already done that, you have already lived up to that.

 

You have made an impact on the world already at your young age. So even if you live to be 100 you’ve already done what my father’s father told him and what my father told me Make an Impact.

 

I say to the world if you want to know what Penn State is and you want to know what WE ARE means… Let Them Come to THON.

 

Thank you very much.

© 2014 Jay Paterno