Pennsylvania State University

How did the Nittany Lion Battalion Start?

Military training has existed at The Pennsylvania State University since theUniversity's founding in 1855. The Agricultural College of Pennsylvania (whichbecame the Pennsylvania State College in 1874) was one of the firstparticipants in the 1862 Morrill Land Grant Act which offered federal land tocolleges in return for college sponsored military training. Military trainingwas offered for the first time in 1863. The instructor was a civilian withmilitary training experience. It wasn't until 1878 that a full-time Professorof Military Science was assigned to Penn State.


Are there any female Cadets? Yes, quite a few.


    Following World War II, the military curriculum wasexpanded to include instruction in all the branches of the Army and ROTC unitswere established at the Berks and Abington-Ogontz Campuses. Later, Altoona andHazleton Campuses added Army ROTC to their curriculum. In 1978, Lock HavenUniversity became an extension college of the Penn State ROTC system.

    In 1955, specialized training for cadets was abolishedand replaced with General Military Science training. In 1960, the WagnerBuilding, the current home of the Nittany Lion Battalion, was opened. In 1962,the University Senate voted to end mandatory military training for malestudents. Women joined the program in 1972.


What is that shield with the Lion on it? It’s the Nittany Lion Battalion’s unit crest.

On June 8, 1973 The Institute of Heraldry approved the design of thePennsylvania State University’s Army ROTC unit crest. The shape of the crest isa shield which is symbolic of the Great Seal of the Commonwealth ofPennsylvania. The colors of blue and white are the official University colors.The blue keystone on the white field represents the official nickname ofPennsylvania, The Keystone State. The lion, which became known as the NittanyLion is the original symbolic mascot of the University. The arching of the lionover the Keystone denotes the extent of the University, spanning theCommonwealth. The gold color is a representation of the newly-commissionedofficer's rank of Second Lieutenant, the gold bar.


The Nittany Lion Battalion downsized in the early 1990’s, but remains true to its original intention of providing exceptional leaders for America.

The unit was reduced from brigade to battalion size in 1992. Today, PennState Army ROTC is widely recognized as one of the top ROTC programs in thenation. Commissioning scores of Lieutenants each year, these young officerscommissioned from the Nittany Lion Battalion consistently perform abovestandards in their Officer Basic Course and in their units worldwide andcontinue exemplifying the values and standards of Penn State, the Nittany LionBattalion, and the United States Army.