The Lion Ambassadors, “ordinary students with extraordinary pride,” are Penn State’s Student Alumni Corps who aim to communicate the University’s history, personality and traditions to students, alumni and friends through tours and programming.
Known for their trademark backwards walk, the Lion Ambassadors offer tours of campus to prospective and accepted students, as well as private special assignments. In addition to these tours, the Lion Ambassadors also host events and programs throughout the year to further their mission to the University: to foster the idea that involvement with Penn State is lifelong. These include Be a Part From the Start, S-Zone at home football games, and University-Wide Senior Sendoff.
Founded in 1981 by a group of ambitious Penn Staters, the organization continues to thrive with 125 members, selected among hundreds of yearly applicants for their embodiment of Penn State pride and excellence.
We communicate Penn State's HISTORY & PERSONALITY, strengthen University TRADITIONS, and instill Penn State PRIDE in current and future students, alumni and friends.
We strive to foster the idea that INVOLVEMENT with PENN STATE is a LIFELONG COMMITMENT.
The Lion Ambassador story begins in the summer of 1981 when Penn State University saw the need for a Student Alumni Corps. This corps would be comprised of informed students who would provide service to the university while enhancing the relationships between students and alumni.
Larry Atwell Jr., a 1981 graduate from Penn State's Smeal College of Business, was charged with the responsibility of establishing this Student Alumni Corps and to head the development of young alumni programs. He confronted the task by contacting each college and university in the country having a similar program and obtained a complete breakdown of each organization's structure, programs, funding, etc. Sifting through the material, he drafted a constitution and by-laws.
By October 1981, a task-force was formed of eight hand-selected students to work with Larry, the Alumni Association, and the Office of Gifts and Endowments (now known as the Office of University Development) to complete the development of the new group. Through October and November, they worked diligently, refining the constitution, by-laws, purpose, and outline of programs for the first year. They selected the name for the group, Lion Ambassadors: Penn State Student Alumni Corps. And finally, they organized the first membership drive.
In December, applications were accepted. During the first week in January, interviews were held. On January 9, 1982, the first 50 Lion Ambassadors met during a weekend retreat in snow and ice-bound Stone Valley.