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Lion Shrine’s Ear Broken Off On State Patty’s Day

Update 9:33 a.m.: Campus police say they believe the broken ear was an accident and not a result of vandalism. We’ve also received notes from alumni describing the ear in various states of attachment over the past few weeks.

Original Story: State Patty’s Day is almost notorious for the debauchery it brings to State College each year between THON and Spring Break — but this time it’s gone too far. Sometime during the day’s festivities, the right ear was broken off the Nittany Lion Shrine.

Penn State campus police said they are aware that the ear is broken, and they have the missing piece in their possession as of 2 a.m. Sunday.

This is the fourth time the Nittany Lion has lost its right ear; the shrine was vandalized in 1978 and again in 1994. The original sculptor, Heinz Warneke, returned to campus in 1979 to repair the Symbol of Our Best and to make a cast of the shrine in case of additional future damage. The ear was put in place in both instances by master carver Vincenzzo Palumbo from Washington’s National Cathedral.

Most recently, the ear was damaged in 2003, this time appearing accidental. Police did not comment on whether this damage appeared to be accidental or as a result of vandalism.

You can see the damage below:

Photo: Kevin Horne
Photo: Kevin Horne
Photo: Kevin Horne

We’ll continue to update this post as the situation develops.


Editor’s note: A previous version of this post said sculptor Heinz Warneke repaired the ear in both 1978 and 1994. While Warneke prepared the cast in 1979 that was used in both repairs, carver Vincenzzo Palumbo put the ear in place in both instances. We apologize for the error.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a senior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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