Skip to Main Content

Colorado School of Mines History Timeline


With the expansion of the student body after the Great War came changes in the School's educational programs and facilities. Students sought what they considered a normal college experience in addition to the special experience of being at Mines. Student governance developed. Traditions became increasingly important, and athletics took on a central role in defining "Mines Spirit."

1920 -- 

  • Ninetta Davis, Class of 1920, is the third woman graduate at Mines. 
  • Professors are writing their own textbooks. These specialized books, tailored to the Mines curriculum, didn't have much of a market at other colleges so they were often copied locally and sold to the students.
  • The Mines Band is established. 

1921 --

  • The School takes a long lease on the Edgar Mine in Idaho Springs to better be able to operate it as an experimental laboratory.
  • An stone arrastra presented to Dr. James Underhill is placed on Guggenheim Hall's lawn.
  • The Petroleum Engineering Department is established.
  • An engraved tablet to the students and faculty who lost their lives in the Great War is displayed in the Library.
  • Mines installs its own radio station to broadcast information.
  • The Coolbaugh House, home to future president Melville Coolbaugh and family, is constructed.
  • A Student Council is organized as a representative body "to oversee and control student affairs."
  • The Oredigger student newspaper, the "Voice of the World's Foremost Mining School," prints its first issue. One of its first issues includes a list of traditions the upperclassmen sought to re-establish on campus.

1922 -- 

  • Don Carlos Valdez, Class of 1922, is the first known Latino-American graduate of Mines.
  • The School takes out a 10-year lease on the National Guard Armory.
  • The Glee Club forms and holds its first concert.
  • The Chinese and Latin American Clubs are represented in the Prospector student yearbook.
  • Students organize a golf team and go looking for matches with other schools.
  • Athletic Park, the site of Mines' football and baseball games, is renovated and renamed Brooks Field.
  • Mines adopts a goat as their mascot, a "nice little buttin', rarin' goat" named Zeolite.

1923 -- Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity is established from the Minen Club, making it the 5th national fraternity on campus.

1924 -- 

  • A curriculum revision aims to focus solely on "engineering related to the mineral industries" to make it unique to the nation. Courses on civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering are under review.
  • Kappa Sigma fraternity house is built on Illinois St.
  • The first Homecoming is celebrated on Nov. 15 1924 with a Mines vs Brigham Young University football game.

1925 -- 

  • Melville Fuller Coolbaugh is appointed president.
  • The Mines Student Council joins others in lobbying for a change in the blue laws to allow the Gem Theater in Golden to show movies on Sunday evenings, in opposition to local religious and civil leaders.
  • The Vigilantes are organized from a group of seniors. Their purpose: To promote Mines Spirit; and "to advocate those ideals of college life which will be of credit to each of us, and to our Alma Mater."
  • Golden's "Cement Bill" Williams, local builder, constructs grandstands at Brooks Field.
  • The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference cracks down on the practice of students "raiding" opponent universities' campuses to pull pranks or deface campus grounds -- the offending university can have its games canceled for at least a year. Since this was a common practice known for its property damage, university administration is justifiably concerned.

1926 -- 

  • President Coolbaugh ends the chemical, civil, mechanical and electrical engineering options as "electives" to focus on mineral resource exploitation.
  • Mines institutes a credit system for courses, "an innovation in Rocky Mountain collegiate circles."
  • Freshman Week is created to assist the new men to accommodate themselves to their new environment before classes start.
  • The Geophysics Department is established.
  • Freshman geology class field trips in the area are undertaken on foot despite the weather. The fastest students are reported to have made it back from Ralston Creek in about 2 hours.
  • Kappa Kappa Psi, a national honorary fraternity for college band members, is established on campus.
  • Blue Key National Honor Fraternity, is established from the former Vigilantes organization.
  • A Student Rating Book is instituted. The Book contains the scholastic standing of every student. Kept in the library for anyone to look at, the Book is part of the administration's efforts to promote higher standards.

1927 -- 

  • The first Engineers' Day is held in partnership with the Colorado Engineering Council, as a professional day to bring engineers on campus and promote networking.
  • Senior Court is held. Students bring to trial and convict the entire faculty for various offences.
  • Sigma Nu fraternity builds a new house on Illinois and 18th St. It's described as "the modern dream of any fraternity man."
  • A Typical Miner Contest selects, from the Senior Class by an all-student vote, the man who "most perfectly typifies the Real Miner."
  • The Glee Club, which had disbanded, is re-established as the "Singing Miners." 
  • The American Legion charges the School of Mines with being a "hot-bed of communism."

1928 -- 

  • The Colorado School of Mines Foundation is established.
  • Two "co-eds" are registered for Fall semester, causing much local excitement. A humorous news report states that male bastions have been invaded by "this relentless feminine contingent."
  • Herbert Kim, Class of 1928, is the first reported Korean-American graduate of Mines.
  • Phi Lambda Alpha is established on campus from the Latin-American Club.
  • Mines fields a competitive swim team.

1929 -- 

  • Rumors over the School becoming a 5-year program to accommodate all of the requirements are officially denied.
  • The average annual faculty salary is barely $3,000.
  • The M Club, a social organization to promote School spirit, is active.
  • Alpha Tau Omega is established on campus, from the local Mu Epsilon Tau fraternity.
  • A Kangaroo Court is convened "to maintain a reasonable amount of punishment for unruly and disobedient Frosh."
  • The Dames Club is organized as a social group for the wives and the mothers of students who moved to Golden with their sons.