A university’s seal is an emblem that represents the university as an institution as well as the students and faculty that are associated with the school. It is important to get a sense of the school’s culture from emblem. UTEP's evolution of names and identities is chronicled in the history of its seals. From the first seal, created in 1919, to the present seal, officially adopted in 1967, the insignia continues to symbolize the distinctive school nestled in mountains that define Paso del Norte.
Designed in 1919 by Texas School of Mines and Metallurgy registrar, Ruth Monro Augur, the school’s first seal depicted a burro loaded with mining gear -- a pick, shovel, and gold pan. The seal's outline was fashioned in the shape of a miner’s spade. The letters TSM (for Texas School of Mines) occupied the three corners of the spade and the Texas star was placed in the center. From the shape of the seal to the burro, mining was epitomized in the first seal.
In 1919, The Prospector wrote that the new seal “is likely to be a conspicuous feature on future football fields.” Interestingly, the seal may have been designed because of The Prospector. School of Mines student and Prospector staff member from 1917 to 1921, John Paul Savage indicated in an interview in 1979, that the school paper wanted a logo for the paper and Ruth Monro Auger agreed to design it. “We [The Prospector] wanted a logo for the paper, the top of the paper. ... Auger, who was also quite an artist, designed the logo which was on the face of a shovel of a prospector’s burro, fully packed showing his pack saddle and his pan and his shovel and his pic. And that was adopted more or less as an insignia for the Miners.”
Auger’s seal design was used to create two unofficial seals for the College. Though never official, the first two designs, created by or based off of Ruth Monro Auger’s design, became the representative symbols of the School and College of Mines and Metallurgy.
In 1928, The Flowsheet featured a new seal by altering Auger’s original design--“TSM” had been changed to “TCM” to indicate the 1920 name change to Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy. Another slight design alteration was the location of the shovel; Auger’s original “TSM” design had the shovel placed on the back of the burro’s pack and the new design moved the shovel to front, crossing over the pick. In fact, even after the adoption of an official seal in 1932, the “TCM” seal was still found in the schools’ news publication, The Prospector, and continued to adorn the College’s band instruments as late as 1936.
First Official Seal - University of Texas
Until 1932, the school's official seal was the seal created for all University of Texas schools. The UT emblem had a shield in the center which featured the Texas Lone Star, for the state of Texas, surrounded by laurel, and an open book, to represent academics.
Official Seal of TCM
The first official seal to be adopted specifically for the Texas College of Mines was approved by the UT Board of Regents in 1932.
President John G. Barry designed the seal and employed Charlotte Faster, a Junior Honors student, to draw the official design. President Barry included the phrase, “Scientia et Humanitas,” which means “science and arts” or "science and humanities." representing the college's combination of science, academics, and arts. In recognition of the institution’s history, the center of the seal featured the miner’s spade, pickaxe, and pan. Also carried over from the original seal designs was the Texas star, prominently placed between the spade and pick. The circular seal contained the name of college around the emblem, “College of Mines and Metallurgy.” Inside the circle, and encircling the spade and pick design, President Barry included the following words to indicate the College’s relationship to the UT system, “A Branch of the University of Texas.”
The Prospector wrote that the new seal “is a symbol of the united college. It embodies the ideal of both the engineer and academic departments.”
President Barry and Charlotte Faster’s design remained the official seal until 1949.
Official Seal of TWC
In 1949 the institution again changed names, this time to Texas Western College. The new name necessitated a new seal, designed by two of the College’s most famous faculty members, printer and founder of Texas Western Press, Carl Hertzog, and artist and book illustrator, Jóse Cisneros.
Nancy Hamilton described the new seal: “The five-point Texas Lone Star remained, but the pick and spade and mining pan were replaced by a vista of the Rio Grande winding through the pass with the sun in the background. Oak and laurel wreaths were at left and right, as in the State of Texas seal, and the words ‘Scientia et humanitas’ at the top were for the college’s two divisions, Engineering and Liberal Arts.”
In an interview in 1995, Cisneros explained how he came to design the seal: “Well, they asked him [Carl Hertzog] to get someone to do it and naturally he came to me.”
In 1966, the Board of Regents voted to change the name of Texas Western College to The University of Texas at El Paso, Texas Western College. This was to be a temporary name change until the Texas State Legislature had an opportunity to approve the legal name change to The University of Texas at El Paso. The Regents directed that until the legislature acted, the university should call itself by the new name, with the name "Texas Western" styled in letters smaller than the rest. This resulted in the creation of a temporary logo that was in use for less than a year.
Official Seal of UTEP
When the name of the college was changed to The University of Texas at El Paso in 1967, the seal again required a revision.
The overall design of the 1949 seal remained; only the name changed.
Of the University seal, the UTEP Graphic Identity Guide states: "The University of Texas at El Paso seal is used primarily for official University documents such as diplomas, certificates, special awards or plaques as directed by the Office of the President. The seal is also used in specific applications, where a more formal presentation is desired, such as stationery, commencement and event programs, commemorative items and other merchandise. The seal should only be used for applications directly related to the official business of the University. Approval as to the use of the seal rests with the Office of the President."
The UTEP seal was registered as trademarked in 1987. The owner of the trademark is the University of Texas Board of Regents.
In Public Art
The unofficial seal is depicted in the tile floor of the old portion of the Geological Sciences Building.
After 1949, a mural of the Texas Western seal, constructed of tile pieces, was installed in the Administration Building which was near completion at the time of the name change. The mural was created by Robert Massey, a faculty member in the art department. In 1967, Artist Richard Parra Tuesday was given the task of removing the “Texas Western College” from the mural and replacing it with “The University of Texas at El Paso.” The task took five days in May 1967 and continues to be the centerpiece of the building’s main staircase.
The UTEP seal is depicted on the floor of the new portion of the Geological Sciences Building.
In September 1977, the seven-hundred-pound bronze seal sculptures, designed by art instructor Dan Lomax, were hoisted into place at the University Ave and North Mesa entry gate and at the Don Haskins Center.
In 2011, the seal was incorporated into the new University Mace prepared as part of the Centennial Celebration.
Fugate, Frontier College, p. 30
Hamilton, Pictorial History of UTEP, pp. 34, 58, 73, 136
Heritage House Seals collection
Interviews with John Paul Savage, October 9, 1979, and José Cisneros, January 16, 1995
The Prospector, April 1919, February 2, 1932, February 25, 1950, September 15, 1958, March 31, 1967, May 5, 1967, and September 9, 1977