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Sasha Minjarez | September 26, 2022

Building the Borderlands: A Unique Collaboration

Building the Borderlands A Unique Collaboration


The Civil Engineering Department’s long awaited exhibit, Building the Borderlands: The Legacy of UTEP’s Civil Engineering opened on September 24th in the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.

This exhibit was prepared in collaboration with the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens as part of the 75th anniversary of the University of Texas System Board of Regents’ 1947 approval of the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering program. The exhibit showcases over fifty distinguished alumni who have significantly contributed to transformative enhancements in the quality of life in the Borderlands and the nation.

“This exhibit epitomizes the deep and lasting achievements of our alumni,” said Carlos Ferregut, Ph.D., UTEP’s civil engineering chair. “We are excited to be able to inspire the next generation of engineers and innovators with this collaboration.”

The conceptualization of this exhibit originated in 2020 when a committee comprised of civil engineering alumni, faculty, and staff convened to propose the idea to the Centennial Museum. "I am honored that myself and the team here at the Centennial Museum were able to plan, dream, and build this incredible exhibit with the amazing faculty, staff, and alumni of the civil engineering program. I have become fascinated by the discipline of civil engineering, with its ethos of ‘health, safety, and welfare of the general public.’ It was a joy to conduct oral histories with some of the alumni and hear their stories of how they helped shape our community. El Pasoans need to see this exhibit to understand how graduates from one department at UTEP transformed their city and enhanced their quality of life on a daily basis,” Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens Director Daniel Carey-Whalen said.

This exhibit also includes, A Square Partnership, the result of a capstone project and a unique collaboration between nascent civil engineering and talented sculpture students. According the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuas Desert Gardens website, students were paired off - one engineer and one artist - the teams created a concept, developed a mockup, and produced a budget for full construction. They were encouraged to consider the history, biodiversity, and culture of the region, as well as their vision of El Paso’s future.

“Mr. Carey-Whalen provided outstanding guidance for this exhibit. I am also very appreciative for the support of Mr. Angel Cabrales, assistant professor in the department of art and Dr. Jeff Weidner, assistant professor in civil engineering who led the collaborative efforts of civil engineering and art students on the sculpture project. The ideas and constructive criticism of the civil engineering faculty and the civil engineering alumni in the exhibit committee were invaluable and are very much appreciated,” added Ferregut.

We commemorate this monumental stepping-stone, contemplate our continued legacy, and honor our graduates who, from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, have had a lasting impact on our day-to-day lives.

“Being a part of this committee was important because I wanted to share my knowledge and professional engineering experiences with the UTEP and El Paso community. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show the quality of UTEP’s engineering faculty and staff for the past 75 years and all the wonderful civil engineering accomplishments of their graduates.” UTEP alumnus Fernie Rico said.

“The exhibit would not have been possible without the help of a large number of civil engineering and other professionals from many organizations that shared anecdotes of their lives as UTEP students, photos and artifacts. We hope that this exhibit will show the public the great legacy that UTEP civil engineers have built and continue to build to make our region and the world a better place,” Ferregut concluded.

Building the Borderlands: The Legacy of UTEP’s Civil Engineering will remain open until June 10, 2023. For more information about this exhibit, please visit:

Civil Engineering

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