Are you interested in being a part of the UTEP Centennial Celebration? We are looking for well-spoken and outgoing individuals who enjoy working with the public to volunteer as campus tour guides beginning August, 2013, and throughout the 2014 celebration year. Campus tour guides will lead a variety of themed walking tours. Themes will range from UTEP Athletics and campus architecture to student life and arts & culture. Training will be provided each month for the changing tours. This is a great way to learn more about UTEP and share that with the public. If you’re interested in becoming a Centennial Tour Guide, email Maribel Villalva at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director, Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens
As part of UTEP’s Centennial Celebration and long-term Campus Transformation plan the inner campus segment of University Avenue will close permanently on May 20, 2013. Because University Ave. runs through the heart of UTEP’s campus—flanked by Memorial Triangle and Leech Grove–the road has played an integral part of the University’s history, from its origin as a narrow road with a wooden bridge to the center of campus activities.
The road is almost as old as the school. Shortly after the School of Mines and Metallurgy (now UTEP) moved to its current location on the Franklin Mountains, Lowenstein street was constructed to allow vehicular access to the school. Students and faculty using Lowenstein street to drive onto campus traversed a wooden bridge over the arroyo; the bridge was located near where the Liberal Arts building now stands.
Around the time that the school’s name was changed to Texas Western College (June 1, 1949) Lowenstein was renamed College Ave. On March 13, 1967, Texas Western College was renamed the University of Texas at El Paso and it wasn’t long before students began writing letters to the editor of The Prospector urging the University and the city of El Paso to approve a name change for College Ave. The Student Association visited property owners on the street asking them to urge City Council to change the name of the street in order to reflect the school’s new status as a university. City Council approved the name change and in October 1967 and the street officially became University Ave.
In 1961, after the completion of the Liberal Arts building, College Ave. became a frightening and dangerous place for pedestrians on campus. The automobile traffic posed a hazard for students crossing the street between Liberal Arts and the Student Union. Stop signs and pedestrian cross-walks were placed on College Ave. after a handful of accidents, including a few which included pedestrians, were reported.
University Ave. has been the center of student activities for many years. The Homecoming parade travels down the street, and, because of its centralized location, the street has also been the location of rallies, protests, including the Chicano protests, and other student events. Perhaps the most well-known protest movement to have taken place on University Ave. took place during the month of March in 1974. On Monday, March 6, 1974, a student streaked down University Ave. at 9:25 a.m. wearing only a ski mask and shoes. At that time in the morning, several students and faculty were walking along the avenue and witnessed the event. During that month, several other individuals streaked down University as part of a social protest calling for the impeachment of President Nixon. The streaking protests were part of a national movement taking place on several college and university campuses. One of the protestors, known simply as “Grandpa” created quite the stir as he rode nude atop a car with a sign taped to a suitcase that read, “I’m proud to be a Grandpa.” Later, Henry Quintana Jr., a student at the time of the streaking, said, “Seeing him was a surprise to me because I knew him under quite different circumstances.” The Prospector reported that the elderly man was arrested by police for his actions, which took place in front of a group of Coronado High School students who were visiting the campus, but he was released without charges after UTEP students gathered outside the police station chanting, “We want Grandpa!”
Since the 1970s, University Ave. has continued as a hub of activity on campus. The avenue hosted the homecoming parade route and a parade for Danny Olivas. Engineering students march down University Ave. on TCM Day; during the march the students serenade the dean of liberal arts as part of the pedoogie – peasant rivalry. During Greek Week the street was used by the student Greek organizations as the location for their bed races. University Ave. has also been the site of blood drives, student art presentations, student band exhibitions, and take back the night.
For nearly 90 years, University Ave. has provided University students and faculty with a way onto campus and has been the epicenter of University activity. While the purpose and look of the street will soon be changing, it is certain that in another 100 years new stories will be told about the events and activities that will take place on the transformed inner-campus of UTEP.
Sources: Heritage House Collection; The Prospector, October 13, 1967, and March 14, 1974; Fugate, Frontier College, p. 89; Hamilton, Pictorial History of UTEP, p.115; and Diamond Days, P. 206, 211, and 222.
All UTEP history students are required to write an archive-based research paper as the final experience in the undergraduate history major. During the spring 2013 semester, several students have been researching UTEP’s history as part of the University’s upcoming Centennial celebration. The student-researchers invite the interested public to attend a free information session from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in the McNeely Room on the 6th floor of the University Library.
The students spent countless hours researching everything there is to know about the University, from the start of school to the present day. The list of presenters is as follows:
Christopher Beltran – “The Founding of The University of Texas at El Paso and the Mexican Revolution”
Christina Bretado – “A Century of Accomplishments”
Jaime Hume – “How War Affected the University”
Crystal Morales – “Chicana Milestones”
Oscar Navarro – “Music Directors before the Establishment of the Music Department: Texas College of Mines 1927- 1938”
Ricky Ramirez – “The University of Texas at
El Paso: Producing Heroes since 1914”
Arleen Reyes – “Women at the College of Mines and Metallurgy: Reality versus Comfortable Assumpmtions”
Luis Santos – “Desegregation at Texas Western”
Samantha Vega – “First Ladies: Pioneering Women of El Paso”
During the reception, the student researchers will answer questions about the University’s history and will donate their papers to the University’s C. L. Sonnichsen Special Collections. Prizes will be given to the students with the best paper and to the presenter chosen by the audience in attendance.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to have studied this wonderful school,” said Christina Bretado, one of the students. “Everyone is invited! Hope to see you there!”
