In 1924, a group of prominent El Paso women, led by Mrs. Frank H. Seamon, organized the El Paso Women’s Association (Sponsors’ Club), which later became known as the Woman’s Auxiliary. The charter members, aware of the college’s increasing needs, aimed “to do any and all things conducive to the betterment of the College and ultimate welfare of the student body.” The ladies worked tirelessly to raise funds for student loans and to help pay faculty salaries. They supported dormitories, gyms, and athletic teams, organized band and music programs, and developed the library. The club members worked to beautify and landscape the barren campus. Among many other projects, the women also started and staffed the Pick ‘n’ Shovel cafeteria, the first campus dining facility. Later, the group supported the building of the Centennial Museum and purchased collections for the museum.
The student body was very grateful for the ladies’ efforts, stating in the 1924 Flowsheet, “The most important thing that has happened this year in its bearing on the welfare of the College of Mines has been the organization of the El Paso Women’s Association.” The Woman’s Auxiliary still actively supports the university with student scholarships and other activities and will hold an annual anniversary tea on April 14, 2012.
Sources: The Flowsheet, 1924, and Woman’s Auxiliary records, MS387, C. L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Dept., The University of Texas at El Paso Library.
Laura Hollingsed is the manuscripts librarian and archivist in the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department of the UTEP Library, where she has worked with rare books, historical photographs and maps, and manuscript collections for the past ten years. She holds BA and MA degrees in History from UTEP and an MSIS degree in Information Studies (Library Science) from the University of Texas at Austin.