Mining Minds: Special Lighting to celebrate UTEP President Heather Wilson’s 1st Fall Convocation

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 Tuesday, September 17, 2019, to celebrate UTEP President Heather Wilson’s first Fall Convocation.

President Wilson will deliver remarks to UTEP faculty, staff and students at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall.

Wilson was confirmed as President on April 2 by The University of Texas System Board of Regents after a national search that spanned eight months. She took office Aug. 15.

Her career in public service and higher education has spanned more than 35 years and includes top leadership roles in higher education, the military, government and private industry.

Until May 2019, President Wilson served as Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, a position to which she was appointed in 2017. In that role, she oversaw 685,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces, and an annual budget of $160 billion.

Before joining the Department of Defense, she served as president of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, an engineering and science research university in Rapid City, South Dakota, from 2013 to 2017.

In 1998, Wilson became the first female military veteran elected to a full term in Congress, representing New Mexico until 2009.

“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 emanates 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.

Learn more about “Mining Minds” at