When the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy opened its doors in 1914, the sciences were represented by the Department of Geology and the Department of Chemistry and Mineralogy. In 1919, the Texas School of Mines and Metallurgy became the College of Mines. As the school grew liberal arts courses were added, and by 1931 the Department of Biological Sciences, along with the Department of Physics and Mathematics, were established. In 1949 the College of Mines became Texas Western College and in 1951 the first Science Building, now the Psychology Building, was built.
The Science Building, now Psychology, at Texas Western College
The 1960s brought many changes to Texas Western College and to math and science. The first Master of Science degree in physics was approved in 1962. Masters degrees in biology, chemistry, geology and math soon followed.
In 1967 Texas Western College became the University of Texas at El Paso with schools of liberal arts, business administration, education, and science. The first dean of the School of Science was Dr. Lewis Hatch, a Chemistry professor, who served until 1970.
Deans James Whalen, a chemistry professor, and Juan Lawson, a physics professor, led the School of Science in the 1970s. During this decade, the University’s first faculty endowment, the Lloyd A. Nelson Professorship in Geological Sciences was established and its first doctoral program, in Geological Sciences, was approved. In 1973 and the School of Science became the College of Science. The completion of the Engineering-Science complex in 1976 provided state-of-the-art research facilities for the Department of Biological Sciences.
The Science Building, now Bell Hall, at Texas Western College
Dr. James Zajic, a microbiology professor, Dr. Choo Seng Giam, Dr. William Herndon, a chemistry professor, and Dr. Rey Elizondo, a biology professor, provided leadership for the College of Science during the 1980s.
In the 1990s the College of Science enrolled its first students in Materials Science and Engineering, and the Environmental Science and Engineering Ph.D. programs. During this period, the College of Science also established its Community Advisory Board, added new baccalaureate and master's degrees, and a Ph.D. in Pathobiology. The College’s sponsored projects awards topped $39 million dollars, representing nearly 30 percent of the University portfolio. Dr. Jack Bristol, a biology professor, served as dean from 1993-1997, followed by Dr. Tom Brady, also a biology professor, from 1997-2004.
In 2004-05, under the leadership of Interim Dean Michael P. Eastman, the College of Science continues developing new programs to better serve the University, its students, and the community and looks forward to completion of the Biosciences Research Building, which will house a Vivarium and a BSL3 Laboratory.