One hundred years ago, the citizens of El Paso sought to advance the city by establishing a mining school. They took the idea to the state Legislature, raised $50,000 to purchase facilities, and planted the seed for The University of Texas at El Paso, a public research university that is today ranked by Washington Monthly magazine as No. 12 overall and No. 1 among all U.S. research universities in fostering social mobility for its graduates.
It’s clearly the right time to celebrate UTEP’s past and its present position as one of the most relevant and exciting universities in the United States today.
UTEP’s reputation for excellence is built on the accomplishments of more than 100,000 alumni, from the first three mining engineers who graduated in 1916 to the thousands of Miners who now earn degrees in more than 160 programs every year.
Year after year, the demographics of the United States look more and more like that of UTEP’s border region. Day after day, students bring their dreams to campus and leave with the knowledge and skills to make those dreams come true. The University of Texas at El Paso is the future of higher education in Texas and the nation.
UTEP’s success over the past century has been made possible by the support of the Paso del Norte community. Business and civic leaders opened their pocketbooks to found the school and to keep it afloat in difficult times. When a fire in 1916 rendered the original campus facilities unusable, five El Paso residents donated additional land for a fresh start in the current location. During the Great Depression, El Paso High School lent biology equipment, chairs, desks, and blackboards.
On at least two occasions, local citizens put up money to pay faculty salaries so that classes could continue. Over the past century, hundreds of individuals and businesses have contributed to the university’s programs, scholarships and fundraising campaigns — including UTEP’s current Centennial Campaign, an ambitious attempt to raise $200 million by the end of 2014.
Excitement about UTEP’s future inspires preparations to celebrate the university’s centennial in 2014. Throughout the coming months we will remember UTEP’s distinguished past, showcase its current strengths, and anticipate its bright future.
On April 16, UTEP alumni will gather in Austin to commemorate the roles of the Texas Legislature and the governor in enacting SB. 183 (1913) to authorize the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy. Exactly 100 years after Gov. O. B. Colquitt signed the bill, special resolutions will be read in the House and Senate.
Throughout the day, alumni ambassadors wearing UTEP orange neckties and scarves will fill the Capitol building, visiting legislators to express thanks and share UTEP’s vision for the future of higher education in Texas and the nation.
In the evening, at 6:30 p.m., there will be a reception at the AT&T Conference Center for members of the extended UTEP family, alumni, and friends.
El Pasoans can be proud of UTEP because it is, first and foremost, El Paso’s university. We can also be proud that our UTEP is a national leader in higher education. We invite you to join UTEP’s Centennial Celebration in Austin, in El Paso, or wherever you may be. Go Miners!