Whether you’re a third-generation Penn Stater and the epitome of school sprit or a transfer student still familiarizing yourself with campus culture, you know the Nittany Lion. In fact, not only do you know him, you love him.
Believe it or not, our most beloved mascot has been fostering Penn State pride for over a century now. When the idea of the “Nittany Lion” was first introduced back in 1904 it was so popular among students, alumni, and fans that there was never any official vote on its adoption. They took one look at that furry coat, flappy ears and friendly roar and their hearts were sold. Thus, the Nittany Lion became the official mascot of The Pennsylvania State University.
To this day, he is still one of the most recognizable symbols of the university and is a vital component to any Penn State sporting event or celebration. He brings smiles to the faces of everyone he sees and spreads the joy that helps make Happy Valley what it is.
We all know every school thinks their mascot is best, but here are seven solid reasons why Pitt’s mascot, Roc, doesn’t stand a chance against our Nittany Lion.
1. He flaps his ears in the most adorable way – It may sound simple and maybe a little childish, but there’s just something so lovable about the way the Nittany Lion flaps his ears when he gets pumped up. It’s like his signature move that everyone can recognize. It’s so popular, in fact, that it was featured as part of the THON 2013 line dance, and is one part no student will ever forget.
2. He takes sick selfies – Stalk any Penn State student and, chances are, you will find a picture of the Nittany Lion somewhere in their selfie stockpile. Though it can be hard to get his attention among a massive amount of Penn State fans, a little patience is all it takes to snag a selfie with the most photogenic mascot in the game.
3. He’s involved in our philanthropy – Since it first began in 1973, the Nittany Lion has always been one of the most welcomed guests at the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. His endless spirit, nonstop energy and affectionate embrace successfully support the dancers in their most trying times and instantly bring smiles to the faces of hundreds of Four Diamonds children and their families. This year he not only attended THON, but the Nittany Lion actually participated as one of the over 700 dancers and completed the entire weekend on his feet alongside his fellow students. We dare you to find another college mascot who can say that.
(Photo: Onward State)
4. He does one-armed push-ups like a boss – Yet another signature move of the Nittany Lion; his one-armed push-ups are an essential addition to any Penn State football game and can easily get the crowd going. Whether it’s unbearably hot or 10 degrees and snowing, he’s always down for a few push-ups – and with perfect form, we might add.
(Photo: Hilton Garden Inn)
5. He pays special attention to the future Nittany Lions – Despite our unending love for our mascot, there’s no denying that his most dedicated fans don’t attend the university yet. Maybe it’s his furry coat or his friendly smile, but there is certainly something about him that wins the hearts of little boys and girls all across the mid-state – the same girls and boys who eventually grow up to become Penn State students.
(Photo: Onward State)
6. His roar is unmistakable – Though there are many college mascots with many different victory roars, not a single one of them can be mistaken for the Nittany Lion. His particular roar is simply undeniable, and I guarantee every Penn Stater reading this can hear it in their heads at this very moment. It’s impossible to duplicate using the human voice alone, but it’s proven to bring out the lion in all of us when we need it most.
7. He is, and forever will be, one of the most beloved symbols of this university – We could go on and on about how much we love our mascot, but this truly says it all. There are many symbols that are associated with this university but none of them capture the true meaning of Penn State quite like the Lion does. He is everything WE ARE and ever hope to be – strong, caring, kind and PROUD.
(Photo: The Daily Collegian)
Curious about the competition? Check out Her Campus Pitt’s rebuttal on why the Roc is better and decide for yourself.