Bloomington, Ind.-- The Nittany Lion Shrine, monument not only to the school but also to the permanence of Indiana limestone, recently celebrated its 75th anniversary as an iconic campus landmark at Pennsylvania State University.
Penn 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 natural stone, the landmark is the most photographed statue on campus. It has maintained its distinctive appearance for three quarters of a century thanks in large part to the durability of the limestone from which it was fashioned.
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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