Alumnus Ian Rosenberger Named Homecoming 2015 Honorary Grand Marshal
Penn State Homecoming named its 2015 honorary grand marshal at the annual Legacy Celebration Wednesday: alumnus Ian Rosenberger. A 2004 Penn State graduate, Rosenberger studied agricultural extension and education leadership and served as the Undergraduate Student Government’s (UPUA’s predecessor) president.
Rosenberger’s also no stranger to Penn State Homecoming celebrations. He was named Homecoming king in 2003 as a student, and danced in THON that same year. This time, Rosenberger’s selection comes not from his contributions to Penn State, but for his aid to the Haitian community.
After 2010’s devastating earthquakes, which claimed upwards of 300,000 lives, Rosenberger felt he needed to lend a hand. He promptly founded Team Tassy and Thread. Team Tassy works to help people in poor conditions with few resources to find jobs. Team Thread, meanwhile, transforms trash from poor neighborhoods into fabric, which apparel and accessory brands then use to make their products appear more authentic.
Team Tassy’s name comes from a Haitian native Rosenberger met while working in the Caribbean country.
“Tassy was suffering from a life-threatening, tennis ball-sized tumor on his face,” the team’s website reads. “With the help of friends and donors, Ian and his team raised enough funds for Tassy to come to Pittsburgh for a series of surgeries to remove his tumor. The surgeries were a success.”
According to Thread’s website, the two teams work together to face one grand issue: multidimensional poverty.
Team Tassy has employed 300 Haitians, many of whom desperately sought help and a stable job. Along with Team Tassy, Thread has also made successful efforts by donating nearly two million pounds of recycled plastic from Haiti and Honduras. The plastic is then turned into finished goods.
Rosenberger’s efforts have earned him his share of recognition. Recently, he received the 2013 Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership award, a prestigious award given by the institute of the same name that works to craft ethical leaders.
Rosenberger’s made his way into pop culture as well, and he finished third in CBS’s “Survivor.” While on the show, he completed the longest endurance challenge ever in the show’s history, a whopping 11 hours and 55 minutes. Here’s a dramatic video of him hanging onto a pole during the show:
“We chose this year’s honorary grand marshal because Rosenberger has done a lot of notable things in his industry,” said Homecoming Alumni Relations Director Katrina Brintzenhoff in the Penn State news article. “He has given back to the community in many ways, and is a very down-to-earth person.”
Rosenberger has also traveled the country to share his stories of charitable work. Here he is three years ago at TEDxPSU, speaking about the self-development of developing countries.