Messages pour in for Penn State's 'Survivor,' Ian Rosenberger

The following comments were sent to Penn State Live for Penn Stater Ian Rosenberger. The former Penn State Undergraduate Student Government president was one of the more popular cast members of the CBS reality-TV show. The show's finale aired Sunday,May 15. For details, check http://live.psu.edu/story/12081 online.

Excerpts of comments for Rosenberger during and after the finale

Something that I would like to point out is to put some facts into proper perspective. When you told the girls you were voting Tom off, you were just playing the game. That didn't mean you were really going to do it, but you were telling them that maybe to let them think it, or maybe you really meant it. That is part of the game. Katie was nothing more than a tattle tale, running to Tom just to cause trouble and create a rift between you and him. Her actions really didn't surprise me, as she was coniving throughout the show, and those who had bitter feelings seeing her in the final group had just reason. There were other players who were very much more deserving. I hope you can see through her facade. Tom may have won the money, but he lost the respect of many. He had nothing more than one huge temper tantrum, and in doing so he wasn't able to realize the ideas behind what you had done. He badgered you so much that he didn't even give you a decent opportunity to defend yourself. But then again, you shouldn't have to defend yourself in that instance. All he could think about was himself. He showed himself earlier in the program to be a bully, he has a quiet arrogance about him, and the fact that he attacked your manhood like he did only proves HIS immaturity. Tom should not have listened to Katie telling him to confront you ... he should have talked to you calmly in private, instead of putting you on the spot in front of Katie. When you sacrificed yourself to regain Tom's respect and your own values, Tom still could have taken you to the final. But he didn't because he knew you would have beaten him. He had an easy way out, and he took it, again showing a weakness in his character. While neither Tom nor Katie will ever admit their wrongdoings, you openly admitted to Tom what you had said. While Tom and Katie may present themselves to be your friends, personally I wouldn't trust either one as being sincere. Neither of them should be proud of themselves, and any self-respect they have is false and ill deserved. Tom and Katie should both hang their heads in shame. As far as I am concerned your only error in the game was your honesty to Tom. I'm sure you have learned the lesson "Loose lips sink ships" as a result of the show. But none of this matters. Because you are a good person, and even if and when you realize that what I have said is true, and when you admit it to yourself that you were treated very badly by both Tom and Katie, you will not retain bitterness and anger toward them, because you have soul, and your soul includes forgiveness. You are much richer for not winning "Survivor," but then again, you obviously have been raised to have a richness in your character. If you were my son or brother I would be so proud of you ... and I am even though you are not. Congratulations again, to both you, and your family, for being able to instill and maintain honorable values. You can stand proudly head and shoulders over many, many people.

-- Sue, Ontario, Canada


I always enjoyed the idea of "Survivor," and think I would be a great candidate, but the backstabbing concept of the show leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. To be a Survivor shouldn't be about how you react to tongue lashings. Life is too short. The show as it is allows weak, non-deserving people the chance to weasel their way through to the final. It is a game of favoritism, just like in grade school. I think they need to re-think how the show operates. Without a doubt, there were many others who deserved a chance, such as Greg, Bobbi Jon and Steph. Katie should have been voted out early in the game in comparison. I think I've seen enough of "Survivor" to know that I know what is important to me. I have better things to do instead of watching people be down-right mean to each other, and then come away all happy pretending to be best friends afterwards.

Good luck in your future ... you undoubtedly have a lot to offer this world.

-- SD


I think you are an amazing guy. I will be honest, I am not a "Survivor" fan and only caught those final two shows because I was recuperating from surgery at my mom's house and there wasn't anything else on. Well as it would go, I was introduced to Ian (that would be you). Then I got online and watched all the video clips from the shows to see all of the events that I missed! As a result, I have never wanted to meet someone so much in my life. You really made me take evaluation of myself and my own integrity. As a Christian, I always considered myself to be a person of great integrity ... but I found places that were flawed. Thanks!

-- Amy Carter, Savannah, GA


I am a HUGE fan of yours! I think that you played a wonderful game, the best game I've ever seen on "Survivor." I was amazed by your character as you stepped down for Tom and Katie. I'm sure all of your fans were truly proud. You are an amazing person, from what I have seen. I have read about some of your speeches at your school, and think that you could go a long way being a public speaker. I am amazed at how well you survived "Survivor!" I loved when you and Tom caught the shark. :) YOu are not just strong on the outside, but on the inside too.

-- Shaunna


Ian: You made fans around the world see what respect for others really means. I just wish you could have been awarded something for your great effort in the physical part of the 39 days. For the moral and human side of the game, you even topped Rupert. Maybe there is a reward for you down the road. No doubt you will secure it. You also made Penn State very proud. You have represented yourself, your family and relationships very well.

-- Paul and Bev Harro, Selinsgrove, Pa.


Hi Ian! I'm a sophomore in Music Ed, and a fresh member of EOJ! We had a big party at Momma B's apartment and watched the final episode together. Just wanted to let you know that you continue to be in all of EOJ's thoughts and prayers. Hopefully we will see you soon in SC again! We're proud of you!!

-- Christie McKinney


Ian, you gave it your all. You are without a doubt the finest competitor on "Survivor" yet and have certainly raised the bar for future "Survivor" players. Thanks for giving us so many weeks of entertainment. It was a delight watching you each week and it broke
our hearts to see you step down. I won't say lose because you didn't. You are a definite winner! In years to come when viewers talk about "Survivor Palau," they may vaguely remember Tom but they will fondly
remember Ian Rosenberger -- ULTIMATE SURVIVOR. You exemplify all that is good. Thank you for honouring friendship above financial gain and showing the world what is truly to be valued in life. You will always
be blessed for such a courageous choice. I know I would be honoured to have a caring friend like you. May all your future challenges reap happy and satisfying rewards.

-- Patricia, Ottawa, Ontario


You are the best guy on "Survivor" and I wish you would have won!!!!!! Just one question!!! WHY DID YOU QUIT???????!!!!!!

