Chapter 1: History and Mission
1.1 University History
The University of Texas at El Paso, known as UTEP, is the second oldest academic component of The University of Texas System. It was founded by the Texas Legislature in 1913 as the State School of Mines and Metallurgy. The first campus, located on land that is now part of the Fort Bliss Army Post, was destroyed by fire a few years after the college's inception in 1914. In 1917, the school moved to its current campus in the western foothills of the Franklin Mountains, just a stone's throw from the Rio Grande.
In the move to the present 414-acre site, UTEP acquired what has become one of its most distinctive trademarks, Bhutanese-style architecture. The motif, characterized by thick, sloped outer walls topped with elaborate brickwork, was inspired by Kathleen Worrell, the wife of the college's first dean, and designed by noted El Paso architect Henry Trost. Mrs. Worrell had seen National Geographic photographs of Bhutanese buildings in the Himalayan Mountains and decided that similar architecture would complement the rugged desert terrain at the college's new site. Architects have continued the theme through nearly 100 years of campus expansion.
After the move to the new campus, the school grew steadily. In 1919, the college became a branch of The University of Texas System and was renamed the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy. In 1927, liberal arts courses were added to the curriculum, and the first graduate degree, a Master of Arts, was established in 1940. By 1949, enrollment grew to nearly 2,400 students and the institution was renamed Texas Western College. In 1967, Texas Western College became The University of Texas at El Paso and boasted a student population of more than 9,000.
Since then, the size of the student body has more than doubled, reaching an all-time high of 25,177 in fall 2019. UTEP has continued to grow both physically and academically to meet the needs of Texas and the region. The campus now consists of 107 buildings, including the 46,098-seat Sun Bowl stadium, the 11,659-seat Don Haskins Center, a modern fine arts complex with galleries and recital halls, and a museum of natural and cultural history.
UTEP celebrated its Centennial anniversary in 2014. In its more than 100 years of existence, UTEP has become America's leading Hispanic-serving university and one of the top universities in the country for promoting the social mobility of students, approximately half of whom are the first in their families to go to college.
In 2019, UTEP attained an R1 designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, placing it among the top 5% of doctoral universities in the country when it comes to research. UTEP has also been recognized with the Carnegie Foundation's Community Engagement Classification, making it one of only 80 universities in the country that have achieved both the R1 and community engagement classifications.
1.2 Mission Statement
UTEP is a comprehensive public research university that is increasing access to excellent higher education. We advance discovery of public value and positively impact the health, culture, education, and economy of the community we serve.