In 1913 the 33rd Texas legislature, recognizing the importance of mining and metallurgy to the rapidly growing society, established the State School of Mines and Metallurgy at El Paso. The school was made a part of the University of Texas in 1919 and was subsequently known as the College of Mines and Metallurgy. For the first few years the only degree offered was the Engineer of Mines. This degree was succeeded by the B. S. in Mining Engineering in 1919 when the school became a part of the University of Texas. A glance at the curriculum shows both of these degrees to be a mixture of geology, mining and extractive metallurgy.
The B. S. in Mining Engineering was split into Mining and Metallurgy options in 1922, and in 1923 a third option in Geology was added to the degree. A fourth option in Petroleum Geology was added in 1929, but this option was short-lived and was dropped in 1933 in favor of a Mining Geology option. Over the period 1933 to 1957 the B. S. in Mining Engineering was offered with options in Mining Geology, Mining and Metallurgy.
In 1957 the Metallurgy option was expanded to create the B. S. in Metallurgical Engineering. A few years later, in 1964, the B. S. in Mining Engineering was dropped and all that remained of the original School of Mines and Metallurgy was Metallurgical Engineering and Geology. These departments continue today as the only legacy of the original School of Mines and Metallurgy. The department of Metallurgical Engineering is the only accredited metallurgy program in the state of Texas. In 1949, the name of the college was changed to Texas Western College.
Metallurgical Engineering has changed greatly from its origin with the State School of Mines and Metallurgy.
In the early part of the 1900s, the major concern was supplying materials for a rapidly growing country. Thus, extractive metallurgy was the only area included in the curriculum. Over the years an adequate supply of materials has been taken for granted by society and departments teaching metallurgy have evolved so that they are concerned only with the utilization of materials not with the supply. Many of these departments have changed their name to Material Science. Hence the current degree is the B. S. in Metallurgy and Material Science Engineering.
The department of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso has evolved with the needs of society but we have strived to maintain a traditional metallurgical engineering program. Our program maintains a balance between extractive, process, and physical metallurgy. We find ourselves one of a vanishing breed and take pride in this fact.
Through strong recruiting efforts and the development of an outstanding undergraduate program, the department has grown in the past years until it is the third largest traditional metallurgical engineering program in the country. So, even though the State School of Mining and Metallurgy is only a memory, the department of Metallurgical Engineering carries on the tradition set over 90 years ago.
Thanks to the contribution of Dr. Walter Fisher.