University description (as per official university website)
On September 23, 1914, 27 students attended classes on opening day at the State School of Mines and Metallurgy. Located near the present day Fort Bliss. The school consisted of a 25-room dormitory and a 34-room Main Building, which was destroyed by a fire in 1916. Dean Stephen Howard Worrell led the search for a new site, moving the school closer to downtown El Paso with the selection of a 22.9-acre area near the Rio Grade River in the western foothills of the Franklin Mountains.
The inspiration for the distinctive architecture of the new buildings came form an April 1914 National Geographic article titled “Castles in the Air.” After reading the article, Dean Worrell’s wife, Kathleen, felt the photos showed similarities between the Himalayan Mountains of Bhutan and the Franklin Mountains of El Paso. The Bhutanese “castles” in the photos were recommended as a model for the new campus buildings.
The Bhutanese style of UTEP’s buildings is one of the few university architectural traditions in the United States. Architectural details include high sloping walls, deep inset windows, red brick friezes and majestic overhangs. The first cluster of buildings on the campus included what are now known as Old Main, Graham Hall, and Quinn Hall. There were also two other structures that have now been razed or significantly modified to include the Power Plant (now part of Computer Sciences) and The Mill (razed for the second addition to Seamon Hall, which is known now by the "Peedoggies" as the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts).
The school became a branch of the University of Texas in 1919, and the name was changed to the College of Mines and Metallurgy. Several years later, the El Paso Junior College merged with the College of Mines, dramatically increasing enrollment and creating a rivalry among the student body. Students majoring in mining or engineering were called “engineers” or "Peasants," while students majoring in arts, education, or business were called "Peedoggies." Every year the engineers celebrate St Patirck's (who is thought of as the patron saint of engineers) day which is considered the oldest continuous student tradition at UTEP.
In 1949, the Texas Legislature approved changing the name of the College of Mines to Texas Western College to reflect the school’s increasing number of liberal arts programs and shrinking proportions of engineers. The University of Texas at El Paso became the official name of the university on March 13, 1967 when the University of Texas System renamed all schools under its umbrella.
Dr. Diana Natalicio was chosen to head the university, effective February 11, 1988. She is both the first woman president and the first former faculty member to have risen through the ranks to the university’s top administrative post.
The student enrollment at UTEP was 20,154 in 2007 (15,259 full-time equivalent).
About 49% of the freshmen class in 2007 was male and women were 51% of the class.
Undergrads are 81% of enrolled students and graduate students are 19%.
About 9% of freshmen are from countries other than the US. Students living in the US make up 91% of incoming freshmen.
Among freshmen students, 90% are full-time and 10% are part-time.