That Big M On The Mountain By UTEP Doesn’t Stand For Mountain
The big white "M" stands for Miners and has only been there since 1965. It goes much farther back though.
You have probably seen the huge M painted on the mountain off Sun Bowl Drive but, did you know it wasn't always in that particular spot?
It was first painted in 1923 near Murchison Park where it lined up with Willow Street according to some.
Somebody complained about it so, students didn't make a trek up to repaint it until the 30's. It stayed in that spot until it was moved, in1965, to its current spot along Sun Bowl Drive, across from the Sun Bowl itself.
The student government of what was then Texas Western College, initiated the move. According to a UTEP news article, the group was ...
... concerned with the mounting expenses associated with transporting students and materials to the site. Other issues were that the M could not be seen from campus, and it was set among similar letters representing area high schools. (UTEP)
Maybe you couldn't see it from on campus but, according to this article, when its edges were lined with road flares, you could see it from all the way down in the lower valley.
Moving it still makes sense though ... get it closer for students to paint it and see it with minimal travel back and forth. Smart. Which, they should have been. Many were engineering students after all.)
I was at a graduation recently and they had the "M" lit up by regular light bulbs and it looked pretty cool.
For those into useless trivia, the "M" is 104 feet tall and 103 feet wide and sits on a 32-degree slope.
Its traditional "repainting" usually happens around St. Patrick's day because, in addition to being the patron saint of green beer, St. Patrick is also the patron saint of engineers.
Didn't know that, didja'?