Colorado School of Mines

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Colorado School of Mines
Seal of Colorado School of Mines
Motto Nil sine numine (Latin)
Established 1873-1874
Type Public
Endowment $230.8 million [1]
President Dr. Myles W. (Bill) Scoggins
Students 5,632
Undergraduates 4,169 [2]
Postgraduates 1,463 [2]
Location Golden, Colorado, US
Campus Suburban, 373 acres (1.5 km²)
Athletics 18 varsity teams
Colors          Blue & Silver
Nickname Orediggers
Mascot Marvin the Miner & Blaster the Burro[3]

Colorado School of Mines (also referred to as "Mines" and "CSM") is a small public teaching and research university in Golden, Colorado, devoted to engineering and applied science, with special expertise[4] in the development and stewardship of the Earth's natural resources. CSM placed 88th in the 2015 US News and World Report "Best National Universities" ranking.


Early history[edit]

Golden, Colorado, established in 1859 as Golden City, served as a supply center for miners and settlers in the area. In 1866, Bishop George Maxwell Randall of Massachusetts arrived in the territory and, seeing a need for higher education facilities in the area, began planning for a university which would include a school of mines. In 1870, he opened the Jarvis Hall Collegiate School in the central building of the Colorado University Schools campus just south of the town of Golden, accompanied it with Matthews Hall (Colorado) divinity school in 1872, and in 1873 the School of Mines opened under the auspices of the Episcopal Church. In 1874 the School of Mines, supported by the territorial government since efforts began in 1870, was acquired by the territory and has been a state institution since 1876 when Colorado attained statehood. Tuition was originally free to residents of Colorado.[5] The school's logo was designed by prominent architect Jacques Benedict.

Engineering Hall, constructed in 1894
George R. Brown Hall houses various engineering disciplines, including mining.
Paul Meyer Hall houses the Physics Department.
Alderson Hall, completed in 1992 and named for former university president Victor C. Alderson (1903-1913 and 1917-1925), houses the chemical engineering department.

The first building on the current site of the school was built in 1880 with additions completed in 1882 and 1890. The building, known as "Chemistry Hall," stood where Hill Hall is now located. The next building to be added to the campus was Engineering Hall, built in 1894, which is still in use today by the Economics and Business Division.

Other firsts include the first Board of Trustees meeting held in 1879; the first formal commencement held in 1883 for two graduates (William Beebe Middleton and Walter Howard Wiley); the first international student graduated in 1889; and the first female student graduated in 1898. In 1906, Mines became the first school of its kind in the world to own and operate its own experimental mine, designed for practical teaching of the students, which was located on Mt. Zion and succeeded in the 1930s by the Edgar Mine. In 1879, there was some discussion about merging School of Mines and the State University in Boulder (University of Colorado Boulder). Apparently, because of the specialized focus of School of Mines, it was decided that such a merger would not be appropriate. During the early years of the institution, the chief administrator was the "Professor in Charge". The designation "President" was first used in 1880. The "M" on Mt. Zion, a prominent feature in the Golden area, was constructed in 1908 and lighted in 1932.

Early academic departments were drafting, physics, metallurgy, chemistry and mining. In the 1920s, departments formed in geology, petroleum engineering and geophysics. Petroleum refining was added in 1946. The Division of Liberal Arts and International Studies and the Department of Physical Education and Athletics provide nontechnical educational opportunities for Mines students. Other facilities include: Ben Parker Student Center, Arthur Lakes Library, Green Center and the Edgar Mine which is located in Idaho Springs.

Recent history[edit]

The Colorado School of Mines is a public research university devoted to engineering and applied science.

In August 2007, a new student recreation center was completed. In 2008, the school finished expanding its main computer center, the Center for Technology and Learning Media (CTLM). In May 2008 the school completed construction and installation of a new supercomputer nicknamed "Ra"[6] in the CTLM managed by the Golden Energy Computing Organization (GECO), a partnership between the Colorado School of Mines, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Science Foundation.

