Penn State Intercom......August 9, 2001

Nittany Lion weathervane
to prowl atop stadium

By Tysen Kendig
Public Information vane4

Although Mount Nittany may no longer be able to peer into the renovated confines of Beaver Stadium, at least one of the mountain's former inhabitants will still have the best seat in the house when the Nittany Lions take the field on Sept. 1.

A copper-plate weathervane likeness of the Penn State Nittany Lion, handcrafted by Martha's Vineyard sculptor Travis Tuck, has taken a permanent home 110 feet above the southwest corner of Beaver Stadium.

The weathervane was commissioned by UniversityTrustee Joel N. Myers, founder and president of State College-based AccuWeather Inc.It measures 10 feet in length, three feet in width, and nine feet in height, and tips the scales at 2,000 pounds. Although the massive sculpture may not be able to predict the winds of fortune that await the football team this year, a combination of stainless steel ball-and-roller bearings will allow fans to gauge actual wind direction at the stadium. vane8

"We believe this to be the second-largest working weathervanein the world," said Kathy Tackabury, spokesperson for Travis Tuck. The weathervane was hand- built of 1/8 -inch copper plate utilizing repousse, a traditional folk art technique of metalwork also used to construct the Statue of Liberty. The armature that supports the actual sculpture is made of stainless steel and weighs more than 700 pounds. The pattern for the sculpture was created using a four-foot, plaster of paris casting of the Nittany Lion made from a mold provided by the University. Using this model, sculptors Travis Tuck and Anthony Holand created 100 pattern pieces that enabled a proportionate recreation of the lion.

Tuck has designed original commissioned pieces in 43 states and 12 countries over a period of 34 years. He is best known as a sculptor of fine custom weathervanes, with a clientele that includes President and Mrs. Clinton, movie producer StevenSpielberg, former U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, and entertainers James Taylor and Carly Simon.

The Nittany Lion weathervane was transported from Martha's Vineyard via flatbed trailer and affixed to its permanent home overlooking Beaver Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 2

The weathervane is a symbolic addition to the $93 million Beaver Stavane5vane6dium expansion and renovation project, tying together the University's strong athletic tradition with its world-renowned meteorology program. The department, perennially ranked No. 1 in the nation, prepares the daily weather report for The New York Times and other media outlets. In addition, a recent survey found that one of every four meteorologists in the United States is a Penn State graduate.

Tysen Kendig can be reached at