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Bill O'Brien at THON: This is What Makes Penn State the 'Greatest University in the World'

by on February 17, 2013 1:16 PM

Bill O'Brien believes Penn State is embodied in four parts: courage, wisdom, honesty and strength – THON's four main principles. 

Penn State's head football coach took the stage in a packed-to-capacity Bryce Jordan Center with only three hours left in the 46-hour Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon and with a booming voice, reinvigorated the 710 dancers and all of their supporters.

O'Brien said last year, he was a rookie, new to Penn State and new to THON. He spent the last year reading up on the largest student-run philanthropy to learn everything he could about it.

"If there's one thing I've learned in the last year at Penn State, [THON] is what we as a university, as a student body are all about," O'Brien said.

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"People say to me all the time in the last few months, they say, 'thank you.'

"I say, thank you. In my opinion, this is the greatest university in the country [and] in the world.

"And it's really because of this thing," O'Brien said. 

The coach may have revealed the time to the dancers when he said there were only three hours left in THON, but he only kept going, pumping up the crowd like a huddle, thousands of people strong.

"This is the fourth quarter, so we have to start this now, we have to push," O'Brien said, starting a 'We Are' chant. 

O'Brien walked off stage, making way for the Four Diamonds Families to tell their personal stories in the final hours of THON. 


Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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