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An Outsider's Look at Mount Nittany

by on May 26, 2010 7:00 AM

Hello State College! Now that the majority of the students have vacated the premises to return to their respective hometowns for the summer, I’d like to welcome the new college community that started summer classes last week. Also, my one last good luck and congratulations to the members of the Class of 2010 who have officially been in the real world for two weeks now!

I would first like to recap the Cheers Tour that was a success once again! We had 64.5 friends attend this event. The half was the 8-month-old son of Don the Mailguy and his wife, Holly.

The breakdown was as follows:

50 percent graduating seniors

47 percent friends, faculty and staff

3 percent family

As always, we met at Old Main at 6:47 p.m. and had the tour’s official kick-off with a photo by designated tour photographer, Steve Manuel. We then proceeded downtown and embarked on a dance-filled, fun, first-class night. I’m happy to report that only two of the graduating seniors slept past noon the next day and all of the “friends, faculty and staff” reported to work on time the next morning. As for the family members, they were visiting from out of town, so they started the weekend early.

This is always an interesting transitional time of the year for me. A lot of the students are back in their hometowns (hopefully helping their parents and) enjoying the start of their summer.

One thing I enjoy about this slower time of year is I have the opportunity to have more in-depth conversations with the customers that do come in to say hello, buy some stamps, or, like my next story, ask me questions because they are visiting campus.

Three visiting professors from Switzerland came in the other day to purchase some postcard stamps. They told me they were staying at the Nittany Lion Inn and that they had passed the Nittany Lion Shrine while walking to find my office. They had never heard of a Nittany Lion and wanted to know: Is it real? Where did it come from?

I love this stuff, so I jumped at the opportunity to tell them about the Nittany Lion’s tail – I mean, tale!

There is one mountain that stands out and overlooks Happy Valley: Mount Nittany. Its name – which comes from a Native American work meaning “a single mountain” – was used in 1904 to identify some of the mountain lions seen on the mountainside as “Nittany Lions.” And the name caught on (unlike the university’s original colors of pink and black).

I have several hunting friends (enough to make me an official member of the Harris Township Fish and Game Association even though I’ve never hunted anything in my life) who have informed me that they have recently seen bobcats on Mount Nittany. I’m pretty confident that Penn State will not be the Nittany Bobcats; it just doesn’t have the same roar – I mean, ring – to it.

I hope the professors understood my explanation enough. No matter the language, though, laughter is always understood. I learned that when I told them that even though Roger Federer has never defeated this avid tennis player, I still believe he is the best of all time.

What I should have told them (but I didn’t, so I will tell you) is to check out Boalsburg this weekend for the Memorial Day celebration. I really wanted to run the annual 5K, but due to a recurring ankle injury (caused by too much dancing at some wedding receptions and the tour) I will be cheering on the sidelines.

There’s going to be plenty to do besides cheering with me on the sidelines. There is a carnival, historic rein actions, lots of people and plenty of fun.

There is also a great view of Mount Nittany.


Mike (The Mailman) Herr gives his stamp of approval to all visitors Monday through Friday at the University Park post office in the ground floor of McAllister Building, adjacent to the HUB. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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