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About penn state


All Things Nittany

The origins of "Nittany" are a bit obscure, but most likely the word comes from a Native American term meaning, "single mountain." (Since a number of Algonquian-speaking tribes inhabited central Pennsylvania, the term can’t be traced to one single group.) The description applied to the mountain that separates what is today Penns Valley and Nittany Valley, with its western end overlooking the community of State College and Penn State's University Park campus. The first colonial settlers in the 1700s adopted this term, or a variation of it, in formally naming Nittany Mountain.

Thus by the time Penn State admitted its first students in 1859, the word "Nittany" was already in use. Following the emergence of the Nittany Lion mascot in the early 1900s, Nittany gained even more public prominence. Today, the word helps to define a host of places, services, and other entities in the Nittany Valley. Some of those most closely related to Penn State are included here.

Nittany Mountain

Nittany Lion Mascot

Nittany Lion Shrine

Nittany Lion Inn
The Nittany Lion Inn, which opened its doors in 1931, offers traditional Penn State hospitality in a beautiful setting on the University Park campus.

Mount Nittany Society
Membership in the Mount Nittany Society is a singular honor, and is accorded only to those individuals and couples whose cumulative giving to Penn State has reached or exceeded $250,000.

Nittany Lion Club
The Nittany Lion Club, established in 1961, encourages interest in and financial support of Penn State varsity athletics.