Onward State: Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About THON
By Mara Kern
THON has long been one of the largest and widely recognized organizations on campus, but there are many things in THON’s past that you might not know. Here is a list that the Onward State staff compiled of things that you (probably) didn’t know about THON.
1. Coors is a former sponsor – In 1989, Coors became the first corporate sponsor of the Penn State Dance Marathon. If you know someone with old THON T-shirts, check out the back and see if you can spot the Coors logo.
2. THON wasn’t always 46 Hours – The first THON in 1973 lasted only 30 hours. Out of 39 couples, only 17 were able to finish the dance marathon. Then, in 1974, THON was extended to 48 hours. In 2007 when THON moved to the Bryce Jordan Center it was shortened to only 46 hours.
3. The First line Dance took place in 1976, which was also the first year a theme was revealed — “Dance For Those Who Can’t.” Several years later in 1987, The IFC Dance Marathon officially became known as THON.
4. For the first six years of THON, dancers competed against each other. Those who raised the top amount of pledges, as well as those who took the least amount of breaks were given prizes, including monetary rewards. This was also the same year that the annual Road To THON celebration was introduced.
5. Larry Moore danced in THON 1977, and 1982 was the first year to have over 500 dancers.
6. Until 1977, when THON paired with the Four Diamonds Fund, the money raised was donated to various causes including the Butler County Association of Retarded Children, the American Heart Association and Easter Seals society.
7. In order to meet the demands of the growing event, THON was moved from the HUB (where it had been located since the inaugural year in 1973) to the White Building in 1979.
8. Each participating commonwealth campus held a 24-hour dance marathon to determine who would represent it at the University Park Dance Marathon in 1984.
9. There used to be themed events throughout THON weekend each year, including a “time warp.” For this theme, festivities from every month were celebrated including an Easter egg hunt and a summer beach party during the weekend.
10. Miss America spoke at the THON kickoff dinner in 1989. Then, in 1990, Panhellenic was officially added to THON’s name.
If you would like to find out more about THON’s history, check out this great resource.