Mining Minds: Special lighting to celebrate UTEP President Diana Natalicio’s Tenure

The University of Texas at El Paso will illuminate the “Mining Minds” pickaxe sculpture at the campus’ Sun Bowl-University Roundabout in blue and orange each evening from Monday through Wednesday, Aug. 12-14, 2019, to celebrate the 31-year leadership tenure of UTEP President Diana Natalicio.

President Natalicio concludes her term in the campus’ highest leadership position Aug. 14. In May 2018, she announced that she would retire after 31 years as UTEP’s leader. In her time at UTEP, she has overseen the conferral of approximately 93,500 degrees.

This week, each second the “Mining Minds” pickaxe sculpture is illuminated in orange and blue will represent one of those degrees. In total, the sculpture will be lit for 26 hours throughout the course of three evenings, or about 93,500 seconds.

Throughout the last three decades, President Natalicio has deftly guided the University to national prominence as a top tier research institution, all the while being relentless in ensuring access and affordability for the student population that it serves.

In 2019, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education designated UTEP as an R1 top tier doctoral university with very high research activity. UTEP is one of only 131 (4.5%) universities among the 2,883 four-year higher education institutions across the U.S. to earn this distinction.

President Natalicio’s tenure makes her the longest-serving current president of a public doctoral/research university in the country.

“Mining Minds” is an iconic piece of public art installed in 2010 to enhance the UTEP campus. At night, orange lights illuminate the steel structure while light from LEDs emanate from the perforated “ones” and “zeroes” at each end of the pick.

The University illuminates the pick in blue and orange on special occasions such as historic dates, major annual milestones and celebrations of special accomplishments.   To earn more about “Mining Minds” click here.