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Mining Minds: Special Lighting Commemorates UTEP's Top Tier Ranking

Last Updated on January 25, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Originally published January 25, 2019

By Christina Rodriguez

UTEP Communications

The University of Texas at El Paso will illuminate the "Mining Minds" pickaxe sculpture at the campus' University Avenue roundabout in blue and orange Tuesday evening, Jan. 29, 2019, in honor of UTEP's R1 designation (top tier doctoral university with very high research activity) in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

UTEP is one of only 130 (4.5%) top tier universities among the 2,883 four-year institutions across the U.S. to earn this prestigious R1 distinction, joining the ranks of such universities as Stanford, M.I.T., Michigan, Arizona and California-Berkeley.

The Carnegie classification has been a framework to recognize and describe U.S. higher education institutions for more than 45 years. The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education’s unique classification system of colleges and universities supports its program of research and policy analysis and is an important framework widely used in the study of institutions of higher education.

For more information about the significance of the R1 top tier classification, visit

“Mining Minds” is an iconic piece of public art installed in 2010 to enhance the UTEP campus. At night, orange lights brighten the steel structure while light from LEDs emanate from the perforated “ones” and “zeroes” at each end of the pick.

The University illuminates the pick in blue and orange on special occasions such as historic dates, major annual milestones and celebrations of special accomplishments.

Click here to learn more about “Mining Minds.”