Celebrating the Life of Joseph Vincent Paterno

UNIVERSITY PARK, Centre County -- Inside the Bryce Jordan Center, it was a celebration of the life of Joseph Vincent Paterno Thursday afternoon.

They began in prayer as the head of the Penn State Campus Ministry, Fr. Matthew Laffey led them to "Honor one of your greatest gifts to the world- Joe Paterno."

With wife, Sue surrounded by their five children, seventeen grandchildren and thousands of their extended family - they sang his song - the Penn State Alma Mater.

Then the stories of Joe's life began. 

Twelve speakers including  Penn State's first All American Wide Receiver Kenny Jackson shared how their coach "never took a compliment and he deflected praise. He never thought he was the show.  Today you have no choice, because we want to show you how much we love you."

They spoke of how their teacher taught them life lessons - both on and off the field.  As Paterno Fellows Scholar Lauren Perotti explained, "The Paterno way has become the Penn State way and success with honor has become the standard."

They shared how their respect for the legendary coach never stopped growing.  The Mayor of "Paternoville" said simply but powerfully, "Joe Pa, thank you for being a father to all of us."

And former quarterback and current NFL Running Back Michael Robinson challenged those in attendance to hold fast to the values that Coach Paterno instilled in all of them.

To have "Success with Honor", the speakers say, is the right way - the Paterno way.

Current Penn State Linebacker and third generation Penn State Letterman Michael Mauti says his teammates are ready to carry the torch. "This is our job now to continue on throughout this decade and throughout the decades to come - to uphold that tradition."

And early Paterno recruit Charlie Pittman echoed that sentiment, "It is needed now more than ever. Rest in peace Coach. We'll take it from here."

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