-- Elizabeth


Rosenberger gave us many weeks of enjoyment watching how he escaped trouble many times. He is an outstanding young man and having worked with him on Alumni Council, we saw how hard he worked and how much he gave to all who came in contact with him. I am sure he will go far and is a great representative of PSU. Thanks for all your effort!!

-- Betty


What a wonderful example you have set for all to see!! My husband and I are Christians, and we know the rewards are much greater when you are able to put money in its proper perspective. I wish you the best in life, and I expect you will find many blessings, more valuable than gold, along the way.

Elaine Hocker, PSU Ice Rink


You were great on "Survivor!" You are a great inspiration to me to live a life of integrity. Friendship is indeed more important than any amount of money. Got to confess that I've never liked any Survivor as much as I liked and admire you. Continue to be a insipration and may you have a good life. God Bless.

-- Amanda, Singapore


Even a few days after watching the finale your choice has stayed in my mind. While I was watching the final episode of "Survivor" on Sunday, I could feel the anguish you seemed to be going through as you stared into the fire after your argument with Tom and Katie and again as you talked privately with the camera later. When I realized that you were crying, it broke my heart. I really felt for you, to the point where I cried myself, even though I really don't know you. You seemed to be a genuinely nice guy who was very hurt by what his friends said. I don't think it would have mattered what you said that night, you were damned if you did, damned if you didn't. When the last immunity challenge started, I was pulling for you to make it. I liked you and thought you could go all the way and win the million. I realized that you were truly wounded by the things that Katie and Tom had said when there was no friendly banter among you through the challenge, just silence. The look on your face through the whole thing (that I saw on TV anyways) was like a boy who's lost his best friend. All that put aside, I was still surprised when you jumped off. Like I said, I thought you could go all the way. But the more I think of it, the more I think it was the right thing to do, even if only to maintain your own sense of self-respect. You are an exceptional person who seems to have his priorities straight. Your parents should be proud. I don't know if I could have made the same decision when faced with that amount of money, but I hope that I could. You may not have won the million, but you have won the friendship and respect of many, including myself, should you want it.

-- Angela, Starbuck, MB Canada


I'm ... just a person who appreciates seeing real human qualities when the objective these days is to get the most stuff at any cost. I think your decision on the final challenge was so lovely, it was shocking almost! Be proud of it as I'm sure you are, you've taken away so much more than just money, and I think it did show a maturity in you that maybe you didn't know was there yet.

-- Margot, Los Angeles


Congratulations! Game well played. I think you made a wise decision to give up the money in order to keep your friendships. That action speaks volumes about you. You are a rare and special person indeed. You became a role model to the millions who watch "Survivor." You made many of us from western Pennsylvania proud to call you a native son. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and thanks for sharing your experiences on "Survivor" with us.

-- Lester Block


In reading your many email messages, it looks like you have touched a lot of hearts. That makes you the real Survivor Winner in my eyes! Best of luck in your future endeavors.

-- C.S.


I've read all the comments and I agree with everyone that you are a great man.

-- Tracey Tucker, Canada


It's not that hard to have loyalty when you are in high school or younger because you are with your peers. When a person enters the real world they are faced with people of all ages who back-stab each other all of the time in order to reach the top of the corporate ladder that only has a few spots. It gets tiring to be in this environment year after year. You start to lose your faith in mankind. And then comes along Ian. He's not perfect, but he has restored my hopes and dreams for "all" of mankind. I'm 49, and even I will try harder to be a better person now. Thank you Ian, for being good.

-- Barb, Traverse City, Mich.


Although I'm sure you've read and heard this at least 50 million times I think giving up what I think is the million ('cause I believe you would have won) was a really great and honorable thing to do ... I think what you did was really amazing and I have read profiles on you and you sound really cool and smart and I think it rocks that your a dolphin trainer! I have seen dolphins but never swam with them ... but I would so love to one day! I'm 15 and I live in Australia but I'm a mad "Survivior" fan and have watched and taped every single series! ... Good luck with everything.

-- Tara :)


I am a huge fan of yours and was cheering you on all the way through "Survivor" (even when I should have been studying for my university exams). I thought you did an awesome job and we really enjoyed watching you every week.

Cory Hawkes, Watrous, Saskatchewan, Canada


I just thought I might let you know that you're an inspiration to me. I'm 13 years old and have been watching "Survivor" since it started. But never have I liked someone as much as you. I just thought I'd let you Know that. I also think it's even more cool that you train dolphins! I love swimming, and dolphins too! In fact I have dolphins painted on my nails right now! They're so cute. But anyway, you're an inspiration to me because you gave up a million dollars for friendship. I know this might sound low, but I think I would have taken the million dollars before you did that. Now I think i would choose differently. So I'm just letting you know, you've already helped me in so many ways. You might not have won, but you will always be remembered.

-- Randa


Ian -- You showed a great amount of character in what you did. What an amazing testament to what friendship should really mean to people. You are unique and I wish you the best of luck in life.

-- Anonymous


Well done. Although you gave up a million for your own self-respect, you've earned it from many across the nation.

-- Teresa, Overland Park, Kan.


You are my hero Ian! As I cringed watching the series of unfortunate events unfold Sunday night, I was left astonished at the amazing person that you are. Your passion and sensitivity are quite remarkable, and your actions speak volumes. I am intrigued and inspired by you. Thanks for a super "Survivor" season -- and I wish you the best, for you truly deserve more.

-- Shelby


Hey Ian -- Great job. You made your friends at the Governor's School for the Ag Sciences very proud of you. We've been following you all the way!!!!

-- Marianne Fivek


We were agonizing with you in the competition with your friends and we were sure you would be on the buoy as long as you needed to be. When you dived off, we said "THAT IS IAN!!" You have given great honors to your friends in competition, an incredible gift to a NY firefighter dad, and above all you have given America AND THE WORLD the greatest lesson in leadership and integrity and VALUE! There are few leaders in the world that teach by example! You took the level of the million dollar competition to a new plateau and a new value. Thank you for your gift to every person on this planet!

