Decorating UTEP: Campus Traditions

By on December 14, 2012

The University of Texas at El Paso has maintained a variety of holiday traditions over the years. Since 2001, one of those traditions has been the sale of holiday ornaments. The ornaments mostly feature notable buildings on campus, however, the first ornament simply featured an image of the campus under a clear night sky.

Image from

In subsequent years the ornaments have changed both their focus and style. The ornaments now feature a stamped metal image of particular buildings along with an insert relating the history behind the building.

For example this 2008 ornament of the UTEP Library.

The Insert to the Library ornament.

Last year’s ornament featured the Mining Minds sculpture now at the entrance to the campus. This year’s ornament features the new Health Sciences and Nursing Building.

This year’s ornament.

Yet, the ornaments are more than simple decorations. These images of the university’s most recognizable features communicate a shared history between students and alumni who have never even spoken to one another. Moreover, the ornaments express a sense of continuing growth as the physical campus expands to meet the needs of a diverse and expanding student body.

You can purchase the ornaments at the Peter and Margaret de Wetter Center or the Centennial Museum.

Posted in: History

Andy Klooster served as an assistant in the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department of the UTEP Library. He is currently an MA student in History at UTEP.