TCM Day Celebrates UTEP’s Longest-Running Campus Tradition
March 9, 2016 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
On March 18, the University of Texas at El Paso's College of Engineering will present the university's longest-running tradition, TCM Day.
The tradition began in 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. TCM carries on today thanks to the Engineering Student Leadership Council chairs and numerous student volunteers who now make up the Mighty Guard of St. Pat after going through TCM Day themselves.
"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. Those who complete every element of TCM Day will earn their official TCM Day green card and a TCM t-shirt.
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 popular theatrical production where a senior engineering student (as voted 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.
After a quick break, Miners will whitewash the "M" on the mountain off Sun Bowl Drive, a tradition that dates back to 1923 when students first assembled brooms, buckets and paint to create 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 university communities. Those APO members started many of the traditions that are still around today. The APO student awards began in 1991.
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 and Sciences Complex). The act is said to give the kisser the gift of gab.
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.