-- Pete and Julia Kiefer


It's been two days since I saw you step down from the buoy, and I still completely struck and amazed at your decision. I give you all the props in the world for that; you set an example that so many
young kids watched and respected. It was so encouraging to finally see somebody look up and realize that there is more to life than winning a
monster check; selling yourself out is not worth any monetary consolation. You played the game honorably throughout the entire game, and as a seminary student, I have a pretty high standard.
:) Thank you so much for your moral integrity, and for reminding me there are still decent men out there. God Bless.

-- One of your (many) fans in S.Dakota


Congratulations on your Survivor performance. Doing the right thing is more important than the money. And a better investment, too. You make all Penn Staters proud. Keep truckin'. You da man.

-- Dave Jones


From the first episode, you were my favorite Survivor. As the "game" progressed, my admiration for you continued. I love your attitude and your competitive nature. Although I believe you could have been the sole Survivor ... I admire and respect your decision to leave the game under your terms, with the respect and dignity you deserve!! I have watched every "Survivor," and never has anyone caught my heart the way you did. I found myself so caught up in the emotions that you were facing in the last few episodes. You brought tears to my eyes with your heart and emotion. You truly have a wonderful soul and I admire and respect you!!! You have impacted my life ... even though I have never personally met you! Best of luck to you in your future. You are a special person. You will be extremely successful in life.

-- Lesa Greenfield, Cadillac Mich.


You showed more integrity and love than I have ever seen before in my life!!!!!!!!! You should have been the ultimate Survivor. However, in my opinion, you really didnt do anything wrong. Most of us all love you (myself included!) That act of honesty will carry through with you for the rest of your life, Ian! you are now famous for it, even though you didnt get the $$$$$$$ (you did get a hot car, though)! Great job.

-- Beth (again!) Oro, Ontario, Canada


Hi Ian. I have never watched a "Survivor" show before (except for a few minutes) but I did watch "Survivor: Palau" because you were on it. I'm sorry you didn't win the million but I think you made the right decision (and you have more time in your life to make a million if you want to).It was also nice to see the publicity for the Four Diamonds Fund and the Penn State reference on the morning show. Best wishes for your post-show celebrity.

-- Mary Anne Knapp


What a great person you are, good luck and I am sure you will find much happiness. I am so glad my daughter got to meet you while she was at Penn State. You made Penn Sate, your family and our local community proud. Never change.

-- Anonymous


Dear Ian, I watched the finale of Survivor: Palau last night and I was really cheering for you. I was so scared that you would be voted out before reaching the final 3 with Katie and Tom as you planned. I was really relieved when Jenn lost the tie-breaker, instead of you. Anyway, at the final Immunity Challenge, I was very surprised when you decided to step down the pole and let Tom & Katie go to the final 2 instead. My heart broke and I almost cried. But I was also really touched by what you did ... giving up a chance to win a million dollars just for the sake of friendship. I thought it was really sweet and very very nice of you to do such a thing. Well, I'm really proud of you and I'll be continuing to support you for the rest of my life in whatever you do.

-- Stephanie Low, Singapore


Ian, you are a tribute to your family, Penn State and the true embodiment of the saying "Money is not everything." You were just "playing the game" and owed Tom And Kate nothing, but your integrity always will be rewarded. You are already blessed and a blessing to so many.

-- Jacqueline B. Jackson, another Penn Stater, proud of you!


I think what you did was amazing. My two kids and I are huge fans of "Survivor" and were always disappointed by the lack of honesty in the game. We have been watching you all along and loved you more each week. We were so impressed by your selfless act of love and friendship. My teenage daughter was in tears, very upset about the outcome at first. After we had a chance to really talk about the importance of sincerity she understood and appreciated the need for you to step down. I only hope that she finds someone like you someday. (She thinks you're amazing and I agree.) And I hope my son grows into the kind of man you seem to be ... caring, loving, honest, giving. Good luck with your life and we wish you all the best. We're so happy you won the car and hope you have many successes in life.

-- L.S.


Ian, you are such a great guy! It would be such a honour to have a friend like you. I felt really sad when you were been questioned by Tom and Katie and felt worse when you cried. It was a noble decision at the end.

-- Mandy from Singapore


I very much enjoyed watching this season of survivor, due mostly to the fact that you were on the show. From the beginning to a very respectful ending I was drawn in by your personality and sweet loveable face. While you didn't end up winning the million, I have to say you won my heart and respect. I saw a man grow from a young 23 to a mature one. I think I really enjoyed you because I too am a younger (22) person constantly surrounded by older people, and I feed off that. I saw a lot of myself in watching your game.

-- Heather Smith


I have never attempted to communicate with anyone famous and I am only doing this now as Ian has truly touched my heart. I have watched every "Survivor" series and have had a few favorites over the years but Ian is by far the most genuine of all. I think what also tugs at my heartstrings is that he looks and acts so much like a special nephew of mine, Jacob, that it is scary. Everyone in my family, big "Survivor" fans, thinks so. So Ian -- it's true -- everyone has a twin somewhere! Regardless of the uncanny physical resemblance (including height) and personality, Ian is a wonderful young man. I doubt that many people would have shown the integrity that he did and true kind spirit in putting his self-respect and thoughtfulness for others before a chance at winning $1 million. So to Ian's parents -- congratulations, you've raised a wonderful young man. As the mother of a 17-year old son, I can only hope that I do as fine a job as you have done. I've read bios and other Web info on Ian and it is inspiring to hear how he also works with children and gave his finale show tickets to children who were cancer survivors. Our own Jacob, while not a cancer survivor, is a 20-year old survivor of a rare congenital heart defect and recently had pacemaker implant surgery. While it might sound corny, I feel like Jacob and Ian are kindred spirits in some indescribable way. Thank you, Ian, for showing the world that money does not make you a winner -- you are the true Survivor!

Tracy Hart, Battle Creek, Mich.


Hey Ian, I know you get a lot of these e-mails but I really liked how you played your game on "Survivor." It was awesome how you value your friendships and integrity even over a million dollars. I've watched every "Survivor" except the first one (kind of obsessive, i know...) and I've never seen anyone like you who would give up all that money and I thought that was the most amazing thing I've ever seen, because I know there are so many people who would do anything for money ... just look at "Fear Factor!!!" Well, I hear you have a really busy schedule the next couple of months, and I'll be watchin for ya on tv!!

