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[Video] Penn Staters Celebrate Life Of Will Denton At Candlelight Vigil

The friends and family of Will Denton hosted members of the Penn State student body for a candlelight vigil in honor of the late sophomore Thursday evening outside Old Main. Denton, a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, was found dead in his single dorm on Monday, January 8 after his parents requested police conduct a wellness check.

Denton’s parents and brother traveled to the vigil from North Carolina, where his funeral service was held on Satuday, January 13. ATO alumni paid for buses for the chapter to attend the service and current members sat with the Dentons, per the family’s request.

ATO President Tanner Gattuso began the vigil with stories about Denton and his character, reminiscing about his first interaction with Will in fall 2016.

“The first impression he gave me was that he was the one who was always cracking jokes,” Gattuso said. “He had a smile that would brighten the room and a laugh you could recognize a mile away.”

Gattuso also stressed Denton’s love for community service and THON.

“He had an innate desire to help everyone,” Gattuso said. “He was easily the most passionate person in the house about THON.”

Denton’s father, Van, echoed Gattuso’s sentiments when he spoke on behalf of the family.

“He used to call and text us from all these little towns in Pennsylvania we never heard of before telling us how much money they made canning,” he said.

Van ended his remarks by thanking the Penn State community and the brothers of ATO for braving the cold and “giving the moments that Will had meaning.”

Following the candle lighting and a moment of silence, Grattuso recognized the crowd gathered as a testament to Denton’s impact at Penn State: “It just shows…that Will touched the lives of everyone he met.”

About the Author

Gabriela Stevenson

Gabriela is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism and Onward State's student life editor. She is from Norristown, PA, which she normally refers to as "30 minutes outside of Philadelphia" (she looked up the exact driving time). She enjoys Broadway musicals, neck pillows, and eating cereal at night. To contact Gabriela, e-mail her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @GabiStevenson if you want to feel young again.

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