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Nittany? More Like Jerk-ittany...

Penn State, thy name is...Penn State. But what else is going on?

The Nittany Aggies Works Too

Penn State was founded in 1885 as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania, under the assumption that no one in the state would ever reach any higher form of education. In 1862, the school's name was changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania, presumably because New Yorkers started attending and standard needed to be raised. In 1875 the names changed to Pennsylvania State College.

Which Is Interesting, Because I Already Associated Altoona With Depression
In the late 30's, a system of commonwealth campuses was started by then-President Ralph Hetzel to provide an alternative for Depression-era students who were economically unable to leave home to attend college.

Took Long Enough

In 1953, President Milton Eisenhower, brother of U.S. President Dwight, changed the school's name to The Pennsylvania State University.

The Syracuse Rose Pink vs. The Penn State Pink Lions
It was almost that way. We know SU's disturbing original color scheme, but what about Penn State's? The school's official colors were originally black and pink, but the baseball team's uniforms would fade to dark blue and white after being washed, so the school permanently changed the colors to the now-familiar blue and white. I think it worked out well for all parties.

Watch Out For All Those Lions
Roaming Bucks County
While it's true that mountain lions once roamed the area around Penn State, the origin of the mascot is actually based on, well, the absurd ramblings of a student. In 1904, Penn State senior H. D. "Joe" Mason was visiting Princeton and, apparently in a heated discussion involving the voracity of the Princeton Tiger, he made up the Nittany Lion and claimed it would easily defeat and/or maim the Tiger in battle. When he returned to campus, he used the newspaper to help push for the official institution of the Nittany Lion as mascot.

Cause We All Robbed From The Native Americans One Way Or Another
The origin of the name "Mount Nittany" is relatively unknown but the most commonly accepted explanation being that it is derived of Native American words (loosely pronounced as "neet-a-nee") meaning either "single mountain" or a protective barrier against the elements. Unfortunately, it's not a protective barrier from Ohio State.

They've Had Some Spotty Success Here And There

Penn State won consensus National Championship in 1982 and 1986 but has also had a number of other undefeated teams including 1909, 1911, 1912, 1920, 1921, 1947, 1968, 1969, 1973 and 1994.

Joe Paterno Is Old. (How Old Is He?) He's So Old...
Joe Paterno grew up during the Great Depression. (So you can understand why this whole Intertubes thing is a little daunting.)

Eh, We Never Liked Stagg Anyway
At age 81, Paterno is coaching his 59th season at Penn State as an assistant or head coach in 2008, holding the record for any football coach at any university. The 2008 season marks Joe Paterno’s 43rd season pacing the sidelines as head coach of Penn State, passing Amos Alonzo Stagg for the most years at a single institution.

Steeler Fans Remain Bitter To This Day

Paterno turned down an offer to coach the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969, an offer he initially seriously considered. (The Steelers ended up hiring
Chuck Noll). In 1972 Paterno also turned down a head coaching position with the New England Patriots which included a percentage ownership position.

JoePa Gettin' His

After five years of court battles, the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) released, in November 2007 the highly anticipated salary of coach Paterno: $512,664. The figure is not inclusive of other compensation, such as money from television and apparel contracts as well as other bonuses that Paterno and other football bowl subdivision coaches may earn. Paterno responded by saying "I'm paid well, I'm not overpaid."
Greg Robinson makes more than Joe Paterno. Just saying.

Joe Paterno Would Rather You Not Parlay The SU Game This Weekend

Paterno has been an outspoken opponent of gambling on college sports. He would like to see an end put to legalized college sports gambling in Nevada. Joe Paterno would be horrible at parties.

Barack Obama Is Not Familiar With Their Exploits

In the 2008 presidential campaign, during a stop in Pennsylvania, Barack Obama called them the "Nitally lions" as he called on someone during a question-and-answer session. So says Wikipedia.