Day 9 : A Tradition of Beauty

By on December 23, 2013

Panorama - Campus Today is Day 9 in the Countdown to UTEP’s Centennial year.

We continue The Top 10 Traditions that Form the Foundation of Miner Pride and Success.

9. A Tradition of Beauty

In 1917, the Texas School of Mines moved to its present location in the foothills of the Franklin Mountains at “the pass of the north,” a significant historical and cultural crossroads in the vast Chihuahuan Desert. The location prompted Kathleen Worrell, wife of the school’s first dean, to recall a photo essay in National Geographic magazine on the architecture of the Kingdom of Bhutan. She persuaded her husband who in turn persuaded the regents to imitate the distinctive Himalayan style in the new campus architecture. Nearly all of the buildings on campus incorporate Bhutanese architectural elements—massive sloping walls, high inset windows, overhanging roofs, and darks bands of brick inlaid with mosaic-tiled mandalas.

Today the combination of mountains, desert, and Bhutanese-inspired architecture make UTEP’s campus one of the most strikingly beautiful in the world. The Sun Bowl Stadium nestles the architecture into the mountainside. The Chihuahuan Desert Gardens mingle desert plants with a Bhutanese prayer wheel in a place of peaceful reflection. The new Centennial Plaza will feature groves of native mesquite trees and a hand-carved, hand-painted Bhutanese lhakhang against the backdrop of the campus’s signature hill. The beautiful campus buildings and spaces provide the places for students to congregate in order to celebrate life and learning.


Keith A. Erekson served as the Executive Director of UTEP's Centennial Celebration from December 2011 through May 2014. Learn more at