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Nittany Lion Ear: Van Gone!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

On Feb. 24, Penn State students celebrated  “State Patty’s Day,” a rendition of the Irish holiday, Saint Patrick’s Day. Students dress in an absurd amount of green attire and attend house parties throughout the day. This year, however, the Nittany Lion Shrine was a victim of a crime. On this particular Saturday night, the lion shrine’s ear was severed. We’ve seen this mishap occur time and time again, with the first occurrence dating back to 1978, then occurring again in 1994 and 2003. Luckily, the ear has been recovered by University police and will eventually be mended to the statue once again.

After hearing about the tragic incident, I immediately thought about Vincent Van Gogh. For those who are unaware, Van Gogh was a famous Post-impressionist painter, otherwise known for his most famous piece of work titled, “The Starry Night”. Below, I have listed five reasons why the Nittany Lion and Vincent Van Gogh are remarkably similar:


1. First and foremost, both the Nittany Lion Shrine and Van Gogh have a severed right ear.

For unknown reasons, Van Gogh cut his own ear off. Unlike Van Gogh, the Lion Shrine’s ear was chiseled off by miscellaneous people.

2. They share the same strawberry blonde locks.

The Nittany Lion mascot is known for flaunting his luscious coat of fur around campus. Van Gogh, on the other hand, constructed paintings featuring his familiar red/strawberry blonde hair and beard.

3. They both have a huge fan base.

Since Van Gogh is famous worldwide, and there are hundreds of thousands of Penn State fans, I think it’s safe to say that this duo gets plenty of love.

4. Van Gogh and the Nittany Lion have both been featured in artwork and paintings

The Nittany Lion is featured in artwork throughout Penn State and the surrounding town of State College. Likewise, Van Gogh created a series of self-portraits throughout his career.

5. Lastly, they are both right handed.

During football season, the Nittany Lion mascot has an iconic tradition of performing a series of one armed push-ups following each touchdown that Penn State scores. As a right-handed artist, Vincent Van Gogh relied on his steady hand to create his numerous works of art.

Thankfully, the lion was only missing his ear for a few days, and has already been repaired. 


Header image: Jackie Finnegan

Jackie Finnegan is a Senior at Penn State. She is majoring in both Art and Advertising. She loves expressing her creative side through painting and enjoys getting some fresh air either by snowboarding or hiking with friends.
Allie Maniglia served as the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Penn State from 2017-2018. She majored in public relations with minors in international studies and communication arts and sciences. If she's not busy writing away, you can find her planning her next adventure (probably back to the U.K.), feeding an unhealthy addiction to HGTV or watching dog videos on YouTube.