The "M" on Miner Mountain is an iconic landmark for all El Pasoans - UTEP student, alumni or not. It wasn't welcomed by everyone at first though.

The University of Texas at El Paso. (UTEP), "M" was originally going to be a "T" for Texas College of Mines. Students shot that down in 1919 though.

The "M" first appeared in 1923 in a different location, above Scenic Drive near Murchison Park. In 1965, it was moved to its current spot near Sun Bowl Stadium.

Not everybody was into the idea of painting a big azz letter on the side of the mountain. While most of the students were all for it, others around town weren't.

El Pasoans were pretty vocal with their disdain. Residents were so against the idea that it prompted UTEP's newspaper, The Prospector, to write:

If the people who criticize us most harshly, and call us 'Dirty Miners' will reflect on the antics of other college students, they will come to realize that the Miners are a hard-working and sober bunch, everything considered. - EPTimes 

Needless to say, students eventually got their "M" and, starting in 1944, "M Day" became an unofficial holiday where students skip class to give the "M" a touchup.

Their next opponent had them, literally, outgunned. The United States Army was next to take issue with the "M". Though their problem with it was a little more understandable.

The Army didn't give a you know what about the "M", they cared about the tradition of lighting it for homecoming.

Photo, GG
Photo, GG


It was, (then), a 150 square foot target when ablaze, a concern as the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor had pushed America into WW II the previous December. UTEP wasn't "lit" that year.

By 1943 though, the Army let UTEP fire it up and the lighting ceremony was accompanied by an on site pep rally and a live radio broadcast of the festivities.

Today, the "M" shines brighter than ever for homecoming and other special events.

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