Seniors to improve and enhance Nittany Lion Shrine as 2012 class gift

October 26, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's Senior Class Gift Committee announced today (Oct. 26) that the class of 2012 has chosen to improve and enhance the area surrounding the Nittany Lion Shrine as its gift to the University.

Seniors so far have pledged more than $50,000 to the Nittany Lion Shrine Historical Display and Beautification campaign. The gift will provide improved lighting, accessibility and landscaping for the area surrounding the shrine. In addition, an interpretive display will be installed in the vicinity of the shrine and will include historical information about the statue and its sculptor, Heinz Warneke. The shrine itself is a gift of the class of 1940.

"The senior class gift program has provided students the opportunity to express gratitude to and pride for their alma mater, while marking the graduating class’ transition from students to young alumni," said Allison Shutt, overall chair of the Senior Class Gift Committee, at the announcement. "The class of 2012 is honored to continue this legacy."

Shutt also noted that this year's seniors have the opportunity to make an even greater impact with their pledges.

"If members of the class of 2012 make at least 3,000 pledges by April 15 of next year, loyal Penn State alumni and donors Ed and Helen Hintz will endow a Trustee Scholarship in the class’ name, ensuring an education for the brightest students with the most financial need," she said.

New Jersey residents, the Hintzes are longtime leaders in the University's philanthropic activities, supporting such projects as the Hintz Family Alumni Center and the Presidential Leadership Academy.

More than 2,200 seniors cast their ballots last week, in person and online, to vote for one of three gift proposals. The two other proposals on the ballot were the restoration of the Land-Grant Frescoes in Old Main, and the endowment of a Trustee Scholarship. The gift selection committee chose the three finalists from more than 150 proposals submitted by members of the University community.

"This senior class has chosen a very special gift," said Rod Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, who accepted the gift on behalf of the University. "The Nittany Lion Shrine is the second most photographed site in Pennsylvania -- only surpassed by the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. I wouldn’t be surprised if the historical display of the Nittany Lion Shrine pushes it to number one. I’m delighted that the class of 2012 has chosen a gift that will be seen and enjoyed by countless students, faculty members, alumni and campus visitors."

The funding for the class gift comes from seniors pledging all or a portion of their general deposit or by making cash gifts. The University holds the $100 deposit during a student's time at Penn State and uses it to cover unforeseen expenses, fees and emergency costs.

The 2012 Senior Class Gift Committee includes Allison Shutt (overall chairperson), Elyse Baccino (fundraising chair), Amy Hudak, (communications chair), Gary McMillen (events chair), Adam Miller (gift development chair), Lauren Perrotti (marketing chair) and Mackenzy Radolec (student relations chair).

The tradition of class gifts began when the class of 1861, at its reunion in 1890, gave the University a portrait of Penn State's first president, Evan Pugh, which still hangs in the lobby of Old Main. For more information about Penn State's senior class gift program, visit online or the Penn State Senior Class Gift page on Facebook, or follow the campaign on Twitter at @PSUSeniors.

  • Penn State's 2012 Senior Class Gift Committee. Clockwise from top left: Gary McMillen, Adam Miller, Elyse Baccino, Amy Hudak, Lauren Perrotti, Mackenzy Radolec and Allison Shutt.

    IMAGE: Pat Mansell
Last Updated October 27, 2011