Hoover House Celebrates UTEP’s Centennial

By on May 27, 2014

Top: An archival photograph shows what is now known as the Hoover House during its early years (circa 1919).  Bottom: The stately 7,063-square-foot mansion is the only official presidential residence owned by an institution in The University of Texas System.

As The University of Texas at El Paso commemorates its 100-year anniversary in 2014, Hoover House – UTEP’s official residence – has opened its doors to members of the
El Paso community to join the celebration.

Built in 1917, the Hoover House serves as a residence for UTEP President Diana Natalicio and as a center of hospitality for the University. The stately 7,063-square-foot mansion is the only official presidential residence owned by an institution in The University of Texas System.

“The Hoover House has always been a welcoming venue for special events celebrated by members of the UTEP family — students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and supporters,” President Natalicio said. “We thought that one very nice way of sharing our Centennial Celebration with community groups that have shared our history would be to invite them to hold their meetings or special events at the Hoover House during 2014.”

Since December, the Hoover House has welcomed members of prominent community groups including the El Paso Executive Forum, the Pan American Round Table of El Paso and El Dedon Verde Garden Club to enjoy the home’s grand atmosphere and learn about its historical connection to the University and the El Paso community.

Nestled in the city’s historic Kern Place neighborhood, the Hoover House was donated to the University by Louisiana Hoover, widow of local businessman Robert Thompson Hoover, in 1965.

“I have been to several wonderful receptions at the Hoover House,” said Mara Asya Blatt, assistant U.S. attorney, appellate division, and president of the El Paso Executive Forum. The organization, which provides scholarships to UTEP students through the El Paso Executive Forum Memorial Endowment, is made up of 100 women professionals, executives and business owners in El Paso. They hosted their annual holiday gathering at the Hoover House in December.

“I thought that my membership would especially love its beauty during the holiday season and enjoy the warmth with which President Natalicio extends the hospitality of her home,” Blatt said.

The house was the perfect setting for the Pan American Round Table of El Paso to host its annual Founder’s Day Tea in January. The group began funding scholarships at UTEP when the University was still named Texas Western College.

More than 90 members enjoyed a delicious assortment of finger sandwiches, fresh fruit and desserts in the dining room while being serenaded by Zuill Bailey, one of the world’s premier cellists.

Guests were greeted by President Natalicio, who talked about the history of the house, the ongoing campus transformation and the University’s achievements over the last several years.

“Some of our older members knew the Hoovers and knew the family (that owned the house) before the Hoovers, so it had great sentimental meaning to them, too,” said Suzanne Hubbard, director of the Pan American Round Table of El Paso. “It really was a lovely afternoon.”

Published 5/27/14 at http://news.utep.edu/?p=25063

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Laura Acosta is a writer in UTEP's Office of University Communications.