In order to attract new students to the Texas College of Mines, the fledgling college offered a perk for student engineers that was offered at few other school in the nation. Some of the earliest brochures advertising the school attempted to persuade future mining engineers to come to El Paso by citing the on-campus availability of a practice mine. The mine can still be found at UTEP. For almost 100 years it has been found just north of Seamon Hall and within sight of the Sun Bowl.
The old mine extends approximately 40 feet into the side of the hill and branches off at one point for about 10 feet in a southern direction. The interior walls of the shaft are blemished with multiple holes, a remnant of the lessons that were learned in mining by students from decades before on the use of hand held-digging tools. Also taught intermittently in the school’s mine were the mining skills known as “mucking”, which is the sorting of the rich ore from useless debris left after blasting, and the act of blasting itself. These were taught using equipment that, according to the 1922 edition of the Flowsheet, was donated by the El Paso Tin Mining and Smelting Company and had been hauled to campus over 19 miles from Mount Franklin.
The equipment consisted of a compressor plant, a blacksmith shop, jack hammer drills, a muck car, and even a windlass for use inside the mine. These tools and the expertise of the mining professors made it possible for students to learn how to sink a mineshaft, drive a tunnel, and timber a tunnel and even build a dumping trestle in order to clear the debris from the cave.
The mine was helpful in recruiting new students into the young west Texas program. The monzonite andesite porphyry makeup of the rock was extremely difficult to cut and, according to the Flowsheet made for a difficult and useful learning experience. Although the shaft is now either overlooked by some, or unknown altogether by many others, it remains a fascinating piece of UTEP history and will most likely remain one of the few structures on campus that is unlikely to be altered in the name of progress.
Sources: The Flowsheet, The Prospector, Research from UTEP Heritage House, Mr. Willie Quinn.
Photos: The Flowsheet, Matthew Liden
In the fall semester of 1970, San Diego State University founded the first Women’s Studies program in the United States. Eleven years later, UTEP instituted a program of its own. The founding of Women’s Studies marks a proud moment in the history of the institution and has allowed for students of this university to comprehend the issues that face women, both in the past and present. Additionally, a more precise education on women’s issues promotes a more understanding future among the sexes.
Although the program was officially formed in 1981, Dr. Mimi Gladstein had been teaching Women’s Studies courses at UTEP since the early 1970’s. Dr. Gladstein’s efforts to “create campus wide interest” on the subject of sexuality and to institute a permanent program faced some difficulties. According to Dr. Gladstein, the main issue faced was to “make evident to the community that the courses were intensely academic” and that they were not “touchy-feely” as was often believed.
Her efforts become even more respectable when one learns of the difficulties faced at this institution in the past. For instance, Dr. Gladstein herself, when inquiring about employment at UTEP in the 1960’s was told by the chair of the English Department that “we don’t hire housewives.” Dr. Gladstein’s tenacity shines through when realizing that upon the retirement of the aforementioned chair, Dr. Gladstein took his place as head of the Department of English.There was not a full-time director of Women’s Studies until Dr. Brenda Risch accepted the interim position in 2006. In 2007 the position was upgraded to a more permanent status, and Dr. Risch is now the first tenure tracked assistant professor of Women’s Studies at UTEP.
Prior to her accepting the position, the directors of the program also maintained positions in their primary fields.
Women, including Dr. Kathleen Staudt, Dr. Lois Marchino, and Dr. Gladstein among others, rotated into the directorship while maintaining their responsibilities to their respective departments.
The admirable perseverance of these women should be an inspiration to anyone who is interested in women’s rights and history, which is presented in the courses. The program has progressed from humble beginning to a wide variety of courses, now numbering thirty-three. Courses now offered include topics ranging from gender in popular culture to the revolutionary women of China. These advances, and the tireless efforts of all those involved in the program are a testament to the viability and importance of the program for future generations.
Sources: Dr. Mimi Gladstein, Dr. Brenda Risch, UTEP Library Spceial Collections Dept., The Politics of Women’s Studies: Testimony from the 30 Founding Mothers
It took 300 pounds of explosives to bring down the two stacks in west-central El Paso on the morning of April 13, 2013. The demolition of the iconic structures went smoothly and there were no injuries or any damage to property.
Although the dust caused by the collapse of the stacks caused the air quality in El Paso to shift from good to moderate levels, it was not toxic, according to the EPA’s air quality index. Sunset Heights and northwest Juarez did have to endure a dusty afternoon, but the removal of the stacks marks the beginning of what could be a hopeful future for the city and the university.
The extensive media coverage from both sides of the border allowed anyone in the city to view the demolition. UTEP employees also took the time to create lasting images of the demise of the structure that dominated the El Paso skyline for decades. The following photographs and video of the demolition were taken by Yvette Delgado, Digital Imaging Specialist in the Special Collection department of the UTEP Library, from King’s Hill Drive.
The following video was taken at King’s Point.
Sources: El Paso Times, Yvette Delgado