Mining Minds: Special Lighting Commemorates First Day of School in 1914
Last Updated on September 28, 2020 at 12:00 AM
Originally published September 28, 2020
By UC Staff
The “Mining Minds” pickaxe sculpture at the Sun Bowl-University roundabout will be illuminated in blue and orange the evening of Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, to commemorate the first day of school 106 years ago at the State School of Mines and Metallurgy, now The University of Texas at El Paso.
The Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy was established on April 16, 1913, with the signing of Senate Bill 183 by Governor O. B. Colquitt to meet the urgent demand of skilled workers in the booming mining industry. On Sept. 28, 1914, the first 27 students started classes at the small mining school that housed three buildings at the site of the defunct El Paso Military Institute east of Fort Bliss.
In over a century, the University has experienced substantial changes and exponential growth. Currently, UTEP is one of the largest and most successful Hispanic-serving institutions in the country, with a student body that is more than 82% Hispanic. It enrolls nearly 25,000 students in 166 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in 10 colleges and schools. With more than $100 million in total annual research expenditures, UTEP is ranked in the top 5% of research institutions nationally and fifth in Texas for federal research expenditures at public universities.
“Mining Minds” is an iconic piece of public art installed in 2010 to enhance the UTEP campus. At night, orange lights illuminate the steel structure while light from LEDs emanate from the perforated “ones” and “zeroes” at each end of the pick.
On special occasions, including historic dates, major annual milestones and to celebrate special accomplishments, the pick is illuminated in blue and orange.
Learn more about the statue and its artist at miningminds.utep.edu.