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  • University History

    The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has created a foundation of academic excellence as strong as the rugged Rocky Mountain foothills that are the University's home.

    Located on the U.S.-Mexico border in the world's largest binational metropolitan area of more than two million people, UTEP is the largest Mexican-American-majority university in the United States. In this unique multicultural setting, the University offers a wide scope of academic programs and outstanding support services, providing academic excellence through opportunity for students of the Southwest.

    UTEP, the second oldest academic component of The University of Texas System, was founded by the Texas legislature in 1913 as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy to train professionals in the mining industry.

    From its inception, the campus has featured architecture derived from the style of buildings in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. UTEP's unique buildings are the only examples of this ancient architecture in the Western Hemisphere. The motif, characterized by thick, sloped outer walls accented with a band of elaborate brickwork, was inspired by Kathleen Worrell, the wife of the college's first dean, after seeing photographs of Bhutanese monasteries in an issue of National Geographic. Noted El Paso architect Henry Trost designed the first buildings and architects have continued the theme through more than 80 years of campus expansion.

    The college's curriculum expanded in 1927 with the addition of liberal arts courses. The first master of arts degree was established in 1940. The institution was renamed Texas Western College in 1949 and the University of Texas at El Paso in 1967, boasting a student population of more than 9,000.

    Since then, enrollment has grown and the scope of programs has expanded to include 64 bachelor's, 57 master's, and eight doctoral degrees to meet the needs of an increasingly industrialized West Texas region. The 367-acre UTEP campus consists of 84 buildings, including the 52,000-seat Sun Bowl Stadium, the 12,200-seat Don Haskins Center, a Modern fine arts complex with galleries and recital halls, and a museum of natural and cultural history. A new 125,000 square-foot Undergraduate Learning Center features multimedia-enriched computer and distance learning technology.

    With its pivotal setting on the U.S.-Mexico border, UTEP is a nationally recognized leader for creating excellent academic opportunities for a largely first-generation student population. Quality academic programs and a robust research agenda mark UTEP as an innovative force in American higher education for the 21st century.


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    The University of Texas at El Paso
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