-- Rachel :-)


I don't think many people in their lives would think their values and other people are more important than winning a million dollars. I think in your actions, you have proven to be good, honest, generous and upstanding. I suppose you've learned that being a good person is more important to you than winning a million dollars. Good karma is always worth more than that. I know you wanted to do the right thing for you and your family, but you've also made the rest of your family ... your Penn State family ... very proud.

-- Kimberly, ERM 1994


Hello from Alaska! I have watched you on "Survivor" and you are such an inspiration. I am happy that you were willing to sacrifice the million for friendship, that's what really matters! It is nice to see people who are willing to stand up for their values and especially when they are being watched by cameras night and day. As you said, you realized in your 11th hour what matters most is friends, not earthly gain, but treasures in heaven. I cried when I heard your apology to Katie. It was so heartfelt and I commented, "Now THAT is an apology!" It's nice to see how a gentleman acts and to know that there are still people with a heart in this world. You are an inspiration to me and to my family.

-- Kimberly Powell


You did the area proud on Survivor. We were all disappointed when you stepped down but you did it for the right reasons. You kept your integrity, which is worth more than a $1 million. I never watched "Survivor" before this season, mainly because I was interested in seeing a "local" boy. I'm not a PSU alumna but I live in Nittany Lion country and we're very proud of you. Congratulations!

-- Pam Servello, Altoona Pa.


You are my hero! I loved you from day one and really wanted to see you and Tom in the end -- you ending up as winner of course! I've seen every season of "Survivor" except the very first one and never really had any favorites (except for Rupert), but you were definitely #1 for me and I rooted for you every week. I didn't want to see you jump down from that pole, and I certainly didn't want to see you relinquish 2nd place to Katie, but since you did, well, you proved what kind of man and what kind of person you really are. I also want you to know that you did absolutely nothing wrong on that island -- sometimes I think the ability to lie is a requirement to get on the show! I can't think of a single contestant on any season of "Survivor" that hasn't done what they felt they needed to do in order to win if they wanted it bad enough. You rose above it all and all of your fans are very proud of you -- whether we were ready to admit it when it happened or not! Watching the show, I was saying "Don't do it Ian, don't do it!" because honestly, you deserved to be in the final two. I am glad you got that 'Vette though! It was a pleasure watching you on the show, and I'm hoping for another Survivor All Stars and that you will participate!

-- Sylvia


You have my heartfelt respect for the way you played "Survivor." The end took its twist but you were right when you said that it is a game. You have such a compassionate heart and chose what was right for you. I know that your family, friends and many people in this world love you and support you. You give so much good of yourself into making this a better world. It will come back to you one hundred fold.

-- Barbara from Kansas


Congrats on your accomplishments on "Survivor!" Hope to see you in your new Corvette driving down College Ave sometime.

-- Meg Vanderventer


Ian, we are very proud of how you played the game, you are definitely a Nittany Lion ... We enjoyed watching and cheering for you, this I felt was the best "Survivor" yet! Good luck in the next chapter of your life. We are ...

-- Myers


We, here in State College, are so proud of you. Good luck in the future.

-- Ginny White


My eight year old daughter, Cameron, and I were devastated by what happened last night! We were rooting for you from the beginning -- she was very impressed with your dolphin training credentials. I just don't understand what you did that was any worse than Katie and Tom. Especially Katie. I mean, she jumped ship all over the place -- how come that wasn't a big deal? I wish you or someone talked more about that. But then again, everyone could see what a slacker she was. And she totally sold you out during that yacht reward challenge!! How come she can do that, but you take Tom on a car ride and she's boo-hooing all over the place. I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm taking this way to seriously, but we really felt like you got the shaft!! Cameron was crying when you stepped out, and that made me even more frustrated! But anyway, at least you won a cool car! You deserved it -- and you're not a bad person. Nothing you did over the whole 39 days made you a bad person. Now Katie -- that's another story! Good luck and best wishes!

-- Christine and Cameron


Ian, I have to say what a commendable act of kindness you made last night! WOW, how many people in the world are so selfish that all they could think about is the $1 million. I think you are an amazing
man, whose family should be very proud of and you should be very proud of yourself for your act of kindness! I commend you and your actions! What a terrific experience you were fortunate to have had! Even though
you didn't financially win the money, what you gained is much more valuable than any amount of money could buy! You have made all Penn Staters proud and shows what kind of people we are! We are PENN STATE!!!!

-- Crystal, Class of '91


Ian, you live the saying "To thine own self be true" My husband and I are both Penn State grads and have never been so proud to witness your decision to preserve your friendships with Katie and Tom. You have won much more than one million dollars and that is the respect and admiration of many people all around the world. I just hope that Katie and Tom realize the value of YOUR friendship, otherwise they have lost so much. You are the real winner of Survivor -- all the episodes from since the program has aired!!

-- The Nelsons in Happy Valley


You are perhaps going to be far richer in life for the experience you had and your conduct than just getting the money at all costs. You certainly exhibited far more integrity than any previous player on Survivor. You have made us all Penn State proud and surely good things will come of this for you. It was a pleasure to have watched and pulled for you. Best of luck.

-- Rich Freet '70


I have watched all 10 survivor shows and I have never been as moved and as heartbroken as I was when I watched the show last night. You are an amazing person with an integrity which truly puts both Tom and Katie to shame. I wish you had won the $$, however you have something much more precious. Keep living your life to the fullest!

Survivor Fan from Ottawa, Ontario


Ian, integrity is worth more than great riches (Proverbs). You made a wise decision and made all PSUers proud. Way to go and remind us there are some things worth more than a million dollars!

-- Chris, State College


Congratulations on a game well done! Having you in the competition kept me watching from one week to the next! I am very proud of you! You are very admired and served as an inspiration to so many young people! Job well-done!

