Day 6: A Tradition of Authenticity

By on December 26, 2013

Students Today is Day 6 in the Countdown to UTEP’s Centennial year.

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

6. A Tradition of Authenticity

In 1987, acting president Diana Natalicio observed that UTEP suffered from “a collective inferiority complex” that was “both undeserved and unacceptable.” She pointed to a common expression that UTEP was “Harvard on the Border” as the root of the problem: Because UTEP aspired to be something it was not, it was unable to reach its full potential. Instead, Miners need to be true to themselves, true to the border region, true to their unique and inherent possibilities. One year later Natalicio became UTEP’s president and embarked on what has become a quarter-century effort to help UTEP choose to reach its authentic potential.

Today, UTEP is known for its commitment to its students—52% first generation, 54% female, 78% Hispanic. A mission that embraces affordable access to excellent educational opportunities—the UTEP way—now serves as a model for universities throughout the nation. The embrace of authenticity welcomes women and men, blacks and Hispanics, mining picks and Bhutanese architecture and provides a solid base on which to build for the future.

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