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 (which became the Pennsylvania State College in 1874) was one of the first participants in the 1862 Morrill Land Grant Act which offered federal land to colleges in return for college sponsored military training. Military training was offered for the first time in 1863. The instructor was a civilian with military 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 was expanded to include instruction in all the branches of the Army and ROTC units were established at the Berks and Abington-Ogontz Campuses. Later, Altoona and Hazleton Campuses added Army ROTC to their curriculum. In 1978, Lock Haven University 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 Wagner Building, the current home of the Nittany Lion Battalion, was opened. In 1962,the University Senate voted to end mandatory military training for male students. 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 the Pennsylvania State University’s Army ROTC unit crest. The shape of the crest isa shield which is symbolic of the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The colors of blue and white are the official University colors.The blue keystone on the white field represents the official nickname of Pennsylvania, The Keystone State. The lion, which became known as the Nittany Lion is the original symbolic mascot of the University. The arching of the lion over the Keystone denotes the extent of the University, spanning theCommonwealth. The gold color is a representation of the newly-commissioned officer'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, Penn State Army ROTC is widely recognized as one of the top ROTC programs in the nation. Commissioning scores of Lieutenants each year, these young officers commissioned from the Nittany Lion Battalion consistently perform above standards in their Officer Basic Course and in their units worldwide and continue exemplifying the values and standards of Penn State, the Nittany Lion Battalion, and the United States Army.