The school operates the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, which displays rock and mineral specimens collected from Colorado's numerous mining districts as well as around the world. The museum's exhibits include specimens from the Frank Allison gold and silver collection, part of the famous Nininger meteorite collection, and Sweet Home Mine rhodochrosite, as well as a model uranium mine and various pieces of mining related art.

Mines is the host of the annual Colorado State Science Olympiad, which draws teams from both the northern regional (hosted at Poudre High School) and southern regional (hosted at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs) competitions. One or two teams usually advance to the national finals, depending on the number of teams registered to compete. Mines also hosts the Colorado Regional Science Bowl, and shares hosting of the Colorado State MathCounts Competition with University of Denver, alternating biennially.

Since 1964, the Colorado School of Mines has hosted the annual oil shale symposium, one of the most important international oil shale conferences. Although the series of symposia stopped after 1992, the tradition was restored in 2006.[7]


Mountain monogram[edit]

Mount Zion in the rain, CO.jpg

The school also maintains one of the oldest mountain monograms in the United States.[citation needed] Perched on Mount Zion above the campus, the stone monument of the school's M logo is illuminated every evening, and can be seen from miles away. During holidays and special occasions, such as finals week, the structure is illuminated with different colors and patterns to reflect the season. Also, every year during the first week of school, the incoming freshmen class hikes up to the "M" and contribute a 10 pound rock to the formation and apply a fresh coating of whitewash. Several attempts have been made to demolish the M with explosives, which in at least one case led to expulsions.[citation needed]

One case in particular was on November 6, 1919 when students from the University of Denver (DU) planned a trip up to Mt. Zion to paint the M crimson and gold (DU's school colors). Mines students got word of this attempt beforehand and were waiting on the road with pistols drawn. Rumor has it shots were fired but no one was hurt. Instead the students were paraded down to Stratton Hall, relieved of their hair and an "M" was conspicuously painted on each forehead with silver nitrate and the captives were later paraded around Golden wearing white jumpers with blue M's.[8]

Bill Blass, a Denver Post reporter, slammed the Mines students for their outrageous conduct and unacceptable behavior. In response the students called the Post and asked for Blass to come out and see the real Mines and that he was misinformed about what Mines was all about. Meanwhile, they also put in a call to the Rocky Mountain News to send a reporter and a photographer for a "great story." Upon arriving, Bill Blass was taken prisoner, relieved of his hair as well and outfitted in "mines diggers" while the News team captured all the color for their paper.[8][9]

In April 1990, a group of students from historical rival New Mexico Tech (formerly New Mexico School of Mines), added an "N" and "T" to the top of the peak to form the school's initials, "NMT".[10][11]

In 2008, the "M" underwent an update to bring it into line with the "green energy" focus that Governor Bill Ritter has envisioned for all state institutions. The 1553 light bulbs that make up the M were changed from incandescent to LED, which was projected to save Mines hundreds of dollars on electrical costs, and pave the way to eventually power the "M" using only solar energy. To commemorate the switch to LED bulbs, Blue Key Honor Society made the M glow bright white at approximately 6:50 p.m., October 3, 2008.[12]


The design of the university's buildings have varied widely over time, spanning a spectrum of styles from Second Empire to Postmodernist, created by noted Colorado architectural masters including Robert S. Roeschlaub (Hall of Engineering), Jacques Benedict (Steinhauer Field House), and Temple Hoyne Buell (Berthoud Hall). To date two main academic buildings are gone (original Territorial School of Mines, 1871–93; Hall of Chemistry, 1880–1958), while the present campus includes:

Major open-air athletic facilities of the Colorado School of Mines include historic Campbell Field and Darden Field.

The honorary named Colorado School of Mines buildings commemorate Dr. Victor C. Alderson, Edward L. Berthoud, George R. Brown, Dr. Regis Chauvenet, Dr. Melville F. Coolbaugh, Cecil H. and Ida Green, Simon Guggenheim, Nathaniel P. Hill, Arthur Lakes, Dr. Paul D. Meyer, Winfield S. Stratton, and Russell K. Volk.



