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Penn State Alumni Association CEO Paul Clifford Offers Encouragement During THON’s Saturday Afternoon Slate

Penn State Alumni Association CEO Paul Clifford took the THON stage Saturday afternoon to encourage all 707 dancers nearly 21 hours through the endeavor. 

Clifford began his tenure heading the alumni association in January 2016 and has since helped facilitate THON’s steady growth by overseeing the group’s expansion to 177,000 members.

“THON grows leaders, THON inspires the community, THON changes lives and saves,” Clifford said. “Three of five children with cancer [previously] lost their battle. Today, because of events like this, the number is four out of five actually beat cancer.”

Since THON’s inception in 1973, Penn State alumni have helped raise over $203 million for pediatric cancer research in conjunction with Four Diamonds. Last year, THON posted a $13.75 fundraising figure for its largest total in 50 years. 

“We have to keep dancing until the number [of cancer-free children] is five out of five,” Clifford. “We’ll beat cancer with the courage to face the fights. We’ll beat cancer with the spread of 755,000 alumni.”

The Penn State Alumni Association hosts annual events benefitting THON, including Philadelphia’s Liberty Ball and New York City’s Hope Gala to keep alumni involved long after leaving Happy Valley as students. Through gatherings, members are able to help the association leverage support to impact the university’s most impactful facets, including Four Diamonds and THON.

“Thank you for all you do,” Clifford said to the dancers and alumni in attendance.” For the glory, for the future, and For The Kids. We are!” 

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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