Special Events
will vincent

Special Events Director

4th Year Student
Hometown: Downingtown, PA
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Spanish

Previous THON™ Involvement

THON 2020: Donor and Alumni Relations Committee Member
THON 2021: Alumni Engagement Captain (Alumni Campaigns)
THON 2022: Alumni Engagement Director

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

I wanted to serve as a director so that I would have the chance to focus all my efforts on an organization that has not only introduced me to so many amazing people and brought me so much joy during my time at Penn State, but one that has also touched the lives of so many children and families for decades. With every year I spent on the Alumni Engagement Committee, I have had the opportunity time and time again to see just how special THON’s mission is to generations of Penn Staters. This year, I wanted to have the chance to see the other side of our mission. While I have enjoyed connecting alumni with our student volunteers and working to spread awareness and funds beyond State College, I wanted to have the opportunity to help plan and carry out events that provide the emotional support to our families that they cherish each year. Being the Special Events Director has, and will, continue to allow me to devote my full efforts to the emotional support side of our mission, helping to provide families with memories that they will remember for years to come.

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

This year, I will work alongside 19 Special Events Captains to plan a variety of different events for our Four Diamonds families, volunteers, and supporters. These events are crucial in helping to keep the mission and the spirit of THON alive all year long. As the Special Events Director, I will oversee the planning and execution of all pre- and post-THON Weekend events, including the THON 5K powered by PNC, 100 Days ‘Til THON, Family Carnival, the THON Showcase, No Hair Don’t Care, the Closer to a Cure Celebration, and all THON Athletic Events. In the development of each event, the Special Events Committee continuously seeks out new ways to engage the THON Community and connect them with the families we support, all while working to ensure the best experience for all stakeholders attending each event.

What is your favorite THON memory?

Like so many other members of this community, I have no shortage of inspiring memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. If I had to pick just one, I think it would have to be during Dancers Stand this past THON Weekend. As we counted down and officially started off the weekend, I was suddenly overwhelmed by what was happening around me in all the best ways. Arm in arm with some of my best friends, we looked out as families, dancers, volunteers, and spectators stood up in the Bryce Jordan Center for the first time in two years. After all the anticipation, THON was finally back home. To me, that was just one more piece of proof of the resiliency and dedication of the THON Community to our mission and to our families. While we achieved some unbelievable things during our virtual year, the energy of the Jordan Center that Friday evening is something I will never forget.

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

As a director, I am really looking forward to working alongside the Special Events Captains and the other committees that help make our events come to life to innovate the events that we plan and make them as special as we can for our families. These past years have been nothing short of chaotic, but the THON 2022 year was full of amazing events that brought our community back together after so long apart. In addition to the in-person components of each event, this past year proved that we can continue to offer virtual opportunities for those unable to join us in person for our events. I am also looking forward to working to make these virtual opportunities even more engaging for those joining us online and constantly improving upon the experience that we are offering on our live streams. Seeing first-hand how important these pre- and post-THON Weekend events are to our mission and the magic of THON all year long inspired me to want to be a member of the Special Events Committee, and I could not be more excited as a director to help guide my captains to bring about another year full of memories.

Favorite Quote?

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” —Jackie Robinson

Are you involved in other organizations that benefit THON?

Alpha Kappa Psi

What are you involved in outside of THON?

Alpha Kappa Psi, Undergraduate Research in the Department of Chemistry

What are your plans after graduation from Penn State?

After graduation, I would love to pursue a career in Aerospace Engineering and work to develop technology to aid in the increased safety, comfort, and efficiency of commercial air travel.

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

I would have to go with a golden retriever, I think we are pretty similar in how we go about our lives, and we usually get along pretty well.!

Is a hotdog a sandwich?

While specific definitions might disprove my thoughts, I do not think that a hotdog is a sandwich. From simply a respect standpoint, I believe that hot dogs have made a name for themselves to the point where they should be given their own classification. In addition, if you ordered a “Hot Dog Sandwich” somewhere, I think people might look at you funny.