By Daniel Perez
UTEP News Service
March is a time to treasure old memories and create new ones at The University of Texas at El Paso. The proof is in this month’s calendar of Centennial events that include some things old, some things new, some things borrowed and some things … green.
The campus will celebrate a Green Friday on March 21 as the University enjoys its annual TCM Day, the oldest continuous campus tradition that honors its engineering roots. The major change this year is the College of Engineering has invited the entire campus to participate. Festivities begin at 7:30 a.m. at the P-9 parking lot, next to Kidd Field.
The University also has scheduled a campus walking tour to honor the national championship-winning 1966 men’s basketball team. The expert-led tour starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Centennial Museum, and will make stops at Miners Hall and Old Main. There will be details and insights about the team, and behind-the-scenes trivia from the 2006 film “Glory Road,” which is based on the team’s journey to the NCAA championships.
Another highlight is UTEP’s Department of Art celebration of its past, present and future though the “10 Squared: 100 Artists Celebrate UTEP’s Centennial,” which opens Thursday, March 27, at the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts’ Projects Space. Invited artists with ties to the University – alumni, faculty and visiting artists – were asked to create something in their medium on a 10-inch square. The pieces will be assembled together along with a photo history of the department.
March is filled with eclectic activities including alumni reunions around the state, cultural exhibits on campus, teaching conferences, lectures, performances, health fairs and the Conference USA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments March 11-15 at Memorial Gym and the Don Haskins Center.
“The great thing about this is that we’re all celebrating in our own way,” said Keith Erekson, Ph.D., executive director of the University’s Centennial Office. “We’ve invited everyone to join in the party and whatever they plan fits in with who they are. It’s very organic.”
Since the early 1920s, the Texas College of Mines celebrated St. Patrick, the patron saint of engineers. Camaraderie was forged through participation in such events as raising the TCM flag, whitewashing the “M” on the mountain, and forming the Long Green Line to kiss the Blarney Stone. Until now, only the engineering students have partaken.
The college has reached out across campus as a show of understanding that 21st century engineers must work with all professions, said Richard Schoephoerster, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering.
“We look forward to everyone being a TCMer and celebrating with us,” Schoephoerster said. “This is going to be a lot of fun. We’re all Miners and we’ll move on together and learn from each other.”
The day’s agenda includes the collection of canned goods to donate to the Rescue Mission of El Paso, a commemoration to the “M” on the Mountain, the singing of songs to honor St. Pat led by Fort Bliss soldiers, and the St. Pat’s Feast of picnic foods. For more information, visit tcm.utep.edu.
“Glory Road” Walking Tour
The walking tour recognizes the Texas Western College (now UTEP) basketball team led by Coach Don Haskins that won the national championship and made history during the Civil Rights era for starting five black players for the first time in NCAA championship game history. UTEP alumnus Joe Gomez, who served as a film consultant, will conduct the expert-led tour at 11 a.m. March 15.
Docent-led tours will be offered throughout March.
Participants will start at the museum to see displays, including a replica of the championship trophy, and a short video about the team before heading to Miners Hall, where Don and Mary Haskins and their young sons lived when they moved to El Paso. The tour will move to Old Main where some movie exteriors were shot. There, Gomez will discuss details about the movie, offer behind-the-scenes trivia and separate fact from fiction. The tour is timed to accommodate visitors in town for the Conference USA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
Among those who plan to attend is Pamela Pippen, a UTEP alumna and TWC cheerleader during that championship season. She recalled the campus pride and celebration following the victory, but did not understand the racial significance of the victory for many years.
“We were just college cheerleaders supporting our team,” Pippen said.
For tour information or to make arrangements for the expert-led or a docent-led tour, contact Maribel Villalva, Centennial Museum director, at 915-747-6669 or email@example.com.
On a related note, faculty members Charles Martin, Ph.D., professor of history, and Tony Stafford, Ph.D., professor of English, will discuss the book Glory Road by Don Haskins and Daniel Wetzel during the monthly “Mining Books” event at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, in the University Library’s Blumberg Auditorium.
The “10 Squared” exhibit is the latest in a yearlong list of Centennial-themed shows at the Rubin gallery. An opening reception will be held April 10 to coincide with the University’s open house. The show closes April 26. The Rubin Center will auction the works May 8 and use the money to fund community outreach and educational programming, said Kerry Doyle, gallery director.
“Artists don’t make a lot of money for the most part, but they are very generous when it comes to UTEP’s Centennial efforts,” Doyle said. “They have been so enthusiastic.”
Other activities at the Rubin this month are Family Day: “The Himalayan New Year,” from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 8; and “The Sacred Art of Tibetan Thangkas,” a lecture from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 20.
For a complete list of Centennial Celebration activities, visit UTEP100years.com.
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