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Penn State Love Stories: A Quirky Nickname And A THON Org Romance

Joining a club at Penn State is great way to meet friends as well as contribute to a good cause. But when Allie Slinger and Tom Mueller joined Springfield during their freshman year, neither one knew they’d leave with their future spouse.

The two students had been in the same THON org since the start of college, but they didn’t officially meet until the night of a casino-themed fundraiser they were both attending. Mueller laid his eyes on Slinger, but since he didn’t actually know her name, he instantly came up with a nickname so he could remember his crush.

“I was wearing a pale blue dress and so he decided to give me the nickname ‘Dorothy’ in his head after the girl from The Wizard of Oz,” Slinger said.

It was a fleeting moment, but Slinger and Mueller eventually met again, and this time they formed an instant friendship. As time went on, the pair began to hang out and attend events together, and they realized they had begun to develop feelings for each other. Both students were reluctant to confess their respective crushes — that is, until their frustrated friends decided to step in.

“I think both of us were too nervous to say anything to the other,” Slinger said. “Finally, after much prodding from friends, we began dating in March of 2015.”

Mueller graduated from Penn State after the fall 2016 semester and Slinger graduated that spring. The graduates have been devoted to the university ever since, and they decided to plan a trip to visit their alma mater in April. Little did Slinger know, however, that the trip would take a sudden turn.

The two were visiting some of their favorite spots on campus when they suddenly ran into one of Mueller’s friends near the We Are statue. The minute Slinger noticed the camera in the friend’s hand, she had a strange feeling something was going on.

“He offered to take a picture of us, and then Tom said he had something for me,” Slinger said. “Knowing how important THON was to me and our relationship, he had tracked down a logo shirt from 2016, my senior year.”

Mueller then told Slinger to turn the shirt around and look at the back. It read ‘Will you marry me?’ and Slinger instantly started to cry.

(Photo: Allie Slinger)

“Our friend was, of course, snapping away to capture the whole moment,” Slinger said. “Somehow between my sobs I managed to say yes.”

As an added surprise, Mueller had also invited both of their parents along for the evening to celebrate. The couple has now officially been together for more than two years and plans to marry in the near future.


If you’re interested in submitting your own Penn State love story, click here.

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About the Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]


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