First Faculty (1914-1915)

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The First Faculty
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Faculty of the School of Mines and Metallurgy, 1914 - 1915 (1st Session)

  • Arthur K. Adams, B.S. (Harvard), Professor of Geology and Coal Mining
  • John W. Kidd, B.S. (Oklahoma A&M), M.S. (Texas A&M), Professor of Engineering
  • Steve H. Worrell, B.S. (University of Texas), Professor of Mining and Metallurgy
  • Vere Leasure, Student Assistant in Chemistry

The opening day faculty of the School of Mines and Metallurgy arrived at the former El Paso Military Institute (the school’s first home) on September 23, 1914, to conduct the registration of the first group of students. The faculty that year consisted of three professors and two student assistants offering six courses to twenty-seven students.

In the week following legal formation of the State School of Mines and Metallurgy in April 1914, the school’s first dean, Steve H. Worrell, took the all-day train journey from Austin, arriving in El Paso on May 4 with his wife, Kathleen. Meeting with the press and local community leaders, Worrell announced that had already chosen a professor from the Colorado School of Mines, William F. Allison, to join the faculty. (For reasons unknown, Allison never accepted the position.) In addition to hiring the faculty, Worrell would also assemble a “lecturing faculty” featuring “prominent mining experts” to teach the students, although the lecturing series would not truly begin until the following academic year.

The state legislature appropriated $15,000 as the budget for that first year. Of this budget, Worrell determined he would need $6300 ($149,000 in 2012 dollars) for faculty salaries to fill three positions. Worrell himself would receive $2500 per academic year as professor of mining and metallurgy. A professor of engineering would receive $2000, and a professor of geology and coal mining would be paid $1800. In addition to the full faculty, one student assistant would be hired at $250 for the year to teach chemistry under the guidance of Worrell.

By August, Worrell had his faculty. To fill the position of engineering instructor, he hired John W. Kidd, a graduate of both Texas and Oklahoma A&Ms. For geology and coal mining, the position went to Harvard graduate Arthur K. Adams, who served as a professor at the New Mexico School of Mines. To assist with chemistry, Worrell selected Vere Leasure, a former student of the Missouri School of Mines. Later in the year, Worrell selected one of the School of Mines first-year students, Raul Barberena, who had recently attended Valparaiso University, as a student assistant and instructor of Spanish.

Except for A.K. Adams, all of the first-year faculty members would return for the school’s second year. Worrell would remain at the school until 1923. Both student assistants, Vere Leasure and Raul Barberena, later graduated with mining engineer degrees, and Leasure returned to the School of Mines to teach. Barberena went on to become a geologist for an oil company, but died in 1920 at the young age of 26 from a swimming accident. As for John W. Kidd, he replaced Worrell as dean of the school in 1923 and served through 1927. He then remained as dean of engineering until his death in 1941.


P.J. VIERRA


References

Catalog, 1914-1916

El Paso Herald (May 4, 1914, Aug. 1, 1914)

El Paso Morning Times (May 5, 1914)

Minutes of the Board of Regents (1914)

The Prospector (1915 [1919 Reissue])


Bibliography


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