Denise, fellow Penn Stater


I started out as a fan of yours because I proudly work as a staff member for Penn State, but your personality drew thousands of fans to support you. You have played a great game and I really do not feel as though you owed it to anybody to step down, but that was a decision that only you could make. I am very proud of you and had hoped to watch you win the million, but at least you didn't walk away empty handed -- enjoy your well-deserved car! Best wishes to you in the next allstar episode as I know the producers would love to have you back because the audience loved you.

-- Carla


I will agree with my LP 1982 brother Bill Cluck, well done. Earn to Learn; go forth to Serve.

-- Vince Verbeke


Ian, you are what Penn State is all about. You represented all of us with honor and integrity. Thank you for showing the world that PSU continues to perpetuate standards that are a cut above the rest. For the Glory,

-- Bill Blakely, 1962


Ian, we in Nittany Valley are all so proud of you. Never mind the million. You were terrific. The promise still stands: Come back to campus, and I'll teach you to tap dance.

-- Anne


I don't even watch "Survivor," but I was aware we had someone from the Penn State family in this series. You should feel good about the decision you made!! Trust, integrity, and understanding the importance of true human relationships and friendships will get you much farther in life then a million dollars ever could! Don't ever doubt the decision you made! I am honored that you are part of the Penn State family! With your genuine good heart and soul you will
go far! Best wishes to you!

-- Cheri Gallagher, A PSU alum twice and a current employee at University Park


I was totally rooting for you. Your selfless act at the end was perfect. (Although I think you got scape-goated, EVERYONE was double-dealing and you were the only one being dragged through the coals, wassup with that?) But I think you made a beautiful choice --
people need to see that sort of thing on TV.

-- Cathleen Daly, Berkeley/San Francisico.


I just wanted to say that I respect you and how you played the "game" of "Survivor." I hope you can watch those shows now and know that you never truly hurt anyone -- that you were simply playing a game, as you stated in the final episodes. I really enjoyed watching you because you truly seemed to be having a good time on the island and took everything in stride as it came to you -- starvation, loneliness, the difficulty of the challenges ... I didn't realize the entire time I was watching that you too are from Pennsylvania. I'm from Altoona. I just found out that you are from Ambridge, and ironically just today I was putting together a promotional basket for the Ambridge Festival. (I work for the Pittsburgh Trib, and we had a booth at the festival.) We have several other things in common too -- I'm a 2002 Penn State graduate, I also went to Catholic school and I've also done some volunteer work with mentally handicapped children. Anyway, I just moved to Pittsburgh about seven months ago, so I'm new to the area. I made a deal with myself to take chances here and not be scared of life -- hence my e-mail to you. It'd be great to hear back from you when you're not so incredibly busy! Take care!

-- Jess

p.s. Don't worry about the million - I'm sure you'll make more than that in upcoming endorsements!


We followed your path all along the way, and it took a lot of courage to do what you did. You truly are Penn State (which I might add, it would have been nice to hear you say just once). :)

-- Ann Marie ('93) and Bruce White


Hey Ian! Thank you so very much for finishing the game with integrity. I have been watching "Survivor," waiting and wondering if someone could be real and play the game with true integrity amidst the conditions of lying, scheming and whatnot. And you did it! I hope God blesses you in life.

-- May


I cheered you on from the beginning and knew for sure that you would be in the game until the very end. Personally, I think you are the true winner of "Survivor: Palau!" Congratulations on a great game and thanks for putting the real things that matter first -- integrity and friendship.

-- Summer


Good choice! I'm not a "Survivor" viewer but have been keeping tabs on you through the Penn State News. I wish you the very best in your life; you are taking something away from this that is much more precious than money.

-- Sharon L. Pierson, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center


I first wanted Steph to take home the money -- then I switched to Ian.
If Ian was my son, I'd be a very proud Mom. Love you Ian from Minnesota.

-- Rosie


Ian -- You are a doll. I fell for you on the very first episode, and was in your corner throughout the whole season. You remind me so much of my son, same look, same honesty and integrity. Too bad you didn't know about Katie's plan to make a girl alliance to vote off the men. Karen was so busy trying to get you and Tom back, she forgot to tell you Katie was going to write your name at council. I think, if you had known that, you wouldn't have gotten so emotional, and would have been able to hold onto your original strategy with Tom. I wish you the best in your future.

-- S. Brinton


I was browsing around the net looking for somewhere where I could get in touch with Ian. (And let's face facts, so are like 1,700 other teeny boppers now!) I just wanted to say, though I might not really know him, I can't explain how proud I was of him for what he did (handing it over to Kate and Tom, because he values their friendship more than anything). That was probably one of the most noble things I have ever had the privelege to witness in my entire life, and I wanted to thank him for showing that there are still good people in the world, and those who care for others way beyond themselves. I'm from Rutgers, Cook College, and I'm an Animal Science major. I can't
explain how special it was, just for me (I'm sure more so for those of Penn State) to have a guy like Ian on there. Penn State is Cook's sister school program. So it was amazing. Ian really touched the hearts of tons.

-- Hillary Alpert


I enjoyed watching you in Survivor this season. You reminded me so much of my son, who I now see is the same age as you and alike in build and mannerisms. You did so well in the challenges and deserved to be in the final two. You would have definitely won. You did nothing wrong and I am sorry you felt you did and had to give up your spot. You do however have a lovely car so enjoy that and be careful in it. I wish you all the best in whatever life brings you.

-- Janis in Ottawa, Ontario


Ian: As father of a son whom you remind me of, I can say that I am proud of how you handled yourself out there. I was rooting for you and Tom for the final 2. Enjoy your new car and best wishes to you and family.

-- Tom Alexander, Port St. Lucie, Fla.


Ian, you definitely earned my respect when you bowed out the way you
did. That was a very mature move to make. The fact that integrity
meant more to you than a million dollars speaks volumes about you.
Your family should be, and I'm sure are, very proud of you!

