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Nittany Lion

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Title: Nittany Lion  
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Subject: Penn State Nittany Lions, Pennsylvania State University, The Nittany Lion (song), Penn State Brandywine, Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Nittany Lion

Nittany Lion
The Nittany Lion mascot at the 2007 season opener
University Pennsylvania State University
Conference Big Ten
Description Nittany Lion
First seen 1904

This article is about the Penn State mascot. For the Penn State fight song see "The Nittany Lion (song)".

The Nittany Lion is the mascot of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, USA and its athletic teams. It refers to the mountain lions that once were fabled to roam near the school, and to Mount Nittany,[1] a local landmark. There is a song played during sporting events on campus entitled "The Nittany Lion." Fans know this song as Hail to the Lion, even though that is not technically the name of the song.

The Nittany Lion mascot pumps up the crowd at the 2005 football game versus Cincinnati at Beaver Stadium.

The mascot was the creation of Penn State senior H. D. "Joe" Mason in 1907 since the Nittany Lion is not a real animal. While on a 1904 trip to Princeton University, Mason had been embarrassed that Penn State did not have a mascot. Mason did not let that deter him: he fabricated the Nittany Lion on the spot and proclaimed that it would easily defeat the Princeton Bengal tiger.[2] The Lion's primary means of attack against the Tiger would be its strong right arm, capable of slaying any foes (this is now traditionally exemplified through one-armed push-ups after the team scores a touchdown). Upon returning to campus, he set about making his invention a reality. In 1907, he wrote in the student publication The Lemon:


Mountain lions had roamed on nearby Mount Nittany until the 1880s.[3] The origin of the name "Mount Nittany" is obscure, the most commonly accepted explanation being that it is derived of Native American words (loosely pronounced as "neet-a-nee") named after the cougars that roamed the mountain or "single mountain" - a protective barrier against the elements.

See also


  1. ^ "Pennsylvania State University - Nittany Mountain". Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  2. ^ "Penn State: What is a Nittany Lion?". Retrieved 27 March 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Cronin, Brian (May 20, 2012). "The story of the Penn State Nittany Lion". Los Angeles Times. 

External links

  • Nittany Lion Mascots
  • Esposito, Jackie R. and Steven L. Herb. The Nittany Lion, Penn State Press, 2001 ISBN 0-271-02115-2
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