On Tuesday, April 16, University of Texas at El Paso President Diana Natalicio was joined by “UTEP Ambassadors,” alumni and friends as the Texas Legislature recognized the role their predecessors played in establishing the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy exactly 100 years ago.
“WHEREAS, on the 16th day of April, 1913, Texas Governor O. B. Colquitt signed Senate Bill No. 183 (1913), creating the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy to be established by the citizens of El Paso and overseen by the Board of Regents of the University of Texas,” the official resolution read.
After reciting several other facts, including UTEP being named one of seven emerging Tier One institutions in Texas in 2009 and listed in 2012 by Washington Monthly as #12 overall among all national research universities and #1 in fostering social mobility in the lives of its graduates, the resolution ended, “Now therefore, be it RESOLVED, that the 83rd Legislature of the State of Texas honor The University of Texas at El Paso on the occasion of its 100th anniversary and commend the many individuals who have contributed to the success of the university.”
El Paso state delegation members Rep. Marisa Márquez and Sen. Jose Rodriguez read versions of the resolution in their respective chambers. Read the full resolution here.
“The commemoration of S.B. 183 is significant not only because it is the first step in UTEP's 100-year journey, but also because it confirms that our state leaders and the UT System Board of Regents were, from the start, committed to supporting a public institution of higher education in El Paso,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “They envisioned the School of Mines as a premier institution of higher learning, and a center of education and opportunity for the El Paso region, our state and nation.”
Texas Rep. Naomi Gonzalez agreed that the University was fulfilling its purpose and serving the Hispanic community.
“UTEP is definitely doing that,” she said. “We are leading the way of being a Hispanic-serving institution and not simply a Hispanic-enrolling institution.”
In addition to Rodriguez, Márquez and Gonzalez, El Paso Reps. Mary González, Joseph Moody and Joe Pickett celebrated with the UTEP family in the capitol. UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and Regent Paul Foster also participated in the morning festivities.
The “UTEP Day” in Austin was the start of a build up to the University’s yearlong 2014 Centennial Celebration. While UTEP, formerly the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy, was “created” by the state legislature in 1913, it was on Sept. 23, 1914 that the University opened its doors and an initial group of 27 students began taking classes. The University became part of the UT System in 1919, the third school to do so after UT Austin and UT Medical Branch at Galveston.
Throughout the day on Tuesday, a team of alumni ambassadors wearing UTEP Orange neckties and scarves worked the hallways of the state Capitol to express thanks and to share UTEP’s vision for the future of higher education in Texas and the nation.
“It is a great day. I am proud and privileged to be here to represent El Paso,” Rodriguez said. “Nobody works as tirelessly as [President Natalicio] does to ensure UTEP gets its fair share.”
The UTEP Day in Austin concludes this evening at 6:30 p.m. with a reception for legislators and UTEP students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends in the AT&T Conference Center Grand Ballroom, 1900 University Ave.
“What a special day,” said Chancellor Cigarroa. “When it comes to the University of Texas at El Paso, I am inspired every day.”
For more on UTEP’s 100-year celebratory plans in 2014, please visit UTEP100Years.com.