-- Barbara Crain


I have been a Survivor fan from the beginning, but this year was so delighted to watch you play the game with your heart and soul to the very end. As a Four Diamond Family (my daughter, 3, completed treatment at HMC 18 months ago for leukemia) I couldn't be prouder of you as a person and Penn Stater. Thank you for continuing to support Thon and bringing recognition to the Four Diamonds Fund and Penn State worldwide. My entire family has watched and cheered you on since I told them you danced last year and that we saw you at Thon this year. I found out right before the show aired last night that you had taken Four Diamonds kids to the finale. How thrilling and rewarding for them! When I watched you step down from the prize last night I was shocked and thought you had not jeopardized your integrity any more than any other player. I realized it doesn't matter what we as viewers thought, but what you were feeling. You believed your integrity, the friendships you made and thoughts of your family were far more valuable than the money. This is a lesson most will never learn in their lifetime. You possess a prize worth much more than a million dollars! Thank you. Hope to see you at Thon '06!

-- Renee


Ian, just a quick note to say 'Hey!' Your Essence of Joy family is proud of your accomplishment on "Survivor" and looks forward to being with you whenever you return to the Happy Valley. You have made all of us very proud! Best Wishes,

-- Tony Leach


I am so proud to work at PSU! You represented PSU so well!! I am a parent of teenagers. With all the hopes and dreams that I have for my children, the one and only true wish I have for them is that they become a person of character. One who values relationships over money and who truly cares for others. In a society wrought with people who live by the mottos "ME FIRST" and "GET MORE STUFF," you are an excellent example of the type of person we should all strive to be. If I can raise my children to be as humble, caring, loyal and courageous as you are, I will have done my job! Thank you for being you! I bet your family is so proud!

-- Erin Eckley, staff person at PSU


As a former USG president (1981-82) and fellow Lion's Paw, it
was rewarding to watch you on Survivor this season. You brought new meaning to "May No Act of Ours Bring Shame." Thank you for your humility and integrity and all that you have done and will do for the Thon kids and PSU. May it ever rest!!!

-- William J. Cluck


You have done Penn State proud by what you did last night in stepping down. You have earned my respect back, too! Keep your integrity and you won't be sorry. I'm happy to say I work at Penn State, where Ian from "Survivor" came from. Good luck to you in the future -- you'll go far!

-- Linda L. Shope


Ian is truly an amazing fellow, and will go down in "Survivor" history as one of the kindest and good-hearted guys ever. From the very beginning I had said that kid had character. And what character he has. Friendship and honor over a million dollars. This man, "young fellow," has more than a million dollars, he has what it takes to be an exceptional human being. This kind and wonderful act will gain him way more than money will in his future. I think I had tears in my eyes watching last night.

-- Phil


I became intrigued by this "Survivor" because you were on it. I work for Penn State, UP campus, and was thrilled to see a player I could somewhat relate to. I commend you for the choices you made. You are a REAL man. It was a tough choice between you and Tom. You are a great friend to him that a lot of people don't share. God Bless you.

-- Penny Irvin


Ian, I just want you to know that you really made a great decision. you are such a charming and adorable person. you gave up the million but you gained respect! Good game, Ian! You're still the first in our hearts =) and ... I also appreciate your great effort on helping the needs, you're so sweet and personable!

-- Anna, Hong Kong


Way to go, Ian ...I rooted you on through the entire show, but am happy to have my children see that money isn't everything! Best of luck to you in all you do!

Michele Evans-Hoover, Hershey


I honestly cannot believe you choose integrity over a chance at a million dollars. Obviously your honesty hurt you in the end. I am not sure exactly how to phrase this but -- the more I think about it, the more I think you made a mistake. You played the game right and you have integrity and honor. You didn't need to step down to prove that about yourself. I can appreciate your thoughts at the time, and the editing of the show made it look like you made the right decision, but I really think you judged yourself too harshly and you had no reason to step down. You played the game right and you gave it all you had. I know Tom did the same so it's hard to say who deserved it more. I guess all I can say is that you deserved to be in the final two. Anyway you are a remarkable person and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

-- Denis in Calgary


Thank you so much for the wonderful example you modeled when you valued friendship and respect more than the million dollars. You will go down in "Survivor" history as the most noble Survivor. You played an excellent game. I wanted you and Tom to be final 2 and I didn't know who should win. God bless you.

-- Jami Sinclair


I couldn't be more proud of you -- what a wonderful, caring man you've become. I count myself as privileged to have known you since you were a little guy ... you played such a great game! We were all pulling for you last night and while I'm sorry you lost the million you gained a great deal more. ... Congratulations on the success you've made of your life.

-- Aunt Cheryl


I can no longer hold my tears by watching you make this incredible decision, leaving the chance to Katie. Well, I am a girl from China. I am so much impressed by your performance in "Survivor" season 10,and I was definitely convinced that you or Tom would win the game. But I was much more moved than shocked by your final decision, especially after watching your interview "Ian's final words" on the first episode, I just got this feeling that Ian was a tough competitor but a very very nice guy, cause you had this smile of the sunshine that looked so pure and innocent. Even though all of you guys showed your somewhat vicious sides in order to win the game, but you sticked to who you are. And I totally understand that you value friendships more than money, cause it's just awful to wake up one day, realizing that you've won the world, but lost yourself. I am one of your great supporters, and I really hope that you could visit China. I could be your tour guide.

-- Ma Jailing


I commend you. I, personally, think you are selfless (in a good way) and beautiful. I know you didn't win the million, but you lost with dignity. I think you are amazing. I am sorry, I have to throw this in here ... I cannot believe you have girl problems. I was rooting for you the whole game, and I am happy that you won something worth more than a million dollars. 1) You won a date with almost any girl in America, and you won the title of "sweetheart" in my book. 2) You weren't evil just to win a million bucks, that takes something special.

-- Brittany


I just wanted to let you know that I thought you played an incredible
game. You completely shocked and amazed me when you stepped down from
the last immunity challenge. It made me like you even more. You
played a great game and I hope the other players, your family and
friends recognize that. It was fun to watch the show knowing that you
were an intelligent player who was also a good physical competitor.
My admiration of you was heightened when I read an article about you
in a Toronto newspaper. I was touched by all the charitable work you
have done with and for children. You seem like a truly awesome
person. ... Somewhere in Canada there is a girl who equates you with a
champion.

