Day 1: A Tradition of Believing in Dreams

By on December 31, 2013

Mining MindsToday is Day 1 in the Countdown to UTEP’s Centennial year.

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

1. A Tradition of Believing in Dreams

In 2010, UTEP unveiled a 25-foot-tall sculpture on the western entrance to campus. The perforated carbon steel head of a giant pick-axe is embedded in stone mined from the campus so that it harks back to our history as a mining school but also connects our heritage with our future. The “Mining Minds” sculpture is punctured by tiny ones and zeroes—binary code evocative of modern technology—that are illuminated at night. The string of digits articulate UTEP’s most important tradition: “Believe in yourself and in your dreams. Believe in UTEP and its aspirations. Share the dream!”

Dreams bring everyone together on a university campus and, perhaps more than any other institution in our society, universities are places where dreams do come true. Students, staff, and faculty bring their dreams to the campus and work together in striving to achieve them. At UTEP we believe in our students and in their dreams. We believe in UTEP and in its trend-setting mission. We believe that higher education opens the door to the American Dream and makes our university, our community, and our world better for it.

In 1913, civic, political, and educational leaders in Texas made provisions for a mining school in the mountains of West Texas. One hundred years later The University of Texas at El Paso has become one of the most relevant and exciting universities in the United States. This century of traditions is symbolized by our most popular symbol. First used in 1919, the pick is an icon that represents the power to break new ground, the persistence to discover the unthinkable, and the promise to enrich the future.

Year by year, the demographic composition of the United States looks more and more like that of UTEP’s border region. Day by day, students bring their dreams to our campus and leave with the knowledge and skills to make them come true. One by one, individual lives are transformed and the effects will benefit families and communities for generations to come. As we celebrate UTEP’s first century and look forward to its second, we cannot escape the conclusion that The University of Texas at El Paso is the future of higher education in Texas and the nation.

Posted in: 100-Day Countdown

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