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Staff Picks: An Ode To Penn State Dads

Oh, dads. Where would we be without them? For as long as we’ve known them, they’ve worn those chunky New Balance sneakers, mowed the lawn with pleasure, and told far too many dad jokes.

But Penn State dads are unlike any other. They’re grade-A tailgaters, unrelenting football fans, and always ready to crack open a cold one and cheer on the Nittany Lions. Most importantly, behind every Nittany Lion is a Penn State dad.

Fathers deserve praise every day, but especially on Father’s Day. With that in mind, we set out to reflect on what our Penn State dads mean to us.

Alysa Rubin

Dad, I cannot thank you enough for everything that you do for me. I am the luckiest daughter in the world to have you as my dad! Today and every day, I am so grateful to have you as the best dad in the world (unbiased, of course.) Thank you for constantly supporting of my passions, calling me every day to check up on me while I’m away, teaching me what good music is, and enduring Philly sports pain with me. I can’t wait for you and Mom to come up for a game this year! I love you!

Aubrey Miller

To my best friend and the best 2-in-1 parent: I am so thankful to have a father like you. It takes a certain type of man to raise three daughters, and you did so with love and patience. When I begin to think of all you’ve done for me and my sisters, I am blown away by your selflessness and strength. As the years go by and I get older, you’ve not only remained an incredible father, but you’ve also become my support system and closest friend. All the trips to the nursery and coffee shops with you over the last year have truly kept me sane, and every day I think about how lucky I am to have you in my life. Even though you tease me about going to Penn State and not Ohio State, I know how supportive you are (and that you’re secretly a Penn Stater at heart)!

Charles Reinert

A relationship between a father and son is a unique one. It can be complex, yet simple at the same time. This is a good way to explain my relationship with my father. It’s complex in the way that we don’t always see eye to eye on things but still love each other deeply and want what’s best for each other. But it’s simple in the fact that we support each other through everything. My dad has had a huge influence on me. From my running habits to my major in college, Peter James Reinert taught me a lot of things I know about myself and about the world around me. He taught me to strive to be better every day, whether it’s physically or through my work. Those lessons and memories are priceless, and they’re something that can never be taken away. Today and always, Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Connor Donohue

Now, this is the man that got me sipping the Penn State kool-aid. My dad graduated from Penn State back in 1992 and raised me in blue and white. When it came time to go to school, despite his claims that I could’ve gone anywhere, Penn State was the only real choice for me. My father is my biggest fan, supporting me in everything I do. Ever since I was a kid, whenever I have a passion, he always encourages and helps me to pursue it. During my sophomore year, I told him I wanted to pursue journalism as a major, and he never questioned it. Instead, he told me to go all-in and be great at what I do. When I joined Onward State back in the fall, he started opening and reading the blog every morning to see if I wrote something. He loves that I love what I do and that support has made me into the man I am today. He also loves to brag about me on the Penn State Parents Facebook page. I can go on and on about my dad, but I guess all I can say right now is Happy Father’s Day. I love you, Dad.

Dana Nunemacher

Hi, Dad! Remember that one time we went to a Penn State game and ended up in overtime against Appalachian State? Despite the stress, it is one of my favorite Penn State memories with you. Dad, thank you for being my No. 1 fan. I know I can always count on your 100% support in everything I do. Not only are you the best dad ever, but you are also a five-star tailgate host. You park a motorhome in the tailgate lots at 6 a.m. like no one else and are a wing-making expert. I can’t wait to be tailgating again with you soon. I miss you, but don’t worry, I sleep with the cow pillow you got me for Christmas every night to remind me home is never that far away. Happy Father’s Day! I love you!

Frankie Marzano

I don’t even know how I could possibly begin to describe the influence that my dad has had on my life. From instilling Penn State pride in me as a baby to critiquing my report cards in middle school to allowing me to work alongside him for over a year now, my dad has made me the best version of myself that I could possibly be. He is one of the only people in this world that would drop anything and do everything he possibly can to make me (and my family) as happy as possible, and it doesn’t go unnoticed! Even after two years of being a Penn State student, I still get goosebumps when I walk across Old Main Lawn and remember that I am following in his exact footsteps. Dad, if you’re reading this, Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for making me into the man I am today. More importantly, thank you for making me a Nittany Lion.

Gabe Angieri

Happy Father’s Day to the GOAT, Big Ant. I can’t thank you enough for all you do for me and all you’ve taught me over the years. I’ll never take for granted all the memories we have and all the stories I now have to tell (you know what I’m talking about). I’ve come to appreciate your atrocious sense of humor and all the dad jokes that come along with it. Yes, I even laugh most of the time now. I know Anthony, Andrew, and me do a lot of stupid shit that annoys the hell out of you, so take this day and enjoy it. Love you, pops!

Haylee Yocum

Happy Father’s Day to the guy who is the reason I am at Penn State! A few years ago when you started working on campus, I could tell how much you loved it and how much pride you took in being part of the Penn State community. For a while, I hated the thought of being so close to home for college. Now, I am happy to share that same pride with you and view this campus through the lenses that you do. It brings me so much comfort to know that you’re only a short walk away in the Food Science Building. Thank you for bringing me leftovers from dinner, random necessities, surprise pints of ice cream, and letting me talk about my day after I’ve been stuck inside studying even though you probably just want to go home. If anybody sees him around, be sure to thank him for regulating the temperatures of the creamery freezers and the ice rinks in Pegula. Happy Father’s Day to Penn State’s best ammonia operator and one of the best dads out there!

