The campus of UTEP is a pretty unique American university campus.  The Bhutanese style of architecture is carried throughout the campus, but who decided to use that style of architecture?  Turns out, it was the wife of the first dean of the school, and her inspiration was a National Geographic magazine article.

courtesy: utep facebook

From UTEP's website: "UTEP was founded in 1914 as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy, and the inspiration for its architecture is credited to Kathleen Worrell, wife of the School's first dean, who was fascinated with an 88-page photo-essay on Bhutan that appeared in the April 1914 issue of National Geographic magazine.

The article, titled "Castles in the Air," recounted the travels across Bhutan of British political officer and engineer John Claude White. Accompanying the article were 74 of White's photographs—among the first ever published of the ancient and isolated kingdom."

I grew up in El Paso, but I had no idea why Bhutan's architecture was chosen for UTEP's buildings.  This weekend, as part of the University's Centennial Celebration, you can take a walking tour around the campus and learn more about UTEP's Bhutanese-style buildings.

The tour begins at 1 p.m., Saturday, January 18th, and will be conducted by Max Grossman, Ph.D.  Dr. Grossman is an assistant professor of art history at UTEP, and vice chair of the El Paso County Historical Commission.  The tour is free and open to the public, but, reservations are required.  If you would like to go, RSVP to

To make reservations for a guided tour this month, contact Maribel Villalva at 915-747-6669 or