Penn State community members share what they're thankful for

Nittany Lion at Old Main

What are you thankful for?

Credit: Patrick Mansell

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Today asked you — students, faculty and staff — to share what you're thankful for, and you responded. Supportive colleagues, great libraries, fall foliage and friends and family were some of the responses we received.

Following is a look at some of the reasons Penn Staters are thankful:

I am thankful for this gorgeous fall as the fall leaf colors seemed to glow in the warm sunshine.  Also, as a new Penn State Extension master gardener coordinator, I am so thankful to the wonderful people helping me transition into this role.  Their generosity of time and knowledge is immeasurable. — Karen White, master gardeners coordinator, Butler County

What makes me smile are the happy little faces of the children that I greet each morning. Nothing improves your mood for the day more than a "Hi Miss Patti" from a preschooler or a shy smile from a little one in a parent's arm. I am very fortunate to work in this building with a great staff of fellow employees and to be a part of the Hort Woods community. — Patti Gray, Child Care Center at Hort Woods

Autumn leaves in front of Old Main

Faculty, staff and students share what they're thankful for — including fall foliage.

Credit: Patrick Mansell

I am thankful to Penn State University for the past 26-plus years. I have never worried about receiving my paycheck, have put my children both through college and have had the time off to spend with my family while being paid. There is no better place to be employed in our state, thank you Penn State! — Jerry Cresswell, Penn State Schuylkill

I am thankful for my family, friends, dogs and the opportunities that have been afforded to me throughout my life. It's important to remember those around us who are less fortunate than ourselves during these times and do something to give back. I am doing my part by donating to the 2017 class gift, Lion's Pantry, to help in-need and at-risk students and I would encourage everyone to do something for someone else today! — Steven Parr, senior in political science

I am thankful for my Penn State FastStart students … my “FastStart Family,” if you will. I am grateful that I can bear witness to their Penn State journeys and all of their accomplishments. I am insanely proud of each of them! I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of their collegiate experience and am thankful to the Alumni Association for sponsoring the program. — Beth Clark, Office of Physical Plant administrative and financial services

Penn State graduation

Penn State Today asked faculty, staff and students to share what they're thankful for. Students' accomplishments, a beautiful campus, family and supportive colleagues were some of the responses.

Credit: Patrick Mansell

I smile whenever our kids enjoy success. Our son, Ryan, is a 2015 Penn State alum and 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force currently in Texas, and our daughter, Marissa, is a senior nursing student and the Air Force ROTC wing commander. Every amazing or small goal that is met makes me smile with pride. I could not be any prouder of their accomplishments achieved through hard work and perseverance. — Sandy McEwen, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

I am thankful for my Penn State FastStart students. I am insanely proud of each of them! I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of their collegiate experience ...

My son was born March 24, 2015. When he was 3 months old, he was found unresponsive after being put down for his nap. My dad, being a registered nurse, began CPR and was able to get him breathing again. He spent a month in Danville before moving to Penn State Hershey Rehabilitation Hospital. He spent 10 days there getting rehab. He has not had a seizure since Dec. 17.  He is now 1 and a half. He can’t walk or sit up unassisted, but he is getting early intervention to help him get better.  We have not been given any prognosis of what he will be able to do. But he has great people working with him and a family that loves him and a big sister who does an amazing job helping him. Even after everything he has been through… son never stops smiling! I am thankful I still have my son and his smile. — Amanda Rider, Office of Sponsored Programs

I am thankful for the amazing support system at Penn State for the international students and how it has become my second home. — Aastha Singh, first year MSLA student

After 15 years in Florida, I left behind my parents and dearest sister and relocated to State College. My goal, fulfilling a dream ... working for the University that has meant so much to my family over many years. After numerous applications and several interviews, my dream became a reality. I’m now serving the amazing veterans of our campus, working in the Office of Veterans Programs which is so cohesive and remarkable in all they do. — Christine Evans, Office of Veterans Programs

After losing two siblings at a young age and developing cancer myself, I am thankful for life and the ability to share it with others!  With its ups and downs, there is so much available to love. For those who support me through all of it. — Cheryl L Shipe, Penn State Greater Allegheny

This past spring I travelled to Johannesburg, South Africa, with a group of students from the Smeal MBA program. To see a completely different part of the world was truly life changing, and it made me appreciate simple things I often take for granted. Though I was there to support our students, those students were there to support me as well! For every aspect of this exceptional experience, I am truly thankful! — Stacey Dorang Peeler, Penn State Online MBA

Video: Penn Staters share what they're thankful for

We asked Penn Staters what they’re thankful for, and heard about family, a beautiful campus, the Nittany Lions and good friends. Watch what they have to say, and then share what you think. We’re asking you — Penn State faculty, staff and students — to tell us what makes you smile. Send an email, 75 words or less, to: [email protected] with "thankful" in the subject line.