An oasis of grass, trees, and benches sits on the corner of University and Wiggins Avenues on the UTEP campus. Leech Grove is named after Dr. Milton Leech, the first student to receive an MFA in Dramatic Production at UT Austin and a World War Two veteran. Dr. Leech taught English, Speech, and Drama at Texas Western College in 1949.
Milton Leech was recalled to active duty as a bomber during the Korean War in 1951, and returned to his position at the university in 1953. Leech directed 35 theater productions, a Summer Play Festival, and children’s theater programs while at TWC. In 1964, Leech became the Dean of Administration, and promoted to Vice President of UTEP in 1967.
That year, the grassy grove at University & Wiggins was in danger of being destroyed for the expansion of the library. Dr. Leech saved the grove, and from then on it was known as Leech Grove.
Leech Grove has since been the site of political protests, peace demonstrations, social events, poetry readings, guest speakers, and more. As part of UTEP’s ongoing construction in the central part of campus, Leech Grove will soon house a terrace of native greenery, flowering plants, and a fountain.
To learn more visit http://encyclopedia.utep.edu/index.php/Leech_Grove
Jessica Molinar Muñoz is the director of communications for UTEP's Centennial Office.