UTEP began its 100-year history as a small mining school, and 2014 marks its centennial. The University has celebrated many anniversaries, but this is the most significant. The School of Mines and Metallurgy was founded on April 16, 1913 with the signing of Senate Bill 183. Classes began in September, 1914 with 27 students enrolled. The school’s location was just to the east of what is now Fort Bliss. Due to a number of adversities that includes a fire in the main building, the college moved to the site it now occupies by 1918. The new site, located in the western foothills of the Franklin Mountains, was the ideal spot for buildings in the Bhutanese architectural style suggested by Kathleen Worrell, wife of the dean, Stephen Worrell.
The Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy merged with the El Paso Junior College in 1927, increasing enrollment to over 400 students. By 1966, the last Mining Engineer graduated. The school also adopted a new name: Texas Western College of the University of Texas at El Paso, later shortened to The University of Texas at El Paso.
In 1934 the school reached its first milestone, celebrating its 20-year reunion with a banquet honoring Dean “Cap” Kidd. The arrival of the 25th Silver Jubilee brought with it the first issue of El Burro. Professor Kidd, with the school since its inception, was granted tenure. The yearbook—Flowsheet—released a 25th Silver Edition. The staff dedicated the yearbook to looking back at the founding of the school with a sense of pride, while focusing on the casual daily life of its students.
UTEP celebrated the 50th Anniversary Golden Jubilee in 1964 with a series of events. The festivities began with a commemoration of the signing of the Legislative Act that created the mining school. A trio of books were written for anniversary: Frontier College-Texas Western at El Paso-The First Fifty Years by Frances Fugate, Mission ’73 Report, and Jubilee Papers. Texas Western Press and Carl Hertzog produced the trilogy. Special events included the Texas Western Civic Ballet’s presentation of Carte Blanche, The Red Shoes, and Coppelia.
In 1978, during the 65th Anniversary, KCOS-TV began broadcasting from UTEP, and a celebration was held for the dedication of the original site on Fort Bliss. In 1983, the 70th anniversary was commemorated with the publication of Origins: The Texas School of Mines and Metallurgy, 1913-1915 edited by Haskell Monroe.A year-long celebration in 1989 marked the 75th anniversary, the Diamond Jubilee. The first Diamond Days activity was the dedication of the Wall of Honor, erected in honor of faculty and staff members of distinction. Fairs, football half-time shows, and “Shining Star Moments” on KDBC, channel 4, featuring celebrities like Sam Donaldson and F. Murray Abraham were held. Dr. Mario Garcia, renowned Chicano historian, returned to UTEP to present his collection of research papers to the UTEP library. The goal was to establish “a new sense of UTEP in the community”.
UTEP also commemorated the anniversary with the publication of UTEP: A Pictorial History of the University of Texas at El Paso. The book details the founding of the School of Mines and follows it’s transformations throughout the following 75 years. Nancy Hamilton, a lifetime member of the Alumni Association, was brought on board to write the book. It is dedicated to the thousands of people who played their roles in developing the history of UTEP.UTEP celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2004 and kicked off the festivities with a rededication of the school’s original site with a plaque and ceremony. A website, www.utep.edu/90thanniversary, is dedicated to the anniversary and contains many facts about UTEP’s first 90 years.
2014 marks the Centennial Anniversary for UTEP. We are looking backing on a distinguished past while contemplating our place in the future as we enter the 21st century. Event for this year-long celebration include Opera Bhutan, the Centennial Lecture Series, the 100-Day Countdown, Centennial Stories shared by alumni, with still more to come. Events like the Centennial Photo Contest, the Glory Glow Run, and the UTEP Celebrates School Outreach Program are planned for September. Almost every activity held this year has some connection to the Centennial and demonstrates the unlimited pride of both the alumni, faculty, and the current student body.
Maribel Villalva, Director, Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens & Executive Director, Centennial Celebration
P.J. Vierra, Managing Editor and Researcher, Centennial Office Assistant Instructor, Department of English, The University of Texas at El Paso
Willie Quinn and the Heritage House
UTEP: A Pictoral History of The University of Texas at El Paso by Nancy Hamilton
NOVA Quarterly, Spring 2008 “Reflections of a Celebration” by Helen Foster
Original pickaxe art
www.facebook UTEP – The University of Texas at El Paso