The pick has long been the symbol of UTEP. It dates back to the early days of the establishment of the State School of Mines & Metallurgy 100 years ago.
In 2010, a grand sculpture was erected at the traffic circle at Sun Bowl & University. The Mining Minds sculpture was created by Michael Clapper, an New York native who maintains a studio in Denver. His focus is contemporary public & residential sculpture. Clapper’s work is created mostly from carved stone and fabricated steel.
Mining Minds is a 25-foot-tall steel pick-axe head whose metallic makeup is a nod to UTEP’s history as a mining & metallurgy school.
The top & bottom of sculpture is also perforated with holes. These holes are actually binary code – series of ones and zeros – which read “Believe in yourself and in your dreams. Believe in UTEP and its aspirations. Share the dream!” Clapper was inspired by a quote by UTEP President Diana Natalicio.
Mining Minds was dedicated in September 2010. The sculpture is illuminated in the evenings, and on special occasions, it is lit up in orange & blue.
Jessica Molinar Muñoz is the director of communications for UTEP's Centennial Office.