-- Katherine


I have to congratulate Ian on being the most (in my opinion) respected Survivor of them all. He may not of won $1 million, but instead, he won the respect of Tom and Katie and probably most of the fans of "Survivor." Way to go Ian!!! My friends and I were rooting for you all the way!!

-- Alexandra Steele, Ontario, Canada


By choosing intergrity over material gain, you set a wonderful example for all us. You might not have been the ultimate survivor, but you are the ultimate hero.

-- Rita


You are one of the best Survivors ever! I hope you enjoy your car and I hope that "Survivor" has an All Stars Season 2 and you will be on it. You are so sweet and great! Thank you for making this season of Survivor my favorite ever.

-- Irene, Louisiana


You were my fav from the beginning and I can't understand why you felt
you had done something wrong ... but you are a great guy ... good luck
to you in all things ... I have a lot of respect for you

-- Lissa


Congratulations Ian! You played an awesome game, and you made the Nittany Nation proud! :) We had so much fun watching a fellow Penn Stater compete this season. You are awesome! Also, I live in California now, but I grew up in Beaver ... so maybe I'll run into you sometime at Thursdays when everyone is home for the holidays! ;) Just one question for you. I am convinced that the roar (with hand gesture) that you guys did for "Koror" was the infamous Nittany Lion roar that the fans do at the games when they play the lion roar over the loudspeaker. Am I right? Were you representing PSU all throughout the show?! :) Congrats again!

-- Kristin, PSU '00


Hi Ian, I'm a true survivor fan from Singapore and I have never liked a player more than you. Though some people may call you stupid, I know you did those things because you wanted to be true to yourself. I can see that you are not a good liar but certainly a good friend. :) Good Luck to you!

-- MC


I wish you would have won!

-- Kathy


I am so blown away by your decision in the final episode of "Survivor: Palau." It is so unbelievably touching to think that in the western world's most famous game of trechery, someone is willing to put friendship above money. It was clear in Episode 13 that you and Katie had formed a remarkable bond. I cried in that episode because what you said, how you were being, was SO authentic. And now this. I hope Katie values your friendship. In my opinion, it's priceless.

-- Petrina Frost, Sydney, Australia


You are the best you did the best at playing the "GAME" and even though you didn't win you are the true survivor in my book.

-- Heather A


I watched Survivor and cried when you gave up a million dollars to restore your friendship with Tom and Katie. You are an amazing person. I only wish that Tom would have taken you instead. They are so, so lucky to have you as a friend.

-- Connie Chartrand, Kamloops, BC, Canada


The tension between you and Tom was exciting to watch until you took a dive which ended in the most anti-climatic Survivor Show final competition ever. What bad timing for sitting down your torch after fighting so hard to get so far. You did not owe Tom or Katie anything. They had both discussed and wanted to vote you off. It should have been every man for himself to the bitter end as you and Tom had originally planned for the final round.

-- Barbara


I have been watching "Survivor" since it started -- the only season I missed was the ninth. I've never felt compelled to write or contact a contestant until you. I just thought that -- unlike most of the players who come off as caricatures or characters -- you seemed like a real, good guy who genuinely cared about other people. When you and Katie were on the beach, it reminded me so much of arguments I get into with my friends, where the intensity of the argument is evidence of the depth of the friendship. And then your decision to step out of the immunity challenge after standing there for 11 hours was just unbelievable -- I can only imagine all the options and thoughts going through your head, and to make a decision that level-headed and thoughtful under those circumstances is just unbelieveable. You don't know how much my friends and I were pulling for you in that first immunity challenge with the locks tonight -- you were so close. ... Anyway, as someone only a few years younger than you (I'm a freshman in college), it was really refreshing to see someone on TV who I actually felt like I could identify with and respect. You wore your heart on your sleeve and made decisions that you could live with after the game had ended. Good luck with everything in the future.

-- Josh


I watched the finale of Survivor this evening and realized that the show has come full circle. Prior to Ian there was no one who won the hearts of so many viewers and I doubt none will follow. He truly is the ultimate survivor and won much more than $1,000,000. I would like to know if there is some sort of philanthropy fund for viewers to contribute to any of Ian's life inspirations, such as the Four Diamonds kids from Penn State Hershey Medical Center he contributed the 4 tickets to? I am certain many viewers would like this information and I am hoping CBS will let their viewers know as well. Sincere congratulations to Ian.

-- Mary Collins, Gainesville, Fla.

Editor's note: To contribute to the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, or for more information about what has believed to be the largest student-run philanthropy in the nation, go to http://www.thon.org/ online.


Oh Ian, I love you even more for what you did! I'm cryin' over here. What a beautiful man you are. Good luck in life.

-- Paula


Excerpts of comments for Rosenberger before the finale

Last week was too close! I know the results are already in, but I wanted to wish you my best anyway. Have fun with the Vette!

-- Cornelius William Cornelssen X


Ian is the only choice to win Survivor!!!

-- Heather R


Hello Ian! Just wanted to send you a friendly note from the San Francisco Bay Area, California. We are rooting for you to go all the way! Best of luck to you tonight!

-- Sara


I am Clover, president of your fan club! Tonight is the night and I have not by far giving up any hope for you to win the million. You played one great game, strategy and emotion. You do deserve it but in honesty I think Tom or Katie would be scared to death to be in the final 2 with you. So win immunity and kick their butts. ... Also, you are much wanted to make a statement on your fan club. You were extremely liked by all! Nice game and best of luck.


Yay you made it! Awesome job!! My family and I are HUGE "Survivor" fans and we're rooting for you ALL THE WAY! I hope you win!!!!!

My sister and you have met before. She attends PSU and is a moraler for Thon. ... I will be attending PSU this summer and I am completely thrilled!! I am also planning on being thoroughly involved with Thon and dancing my junior year! I dont know HOW you did it!! But congratulations!!!!! Last of all, I want to thank you for the most amazing thing you are doing for those 3 children you chose to bring to the finale. That is so charitable and so selfless and that is why I hope you kicked butt and WON! I know you will do great things with the money. Thanks again for being a truly inspiring and wonderful person!

