UTEP, Texas Western, TCM. Our school is known by many names to many people. Here is a rundown on all of the names--common, legal, or otherwise--that have been associated with the school over time. Despite the Use of "Texas" in early common names of the school, the use of Texas in the name was not legally approved until 1920.
State School of Mines and Metallurgy (1913)
On April 16, 1913, Governor Oscar B. Colquitt signed into law Senate Bill 183, creating the State School of Mines and Metallurgy, as designated in the title of the bill. The University of Texas Board of Regents took legal possession of building and property belonging to El Paso Military Institute on April 28, 1914. This action legally established the institution (Minutes of the Board of Regents, 1914, 347). Even though "Texas" was not in the official title, during this period the school was commonly referred to as the "Texas School of Mines" or "TSM."
Department of Mines and Metallurgy of the University of Texas (1919)
After five years operating more or less as an independent school, the 36th Legislature formally brought the State School of Mines and Metallurgy under the legal auspices of the University of Texas by making it a department of the university (Senate Bill 198, March 13, 1919, General Laws of the State of Texas, 36th Legislature, 92). The Regents at there next board meeting changed the name from "State School" to "Department" to bring the name "in accordance with the present University terminology." (Minutes of the Board of Regents, 1919, 235). The school continued to be known simply as the "Texas School of Mines" or "TSM."
College of Mines and Metallurgy of the University of Texas (1920)
During an administrative reorganization, the UT Board of Regents on April 27, 1920 changed the designation of all academic departments within the university to "colleges." This action changed the name of Department of Mines and Metallurgy to the College of Mines and Metallurgy of the University of Texas (Minutes of the Board of Regents, 1920, 337; UT Board of Regents Rules and Regulations, 1920, 6). After this change the school was commonly known as the "Texas College of Mines" or "TCM." Students preferred to refer to themselves as Miners or Muckers and rejected the use of "T" on athletic sweaters, preferring to use "M."
Texas Western College of the University of Texas (1949)
Approved by legislative act of the the 51st Legislature on May 20, 1949, Senate Bill 299 changed the name of the College of Mines and Metallurgy of the University of Texas to Texas Western College of the University of Texas, to take effect on June 1, 1949. Earlier, in March, the Board of Regents had debated and rejected changing the name to "Texas Western University" (Legislative Reference Library of Texas; Minutes of the Board of Regents, 1949, 404, 472). After this change the school was commonly known as "Texas Western College" or "TWC." While the regents styled the name using a capitalized "The" before University of Texas, the legislature did not.
Texas Western College of The University of Texas at El Paso (1966)
On May 27, 1966, the Board of Regents approved a resolution to change the name of all schools under its jurisdiction to include the name "The University of Texas." Legally, the Regents had to wait for the next session of the Texas Legislature ratify the change in a bill. As an interim step, Texas Western College was renamed "Texas Western College of The University of Texas at El Paso" (Minutes of the Board of Regents, 1966, 1144-46). The school continued to be known simply as "Texas Western College" or "TWC."
The University of Texas at El Paso (1967)
The 60th Legislature unanimously approved the name changes proposed by the Board of Regents with Senate Bill 14 on March 6, 1967, with the bill signed into effect the same day. On March 11, the Board of Regents met to adopt the name changes and to have them take effect at 8:00 am on March 13, 1967. As for an abbreviation, the Regents determined that the official abbreviation for the school would be "U. T. El Paso," not the acronym "UTEP" (Legislative Reference Library of Texas; Minutes of the Board of Regents, 1967, 1182-85). Official acceptance of "UTEP" would not arrive until the 1990s, when the Regents trademarked the acronym for marketing purposes. The legislation styled the name using the capitalized "The" before University of Texas. Most style guides, however, including the Associated Press style book, emphasize the use of the lowercase "the" and only capitalize "the" in quotations.
See Marginalia below on the use of Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy
Texas School of Mines (1914, acronym "TSM")
Texas College of Mines (1920, acronym "TCM")
Texas Western College (1949, acronym "TWC")
University of Texas at El Paso (1967, acronym "UTEP")
State School of Miners and Metallurgy (1913)
However, State Senator Claude Hudspeth, while writing out the bill in longhand, misspelled the name in the body of the text, substituting "Miners" for "Mines" (The Laws of Texas, 1913-1914, Vol. 16, 427-429; UT Presidents papers, VF8Ab). While the change was silently corrected, it can be officially stated that we have all been "Miners" from the beginning.
El Paso College of Mines
One set of archival record finding aids at the at U.T. Austin lists the school under this name. (University of Texas Building Collection, Alexander Architectural Archive)
El Paso School of Mines
A reference used by the El Paso Morning Times on occasion in editorials. (EPMT, October 12, 1914).
Texas College of Mines and Arts, Texas State College of Mines and Arts, Texas Western University
Shortly after joining the College of Mines as its new president, John G. Barry referred to the school as the "Texas College of Mines and Arts" in an open letter he wrote for the Prospector (September 16, 1931). Years later, in March 1949, the Texas Legislature considered changing the name to the Texas State College of Mines and Arts (Prospector, March 5, 1949).
Texas Mines This name appeared several times during the 1940s as a shortened name in school publications, such as the Flowsheet.
Less Serious Names
Ask the Students
In the spring of 1949 The Prospector polled students at Texas College of Mines about a new name for the institution. First on the list . . . The University of Texas at El Paso or UTEP, but the Board of Regents officially ruled that name out. Other serious proposals included "Texas Western University" or "Texas State College of Mines and Arts." Among the less serious . . . "El Paso Country Club of Pool and Pin ball Machines" and "Ysleta Junior College." One suggestion read "Mount Franklin University" (The Prospector, March 12, 1949). Of course, the name selected was Texas Western College and the rest is history.
Texas College of Malnutrition
During the discussion in 1949 about what to name the school, someone spray-painted this name on the wall of the Administration Building. When the student newspaper covered the incident it noted that this was not the first time the name had been heard on campus. Evidently, a receptionist in one of the men's dormitories was fond of using the name when answering calls to the front desk (The Prospector, March 12, 1949).
Depending on the context, this one can refer to "Juarez University of Texas at El Paso" or to the way that native Spanish speakers pronounce the "You" sound in "UTEP." Both are plays on the fact that the student body has been majority Hispanic since 1986.
Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy
Other than in secondary sources, the name of the school was never styled as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy, or the Texas State School of Mines in legal or other official sources. The school's first dean, Steve H. Worrell, did fancy the name and even had stationery printed in 1916 with "Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy" for his own use.
The name "Texas State School of Mines" first appeared in 1919 in the student-published yearbook six years after the school was established. The name "Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy" next appeared in 1939 in a retrospective article published by the El Paso Herald Post. The name did not show up again in print until April 25, 1964, when an article in the Prospector declared that this was the original name of the school. Its use picked up considerably during the early 1960s in preparation for the school’s fiftieth anniversary.
Nonetheless, a common, unofficial name for the school was the Texas School of Mines, which was abbreviated TSM; after 1920, this usage changed to TCM for the Texas College of Mines. It is easy to see how this common name was conflated with the legal name to arrive at “Texas State.”
The first documented use of the phrase Texas State School of Mines first appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on November 19, 1905, in reference to a proposal by the American Mining Congress to endorse the establishment of a mining school in El Paso.