Day 23: TCM Day

By on December 9, 2013

Today is Day 23 in the Countdown to UTEP’s Centennial Year.

TCM Day is the oldest tradition on the UTEP Campus.  Students, faculty, and staff at the College of Engineering pay homage to Saint Patrick, the patron saint of engineers.

The tradition began at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1903, when a group of engineering students decided to cut class.  Looking for an excuse as to why they couldn’t attend class, they noticed that the day on the calendar was March 17 – Saint Patrick’s Day.  Saint Patrick from that point on became the patron saint of Engineers.

During TCM Day, students learn about UTEP’s roots while participating in on-campus and community service events, such as cleaning the arroyo on campus and donating canned good items to the El Paso Rescue Mission.

Some of the events surrounding TCM Day include the whitewashing of the M on the mountain off of Sun Bowl Drive, a tradition that began as early as 1923.

In 1927, a junior college was integrated into the Texas College of Mines.  Some time later, an engineering student painted a green line between the Engineering Building to the East and the Liberal Arts Building to the West.  The letters TCM were painted on the east side of the line, while TWC (for Texas Western College) was painted on the west side of the line.  The painting of the lines continues to be part of the TCM Day tradition.

The Kissing of the Blarney Stone is said to give the kisser the gift of eloquence and persuasiveness.  The Blarney stone is located deep in the heart of Charlie Davis Park, located behind the Student Recreation Center.

TCM Day will be celebrated on March 21st, 2014, and next year, in honor of the centennial, the engineers are inviting the entire campus to join the fun.

Jessica Molinar Muñoz is the director of communications for UTEP's Centennial Office.

  1. Willie Quinn
    December 9, 2013

    I would like to add a couple of points of clarification to the “post” about “TCM Day”, to wit:

    1. Saint Patrick was recognized as the Patron Saint of Engineers by religious beliefs long before the UM-Columbia students did so in 1903. [Refs.: AmericaCatholic.org, wikipedia.org, wiki.answers.com, et al.]

    2. The engineering students at UM-Columbia are generally credited with starting the tradition of “cutting” classes on St. Pat’s Day among the students in many Engineering Colleges, but is wasn’t from “that point” [1903], that St. Patrick “became” the Patron Saint of Engineers, see Item 1, above.

    3. TCM Day, as it is called nowadays, was originally referred to as “St. Pat’s Day” at the Texas College of Mines (TCM) in the early 1920s and later at Texas Western College (TWC). TCM Day is a current substitute for the original Saint Patrick’s Day “initiation” (however, hazing is no longer allowed) of the “Slime” (or Freshmen engineers) into the Order of the Engineer by the Guard of Saint Patrick. For many years this “initiation” took place in the abandoned mines of Orogrande, NM (46 miles north of El Paso), before the underground mines and/or the driving and drinking of beer became too dangerous.

    4. The “whitewashing” of the “M” started in 1923, but the “mountain” was actually Mount Franklin, up the slope from Scenic Point, and not the small hill “off Sun Bowl Drive.” The “M” was moved from Mount Franklin in 1965-66 to the Sun Bowl site, when the “M” on Mount Franklin was eradicated because of public pressure to remove all the “letters” from the mountain.

    5. The first “Green Line” was painted in 1949 between the old Engineering Building (now Prospect Hall) and the old Geology Building (now Quinn Hall). The line was intended to separate “TCM” on the north side and “TWC” on the south side, which reflected the name change from TCM (Engineering, “Peasants”) and TWC (Liberal Arts, “Peedoggies”) that took place that year. After the new Engineering-Science Complex was constructed in 1975-76, a new “Green Line” was painted between Engineering and the Liberal Arts, as stated in the blog posting.

    Just thought you would like to know,
    Willie Quinn
    Member, Heritage Commission