Admissions profile[edit]

For the class of 2016 (enrolled fall 2012), Colorado School of Mines received 11,682 applications, accepted 4,373 (37.4%) and enrolled 949 (21.7% of those accepted).[15] In terms of class rank, 60% of enrolled freshmen were in the top tenth of their high school classes, and 91% were in the top quarter.[15] The middle 50% range of SAT scores for the enrolled freshmen was 570-670 for critical reading, 630-720 for math, and 550-650 for writing, while the ACT Composite range was 27–31.[15] Men constituted 71.5% of the 949 matriculants in the incoming class of 2016, women 28.5%.[15]


The Colorado School of Mines brands itself athletically as "Colorado School of Mines", and its intercollegiate sports teams are known as the Orediggers. The Orediggers compete as members of NCAA Division II and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference for all 18 varsity sports. The Oredigger athletic teams include baseball, football, wrestling, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's golf, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's indoor/outdoor track and field, and women's volleyball.



The 2010 Ore Cart Pull

Each spring semester, the Colorado School of Mines students and faculty celebrate E-days (or Engineering Days). This three-day festival is kicked off with the "Ore Cart Pull". This event consists of students collectively pulling an ore cart 7.5 miles down Colfax Ave to the Colorado State Capitol in Downtown Denver.


Freshmen at the Colorado School of Mines are expected, but not required, to participate in the M-Climb. During this climb, students carry a ten-pound rock brought from their hometown up Mt. Zion. At the top of the mountain, they are then told to whitewash the M. While also being a mild hazing tradition, students take great pride in this process as it symbolizes the struggle they endure at the school to reach their goals. At graduation time, seniors are invited to return to the M and retrieve a rock to keep. This symbolizes the students taking the knowledge and skills they've learned with them into the next stage of their lives.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Professor in Charge.
  2. ^ Began as Professor in Charge, became the first President.
  3. ^ a b Served as President Twice


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2013."U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2012 to FY 2013" (PDF). 2013 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. 
  2. ^ a b As of October 15, 2012. "Colorado School of Mines Common Data Set 2012-2013, Part B". Colorado School of Mines. 
  3. ^ Blaster - Burro or Mule?
  4. ^ "Colorado School of Mines - Best Colleges - Education - US News and World Report". 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  5. ^ Thomas, Grace Powers (1898). Where to educate, 1898-1899. A guide to the best private schools, higher institutions of learning, etc., in the United States. Boston: Brown and Company. p. 23. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  6. ^ Mines unveils energy supercomputer 'Ra'
  7. ^ Purga, Jaanus (2006). "26th Oil Shale Symposium in Golden – waking up the largest oil shale reserve in the world" (PDF). Oil Shale. A Scientific-Technical Journal (Estonian Academy Publishers) 23 (4): 385–386. ISSN 0208-189X. Retrieved 2009-07-09. 
  8. ^ a b A "Blast" From the Past: The Football Season of 1919[dead link]
  9. ^ Eckley, Wilton "Rocky Mountains to the World: A History of the Colorado School of Mines" ISBN 1-57864-265-5
  10. ^
  11. ^ Maestas, Sal (May 3, 1990). "Spring Fling '90". Paydirt (Socorro, NM: New Mexico Tech). p. 1,6,7. 
  12. ^ Mines Magazine, Summer 2008.
  13. ^ "Colorado School of Mines." U.S. News & World Report. 2014
  14. ^ "Best Values in Public Colleges". Kiplinger's Personal Finance. January 2013. 
  15. ^ a b c d "Colorado School of Mines Common Data Set 2011-2012, Part C". Colorado School of Mines. 
  16. ^ "Shane Carwin UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°45′4″N 105°13′21″W / 39.75111°N 105.22250°W / 39.75111; -105.22250