Donor and Alumni Relations
Haskel Canagarajah

Donor & Alumni Relations
Development Director

4th Year Student
Hometown: State College, PA
Major: Finance
Minor: Health Policy and Administration

Previous THON™ Involvement

THON 2020: Donor and Alumni Relations Committee Member
THON 2021: Donor and Alumni Relations Development Captain (THON Nation)
THON 2022: Donor and Alumni Relations Development Captain (Donor Relations Coordinator)

Why did you want to become a director for the largest student-run philanthropy in the world?

I wanted to become a director because, throughout my past three years of involvement, I have been captivated by what can only be described as the magic of THON. I have witnessed how one organization comprised completely of students can unite an entire university around a shared mission and can connect individuals who may never have crossed paths. I have been in awe at how, dollar by dollar, supporters of all age ranges have donated funds to ultimately have an impact that is bigger than themselves. And I have seen the beauty of how people give of their time to provide emotional support and build relationships with families going through the toughest battles of their lives. This community has shown me the power that arises when passionate individuals look beyond their limitations and dream big together. As a director, I wanted to be able to pass that magical feeling along to all stakeholders and help craft a future for this organization that advances greater contribution and connection opportunities.

What are your main responsibilities as a Director for THON 2023?

As the Development Director, I am principally responsible for overseeing THON's relationships with our tens of thousands of individual donors, corporate partners, and foundations. Additionally, along with my team of 14 Development captains, I work to ensure long-term financial growth in our fundraising model through three primary pillars: Donor Acquisition, Donor Engagement, and Donor Retention. Finally, I am responsible for helping plan several initiatives and campaigns throughout the year that empower our participating student organizations to fundraise more efficiently.

What is your favorite THON memory?

My favorite THON memory (so far) is the last line dance during THON Weekend 2022. As I stood with some of my closest friends in that moment, I saw 15,000 people, dressed in every imaginable color, jumping around with excitement as the 46-hour dance marathon was coming to a close. There are numerous videos circulating of that moment, but none can truly capture the sheer energy that was in the Bryce Jordan Center, as we finally made it through our first in-person THON in two years. That moment to me was where I truly realized how many people it takes to make an event like this happen and was evidence of how resilient this organization has been for the past couple of years.

As a director, what are you most looking forward to for THON 2023?

As we just wrapped up our 50th THON, I think what I am most looking forward to is how we reimagine what has been done in the past and create the foundation for what will help the 75th and 100th THON's thrive. From a development perspective, I am really excited about a couple of major projects with tremendous long-term potential including Planned Giving and the launch of THON's Giving Society.

Favorite Quote?

"Do things for people not because of who they are or what they can do in return, but because of who you are" - Harold Kushner

Are you involved in other organizations that benefit THON?

Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity, Sapphire Leadership Academic Program

What are you involved in outside of THON?

Nittany Lion Consulting Group, Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity, Sapphire Leadership Academic Program.

What are your plans after graduation from Penn State?

After graduation, I plan to work initially in business consulting in Atlanta. I would like to get an MBA a few years down the line and then work in the healthcare industry either on the pharmaceutical or provider side.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

I would probably be a kangaroo. They honestly seem super chill and do whatever they want at any given time. I'd also get to hop around everywhere and live in Australia- I genuinely cannot think of a downside.

Is a hotdog a sandwich?

A hotdog is 100% a sandwich because, even though the bread is connected, it is still between bread. Some would even say it is "sandwiched" between the bread. If something is in between bread, it is a sandwich in my opinion.