Hope Damato

Hi, dad! Thank you for being my No. 1 fan through it all. Without you, I probably wouldn’t be at Penn State and tailgating with you every fall. You showed me around campus, took me to my first football game, and let me take home all the Creamery ice cream I wanted after every trip. One of my favorite pictures of us is my first Halloween when you dressed as the Nittany Lion and I was a Penn State cheerleader. 

You introduced me to all my favorite sports, were the only dad at my dance rehearsals, and taught me how to make pizzelles. Thank you for all that you’ve done for me, especially in the past month with my broken foot and blood clots. I couldn’t do life without you. Happy Father’s Day. I love you!

Katie Braun

My dad didn’t go to Penn State. But after one kid graduated and another is on the way (hopefully), you can’t help but love the school. There’s no one else I’d rather have randomly blast the chants he recorded at football games on the speaker outside, taunting the Ohio State fan who lives next door. Thanks for always cracking jokes even though I may act like they aren’t funny. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. You’re the best.

Lauren Wysseier

Dad, thank you for being the reason I fell in love with Penn State. Growing up and hearing about the unforgettable memories you made in State College…I had no choice but to follow in your footsteps. I couldn’t be luckier in the dad department. Thank you for making me laugh in any circumstance, pushing me to follow my dreams, and inspiring me every day. Here’s to being the only two in the family hype for game-day. Is it time for Julia to apply yet? I love you to Beaver Stadium and back. Happy Father’s Day!

Mackenzie Cullen

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, Jack Cullen! I’m so thankful that we’re both Penn Staters and extra thankful for our trips to the Creamery. Also, thanks for always telling me that my articles are always great…even if I don’t think so.

Matt DiSanto

Happy Father’s Day, dad. As always, thank you for your endless support as I follow my passions at Penn State. More importantly, thank you for always supporting Onward State. It means the world to me when I see you liking all of the Onward State Feed tweets every morning while you read through them and eat breakfast before work. I wish I was home to watch the Sixers and Phillies with you tonight, but I’ll still suffer alongside you either way. As a wise man once said, “You gotta believe!”

Rory Pelella

Dad, thank you so much for always being there for me, supporting me, and having my back. I love every second I get to spend by your side. From playing catch in the backyard or running around the hallways of your office when I was little to going grocery shopping together each week to watching Yankees games and listening to Bruce, all of my favorite memories involve you! Thank you for being the best father, coach, running partner, and friend I could ask for. I love you!

Ryan Parsons

Happiest of Father’s Day to my dad, who didn’t think I was special enough to carry on the Arthur John Parsons IV family namesake when I was born but certainly believes in me now. Thank you for sparking and kindling my interests in so many things from such a young age and keeping me grounded yet constantly curious into adulthood. I think deep down you’ve always wanted to have a real reason to cheer on Penn State, so you’re welcome for somehow ending up in Happy Valley.

Ryen Gailey

My dad is the biggest Penn State fan I know and has taught me everything I know about this school and how to truly bleed blue and white. He’s my absolute best friend, the best #girldad, and my cornhole partner for life. I’m so grateful for all the traditions he’s helped us create at Penn State, like Irving’s breakfast on a Sunday morning or the iconic hazmat suit White Out outfits. He’s the best mystery guest reader to my kindergarten students, and I’ll always cherish his goodnight texts every night when I’m away at school. I can’t wait for many more years of Penn State White Outs to come with the best dad on this planet.

Sam Brungo

My dad is always there for me, shows genuine interest in every that I do, and motivates me to be the best person that I can be. I hope that someday I can be half the father to my kids that he was for me. He is my best friend, and he deserves the world. Thank you, Dad. Love yinz.

Shannon Smith

Dad, I’m pretty sure you were more excited than me when I got into Penn State. You knew that I was going to the college that I would be the happiest at. I can’t wait to go to football games with you next season as an official Penn State student and Penn State dad. Thank you for always pushing me to be the best that I can be whether it be academically, socially, or athletically. You have always wanted what is best for me and have given me the opportunity to do so. Thank you for constantly supporting me in any decision that I make, and I hope I continue to make you proud. Happy Father’s Day. I love you!

Zach Donaldson

Dad…As a fellow Penn State graduate, I couldn’t be happier that I followed in your footsteps. I guess, in a way, I may not be pursuing business and finance or have any math skills whatsoever, but hey, that’s why they have broadcast journalism, right? Then again, I wouldn’t have even had an opportunity to attend such a prestigious university if it weren’t for you. Thank you for always believing in me, showing me the ropes, and providing me everything I could ever need or ask for (aside from my bad back). You’ve spent 21 years of your life trying to make mine the best it could possibly be. Now, it’s my turn for a day. I’ll never be able to fully repay you, but for now, sit back, relax, take the day off, and enjoy a cold one on me. Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad, and I’m grateful that you’re mine. Happy Father’s Day. I love you, dad.

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