TCM Day Celebrates UTEP’s Longest-Running Campus Tradition

The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Engineering will present TCM Day, the University’s longest-running tradition, on March 18.

The tradition commemorates UTEP’s mining heritage through activities such as singing the Mining Engineer’s songs, witnessing the Coming of St. Pat and kissing the Blarney Stone.

“It truly is a student-driven tradition,” said Gabby Gandara, director of engineering student services. “The things our students think of and implement for TCM Day make this day really special.”

Students, faculty and staff from all colleges and disciplines are invited to participate in the seven parts of TCM Day, including the Team Mining Challenge.

The tradition dates back to 1920, when UTEP was still known as the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy (TCM), as an annual rite of passage to initiate new engineers and geologists into the Order of St. Patrick, the patron saint of engineers. The event is organized by “The Mighty Guard of St. Pat,” a group of Engineering Student Leadership Council students who have previously participated in TCM Day.

The festivities start with participant sign-in at 7:30 a.m. in the Union Cinema, located on the first floor of the Union East Building. Participants are asked to bring $5 and a canned food item for the El Paso Rescue Mission. Engineering courses were once taught in the mission’s building during the 1970s, then known as Hacienda Tech.

After signing in, participants will attend the Coming of St. Pat, a theatrical production in which a senior engineering student selected by the Engineering Leadership Council creates their representation of St. Patrick.

A simulated dynamite blast will take place before students head to Centennial Plaza, where they will learn the traditional song and cadence to guide them for the rest of the day.

TCM.2006.nMiners will whitewash the “M” on the mountain off of Sun Bowl Drive, a tradition that dates backs to 1923 when students first assembled brooms, buckets and whitewash to paint the “M” on Mount Franklin.

A brief Alpha Phi Omega (APO) Engineering Fraternity award ceremony for this year’s recipients of the APO scholarship follows at Union Cinema. The APO fraternity was founded in 1919 at the Texas College of Mines as a social fraternity for engineering and geology students with a commitment to the UTEP and El Paso communities.

After the awards ceremony, Miners will participate in the Team Mining Challenge, which will begin at the Union, run through campus, and end at the Engineering Building. The challenge will engage teams of five to experience mining, its processes and equipment. The first place team will win $500.

As the finale of TCM Day activities, participants will walk the Long Green Line through the Engineering Building and kiss the Blarney Stone, a 1,000-pound boulder in front of the Engineering Building, which will be painted green for the occasion. The act is said to give the kisser the gift of eloquence and persuasiveness.

From 12:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., a St. Pat’s Feast will close out TCM Day in the courtyard of the Chemistry and Computer Science Building.

In honor of TCM Day, the “Mining Minds” pickaxe sculpture at the University Avenue roundabout will be lit in orange and blue the evening of Friday, March 18.

For a full TCM Day Schedule, please visit

10:05 a.m. – Whitewashing the M on the mountain at Sun Bowl Drive and Glory Road

12:30 p.m. – Team Mining Challenge and kissing the Blarney Stone outside the Engineering Building