Former and current Nittany Lion mascots share lion tales

October 20, 2008

University Park, Pa. — A dozen former Nittany Lion mascots joined the current one, James Sheep, and Steven L. Herb, University Libraries education librarian and co-author of "The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale" on Friday, Oct. 17, for a Homecoming-weekend talk titled "A Walk in the Lion's Paws: Why the Mascot Is Loved."

The event was held in conjunction with the Libraries' exhibit "The Lion's Roar: Penn State Spirit," which will remain on display through Tuesday, Dec. 30.

Audience members at Pattee Library's Foster Auditorium were treated to memories from mascots who donned the now-ubiquitous costume from as far back as 1942. Robert Ritzmann of State College performed the "lion's share" of mascot duties from 1942 to 1946. Dan Kohlhepp, an Alumni Fellow who assumed the mascot position in 1967, started the tradition of having the Nittany Lion perform one-armed push-ups. The most recent mascot emeritus, Dave Johnson (mascot of 2005-2007), was also in attendance.

To view photos from the event, visit

  • James Sheep knows it's great to be the Nittany Lion. For photos from the mascot talk, click on the lion.

    IMAGE: Jill Shockey

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010