UTEP Celebrates Century of Growth

UTEP has played a major role in the Paso del Norte Region of Texas over its past century of existence.

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The University of Texas at El Paso Undergraduate Learning Center
Frank Ordoñez

The University of Texas at El Paso, located in one of the largest binational communities in the world, celebrates its 100th anniversary throughout 2014 – commemorating a century of dramatic progress and growth and giving cause to reflect on its positive local impact during that time.

UTEP has positioned itself to become what its leadership describes as “the first national research university serving a 21st-century student demographic.”

During its centennial celebration, UTEP will commemorate past accomplishments, showcase its present strengths and look forward to the future.

Small Beginnings

The university's history dates to 1914 when it opened as a small mining school with 27 students. Today, nearly 23,000 students are enrolled at UTEP which offers a broad array of degree programs.

UTEP’s growth over the last century has been dramatic, with extraordinary progress in developing its research capacity and greatly expanding its doctoral programs. Add investments in state-of-the-art equipment, laboratories and buildings, and it’s an exciting time to be a part of UTEP in the community.

UTEP's rich heritage, location on the U.S.-Mexico border, attractive geological features and Chihuahuan Desert landscape provide a unique campus setting. UTEP’s skyline has changed dramatically over the past several years as more than $270 million in construction and renovation projects have transformed the campus. There are more changes to come, including an aesthetically pleasing outdoor campus transformation project, using pedestrian walkways and green spaces to knit together campus buildings.

Providing Access and Opportunity

“When I moved here I fell in love with the school and the community for its beauty and friendliness,” says Howard Daudistel, senior vice president of UTEP and a faculty member since 1974. “The changes over those nearly 40 years have been dramatic.”

UTEP students incur low out-of-pocket cost or “net price” for their degrees, and the university was recognized by Washington Monthly magazine for excellence in social mobility, research and service. UTEP ranked first among all U.S. universities in the Social Mobility category for helping its students achieve their aspirations.

Russell Vandenburg, a 1970 UTEP graduate, chairs UTEP’s Centennial Campaign Leadership Council and says he depends on the university as an important source for new employees for TVO North America, of which he is president and CEO. Vandenburg initially moved from Chicago to El Paso for school and later built his business here.

“UTEP is really the catalyst for our community and provides access to an excellent education for thousands," Vandenburg says.

Major Economic Player

The university also makes a significant positive economic impact throughout the Paso del Norte region, contributing more than $1 billion to the area economy and creating thousands of jobs. The university, which has more than 2,800 faculty and staff, has an annual operating budget in excess of $417 million, contributes $452 million in total personal income for local residents and spends $76 million annually on research projects.

"As we embark on our second century, UTEP is poised to continue to serve as a major economic driver in the Paso del Norte region," says UTEP President Diana Natalicio. "Through our commitment to higher education that is accessible and affordable, to cutting-edge research that addresses issues of regional importance, and to our many cultural, arts and sports programs, UTEP is transforming the lives of young people and their families, fostering greater prosperity and improving the quality of life of this U.S.-Mexico border region.”

Learn more about other colleges in El Paso.



John Fuller has a long career in the communications business. After graduating with a degree in journalism from Kent State University, he worked as a reporter and business writer f... more

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Wed, 02/28/2018 - 21:22