The Nittany Lion, mascot of Pennsylvania State University, comes from the mountain lions once said to roam near the campus and Mount Nittany, the single mountain that overlooks the university's campus. "Nittany" is an Algonquian word meaning "single mountain."
The Nittany Lion mascot was invented by Penn State senior H.D. "Joe" Mason, Class of 1907. At a baseball game against Princeton in 1904, the Penn State team was faced with Princeton's tiger mascot. Having no mascot of their own, Mason quickly invented one, naming it after the fearsome predator thought to inhabit the woods around the school. The Nittany Lion mascot proved so popular among students, faculty and alumni that the University never formally adopted it, as it quickly fell into widespread usage.