-- Sam O'Brien, future PSU-er, Dallas High School

P.S. Hot car you won by the way ;)


Ian, you are the most beautiful man I have ever seen! I hope to someday meet you. good luck.

-- Lindsey Dellamano


I think Ian is the ultimate survivor. I wish him luck. ... Hey Ian, you were my favorite from the beginning!!!!!!!!! WE ALL LOVE YOU UP HERE IN CANADA!!!!!!!!!!! Hope you win!

-- Beth, Ontario, Canada


Good luck Ian! You played a great game on Survivor and I think that you deserve to win!

-- Elizabeth S.


Watching the previous episode made me wish I was Katie! I wish I had a friend like you Ian. You're the best and you and Tom deserve to be the final two!

-- Dalia, Egypt


I'm delighted he took another guy (on the trip) instead of one of the women. Please say hi to him. I'm in his corner.

-- Jed


Hey Ian! I've been supporting you ever since the first episode and I love you so much. You deserve to win the most cuz you're so sweet. :) And you really worked hard! Congrats on winning the convertible...and GOOD LUCK!

-- Stephanie Low, Singapore


Good Luck Ian!!! I know You're the next Survivor!!!

-- Sharon Wynn, Rochester NY


Never thought that after 2 years of hanging out at your house I'd see you on Survivor!!!! I wish you the best of luck and am rooting for you to win. You can do it! Penn State is behind you!!!!! BEST OF LUCK!!

-- Mary


I know you're going to win You have to win. You play this game the best. I love how you work with dolphins and are very caring and sweet. ... I really hope you win the million You deserve it most of anybody.

-- Jennifer King


Since I had classes on Thursday nights, I have been keeping up with your process through the PSU Newswire. Since classes are over, I finally got to watch an episode last night. Congrats on the Corvette and I think it is wonderful that you are taking the kids from Penn State Hershey Med to the show on Sunday. You are definitely making PSU look good and showing the whole world the generosity, integrity and loyalty that are characteristic of Penn State's students and alumni. Best of luck.

-- Sharon, Hershey, Class of 1999


Congratulations on winning the Corvette and your integrity. PSU is proud.

-- The Mac's, Hershey, PA


Ian! My favorite from the beginning. I've flipped for you, you dolphin trainin' talk drink o' water. Crossing fingers and fins that you win it all.

-- Paula, Dallas, Texas


You're the one. You'll be the survivor!!

-- Herman Gibb, PSU Class of 70


Despite what I thought were crocodile tears w/Katie, you've become my favorite to win. Will be watching Sunday with crossed fingers that Tom doesn't make it to the finals w/you. Good luck!

-- Frankie


You are my favorite Ian! You are such a cool person. My sister and I were taken with you from day one of the show. You remind us of Daniel Johns of the group Silverchair. Have you heard them? I don't know what will happen on Sunday but if you don't win, I may have to give up on Survivor. You are a person of such integrity and you did the right thing on the reward challenge with Tom and Katie! If integrity was a million dollars, you should consider yourself the winner! My best to you, you deserve much. I would love to have an autograph.

-- Karen Beverly, Fredericksburg, Va.


I am dating your cousin Paul. Paul's mom, Helen, and my sisters and I are anxiously cheering you on to win the Big One. You are doing a great job. Good luck. ... We love ya ...

-- Sherian


I have never cried over a Survivor until last night. Ian, you seem like such a sweet, passionate person. My husband is partially paralyzed and he has a really sweet, kind personality and in last night's episode when you got so upset when Katie was angry with you, you reminded me of my husband Rick. Sweet and sincere. I hope you win. I am so glad that you won the Corvette. You deserve it. I will be cheering you on all the way.

-- Alice from Alabama


I'm a girl from China. I live in Guangzhou. I like survivor very much, but I just can see it once a week from the World Channel. "Survivor: Palau" is very good ... because I love Ian very much! I love dolphins, and I love him, too ... I hope he can win at last. This is my first time to send e-mail abroad.

-- Queenie


Ian's decisions seem to be getting a little erratic. Quite lucky to survive after taking Tom to dinner. His personal Katie issues seem to be clouding his decisions. Too bad since she all but dumped him overboard after cruising with Greg and Jen. The Katie-Ian relationship seems to be strategy for Katie but personal for Ian. Hope you survive despite the K-factor.

-- Greg


I just wanted say good work and well played. Seems like a very good guy to know.

-- Megan


Well done so far! University of Toronto ( well...most of us :) ) is rooting for you!!!!!! Win this thing! :)

-- Edna


Can't wait to see the Corvette at PSU!! But what a bonehead move to take Tom with you -- it didn't seem to hurt you, but hopefully you're looking out for yourself in the future challenges.

Cathy PSU 1085


You're the greatest! We have watched you throughout and congratulated you in our family room!! Of course we wish for you the very best, the $1 million and we will be watching every minute! We know your leadership abilities, your great personality, your self-giving, your friendship, and your loyalty. We love you.

-- Pete and Julia Kiefer


You will win the $1 million!!!!!!! I have followed the program. If not, you gave it your best. How thoughtful to have kids from the Four Diamonds Fund. You make us all Penn State Proud.

-- "LJ" Ruth, Class of 1953


I am his biggest fan. I hope he's the winner!!!! He has played this game very well. For him to give these tickets to "cancer survivors" really tells you something about this young man. I lost a brother to cancer so for him to do this has really touched my heart. Ian, you have my vote!! Good Luck!!!

-- Betty Fortin, Albion, Maine


Good Luck, Ian!!!!!

-- Branka


I hope you win the money. I heard you were a real nice young man
before the show started. I think you play a great game. Good Luck.
Rita (Bridget's mom)


Ian, Wow! What an amazing gift to the four cancer survivors! We're your fans and hope you go all the way to #1!

-- Christina and family


I am watching and rooting for you. "GO GET EM!!!!

-- Kathy


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Last Updated March 19, 2009