Colorado School of Mines

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Colorado School of Mines
CSMines seal.png
Motto Nil sine numine (Latin)
Motto in English
Nothing without God's will
Type Public
Established 1874
Endowment $273 million (2014)[1]
President Paul C. Johnson
Students 5,794 [2]
Undergraduates 4,533 [2]
Postgraduates 1,261 [2]
Location Golden, Colorado, U.S.
39°45′4″N 105°13′21″W / 39.75111°N 105.22250°W / 39.75111; -105.22250Coordinates: 39°45′4″N 105°13′21″W / 39.75111°N 105.22250°W / 39.75111; -105.22250
Campus Suburban, 373 acres (1.51 km2)
Colors Blue & Silver[3]
Nickname Orediggers
Mascot Marvin the Miner
Blaster the Burro[4]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IIRocky Mountain
CSM logo.png

Colorado School of Mines, also referred to as "Mines" and "CSM", is a public teaching and research university in Golden, Colorado, devoted to engineering and applied science, with special expertise[5] in the development and stewardship of the Earth's natural resources. CSM placed 88th in the 2017 US News & World Report "Best National Universities" ranking. In the 2016–17 QS World University Rankings by Subject, the university was ranked as the top institution in the world for Mineral and Mining Engineering.[6]


Early history[edit]

Engineering Hall, constructed in 1894
George R. Brown Hall houses various engineering disciplines, including mining.
Paul Meyer Hall housed the Physics Department. It was torn down in Spring 2016 to be replaced by the CoorsTek center.
Alderson Hall, completed in 1953[7] and renovated in 1992, was named for former university president Victor C. Alderson (1903–1913 and 1917–1925) and houses the chemical engineering department.

Golden, Colorado, established in 1859 as Golden City, served as a supply center for miners and settlers in the area. In 1866, Bishop George M. 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.[8] The school's logo was designed by prominent architect Jacques Benedict.

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. 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"[9] 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.[10]



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.


CSM is organized around three Colleges:

  • College of Applied Science and Engineering (CASE)
  • College of Engineering and Computational Sciences (CECS)
  • College of Earth Resource Sciences and Engineering (CERSE)


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[12] 88
Washington Monthly[13] 153[11]
  • 1st in "USA Today's Top 10 Engineering Schools 2015".[14]
  • 38th in U.S. News & World Report's 2015 "Top Public Schools".[15]
  • 35th in U.S. News & World Report's 2015 "Best Engineering Graduate Schools".
  • 88th in U.S. News & World Report's 2017 "Best National Universities Rankings".
  • 139th in Times Higher Education's 2014 "World University Rankings".
  • 82/76th in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine’s 2014 "Best Values in Public Colleges."[16]

Admissions profile[edit]

For freshmen entering Fall 2014, Colorado School of Mines received 12,340 applications, accepted 4,501 (36.5%) and enrolled 999 (22.2% of those accepted).[17] The middle 50% range of SAT scores for the enrolled freshmen was 590–680 for critical reading, 640–720 for math, and 560–650 for writing, while the ACT Composite range was 28–32.[17] The average GPA was 3.80. Men constituted 73.8% of the incoming class, women 26.2%.[17]



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.


The Colorado School of Mines brands itself athletically as "Colorado 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.

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, 2015. "2016 Mini Fact Book, p.5.". Colorado School of Mines. 
  2. ^ a b c As of Fall 2015. "2016 Mini Fact Book, p.5.". Colorado School of Mines. 
  3. ^ Mines Graphic Standards Guide (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-14. 
  4. ^ Blaster – Burro or Mule? Archived April 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Colorado School of Mines – Best Colleges – Education – US News and World Report". 2009-08-19. Archived from the original on 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  6. ^ "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 - Engineering - Mineral & Mining". Top Universities. QS Quacquarelli Symonds. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  7. ^ "Alderson Hall". Jefferson County Place Names Directory. Retrieved 2 October 2016. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Mines unveils energy supercomputer 'Ra' Archived May 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ "2014 National Universities Rankings". Washington Monthly. n.d. Retrieved May 27, 2015. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Best Colleges 2017: National Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016. 
  13. ^ "2016 Rankings - National Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016. 
  14. ^ The top 10 engineering colleges in the U.S. | The Lowdown From College Factual News for College Students | USA TODAY College
  15. ^ "Colorado School of Mines." U.S. News & World Report. 2014
  16. ^ "Best Values in Public Colleges". Kiplinger's Personal Finance. January 2013. 
  17. ^ a b c "Colorado School of Mines Common Data Set 2014–2015, Part C" (PDF). Colorado School of Mines. 
  18. ^ US NSF - Office of the Director - List of NSF Directors, 1950-present
  19. ^ "Shane Carwin UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014-01-01. 

External links[edit]