This July, Robert Ritzmann will turn 91 years old, making him the oldest living former Nittany Lion mascot. He is also the longest serving mascot, with three years under his belt during the years after Pearl Harbor was bombed. He served from 1942 to 1945.
Ritzmann lives in a small apartment at Foxdale Village, now alone after the death of his wife in 2014. Pictures and memorabilia from Penn State hang on his walls. His bookshelf holds one of his most prized possessions: his book about the history of the Nittany Lion.
Ritzmann was the first lion to serve after the dedication of the lion shrine, which he remembers starting out as a block of limestone. He recalls watching the carving day after day—and he has a miniature lion outside his home to remind him of the finished product.