The Nittany Lion is the mascot of the Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania and its athletic teams. It refers to the mountain lions that once roamed nearby the school, and to Mount Nittany, a local landmark. 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") meaning either "single mountain" or a protective barrier against the elements.
Sculptor Heinz Warnecke was retained to carve the lion at the site from a thirteen-ton block of limestone. The sculpture was formally unveiled on October 24, 1942. The shrine has come to be one of the most visited and photographed sites, not just on campus, but also in the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.