STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The Nittany Lion Shrine - monument not only to a great American school but also to the permanence of Indiana limestone - recently reached its 75th anniversary as an iconic campus landmark here at Pennsylvania State University.

250 lionClick photo to enlargePenn State's campus has been graced by the Nittany Lion since it was sculpted by Heinz Warneke in 1942 and presented to the university as a gift from the Class of 1940. Carved from a 13-ton block of the highly regarded natural stone, the landmark is the most photographed statue on campus.

The lion keeps its distinctive appearance, even after three-quarters of a century, thanks in large part to the durability of the natural stone. Indiana Limestone is renowned for its homogenous, consistent nature; beautiful native colors; and superb sculptural characteristics. Experienced stone artisans particularly value its ease in carving, as well as the fine edge it provides for detail and tooling.

Through the years, the Nittany Lion Shrine has been repeatedly vandalized by rival fans. Three times it lost its right ear. The first time this happened, in the 1970s, sculptor Warneke repaired it personally.

In 1966, six Syracuse University fans coated the lion in difficult-to-remove orange paint. Since then, ROTC students guard the shrine every year as part of the university's homecoming traditions.

Major renovations to the shrine were carried out in 2013. The landmark was closed to the public in May of that year while a new staircase, paths, and lighting were added.


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