Before speaking to an excited crowd at THON on Saturday, Jay Paterno called up THON 2013 overall chairman Will Martin and presented him with one of his father’s ties.
When Paterno spoke last year, he carried a mug with him on stage that he said he took from the former site of Joe Paterno’s statue near Beaver Stadium, and now he keeps it on his desk at home.
On that mug were the names of some Penn State students involved in the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. Martin's was one of those names.
“You gave me something to remember dad by, so I’m going to give you something to remember him by,” Paterno said before presenting Martin with one of Joe Paterno’s ties.
“I know the statue’s gone, but this is a memory I will have forever because of Will, because of THON and because of what you guys do,” Paterno told the crowd.
When speaking about his family, Paterno said his father is with everyone at the BJC in heart and spirit.
“He is looking down and is so proud of what all of you have done and what all of you are going to do this weekend,” Paterno said.
Paterno called THON “the greatest event that happens on any college campus anywhere in the world.”
Although Penn State has been through its share of obstacles over the past two years, Paterno said it’s important for students to remember that an event like THON is what separates Penn State from any other school in America.
“Don’t you ever, ever back down from the name Penn State,” Paterno said. “All of you will leave college knowing you inspired tomorrow's miracles and saved lives. Nothing can erase the history you will make here this weekend.”
Penn State Interfraternity Council President Chip Ray (senior-industrial engineering), who is also a dancer for the Acacia fraternity this year, said Paterno’s speech gave him a sense of pride for Penn State.
“The way he just connects recent events with what we do here — he hits home with every Penn State student,” Ray said.
Collegian staff writer Shannon Sweeney contributed to this report.