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Colorado School of Mines History Timeline


World War II transformed the School of Mines as it directed its resources first towards training civilian and military engineers, and then to educating student veterans. The 10 Year Building Program is in full swing, expanding the campus. The post-War boom in enrollment fueled by the G.I. Bill brought a major culture shift -- Veterans brought different life experiences and, for the first time, women and children (the families of veterans) lived on campus in large numbers, accompanied by an explosion in temporary student housing.

1940 -- 

  • Enrollment for fall 1940 is reported as 786, a new record.
  • Berthoud Hall is constructed, with Temple Buell as architect.
    • Geophysics moves into the east wing of Berthoud Hall.
    • The new Geology Museum opens in the west wing of Berthoud Hall.
  • 254 men, including 12 professors, register with Selective Service at the Mines precinct.
  • Mines is designated to participate in in the National Engineering Defense Training Program, offering courses to address manpower shortages in strategic defense-related industries.
  • First outdoor Commencement held, on the steps of Stratton Hall.
  • Tennis courts are constructed on Maple St.

1941 -- 

  • Mines Park is constructed -- 21 apartment buildings.
  • Tau Beta Pi presents the School with a large bronze replica of their fraternity key mounted on a pedestal in front of Guggenheim Hall.
  • Fall 1941 enrollment is reported as 711, similar to 1940's enrollment.
  • Ethel Ward-McLemore, who was invited by Professor Heiland to study under him, is the first woman in the geophysics program at Mines.
  • Electric lamps replace carbide lamps in student caps at the Experimental Mine.

1942 -- 

  • With the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, 2 Japanese-American Mines graduates of Mines enlisted and trained at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, home of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Battalion.
  • Mines begins its Accelerated Program for engineering student training, instituting a 3-term year that eliminates holidays and summer break.
  • An unsanctioned Senior Day takes place, and those seniors who participated are banned from Commencement exercises.
  • About 500 alumni are serving in the military, in almost all branches; alumni are also in the RAF, British Army, and Royal Canadian Navy. Hundreds more work in key war industries.
  • Over 70 graduates and former students are thought to be in the Philippine Islands, which are now under Japanese control.

1943 -- 

  • An Army Specialized Training Program for enlisted men, an intensive program to teach practical engineering skills, is established at Mines by the War Department.
  • By Fall, over 500 enlisted men arrive on campus, making them the majority student population. The School converts part of Berthoud Hall into a mess hall and builds another mess hall in the Field House. The fraternity houses and the Armory become barracks; pre-fab living quarters are set up in the baseball field.
  • Twenty-three women are enrolled in a School defense course in engineering drawing.
  • A service flag bearing some 1,500 stars representing alumni and former students in the armed forces, including those killed in action, is presented to the School.
  • A transmitter is installed to send out bugle calls to the soldiers quartered around campus.
  • Social clubs and fraternities struggle to keep active; traditions and "agitation" (hazing) get fewer participants, impacted by the emphasis on the war effort and changes in student culture.
  • Coca-cola and other "pops" are now available to civilians at the Integral Club as rationing restrictions are loosened.

1944 -- 

  • The GI Bill (Service Men's Readjustment Act) is passed. 
  • The Oredigger newspaper suspends publication as it loses most of its staff due to the new draft quota.
  • The Mines Band is composed of 6 civilians and 21 ASTU military men.
  • The first color images are published in Mines Magazine--photographs of ultra-violet fluorescence in mineral specimens.

1945 -- 

  • The School resumes its regular 2-term (Fall and Spring) classes.
  • Faculty are revising the curriculum to include new scientific development for the post-war students, including classes in aerial geology, geophysics, and new technologies. "There has never been a time in history when all industry, even our modern civilization itself, has been so dependent on any class as it now is on the engineer."
  • The Alumni Association celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

1946 -- 

  • Ben Hutchinson Parker is appointed President. He is the first alumnus to hold this position.
  • September enrollment breaks all records, with 935 registered students and the largest freshman class in the School's history. Over 80% of those enrolled are veterans, many of them married, some with children.
  • Housing (remember, Mines has no dormitories or food services) --
    • Prospector Park is established with former army barracks and other donated buildings.
    • Mines Park expands with additional apartment buildings for married students.
    • Small trailers are set up inside the Field House for married students; privately-owned trailers are parked near the building.
    • 100 beds (Army surplus) are acquired to convert the Armory into a dormitory.
  • The Veterans Association of the Colorado School of Mines is formed.
  • The Petroleum Engineering Department is reorganized into the Departments of Petroleum Production Engineering and Petroleum Refining Engineering.
  • The Intensive Course for English for Foreign Engineering Students is established for the already-enrolled foreign students. (No new foreign students were accepted to Mines in 1946.)
  • The US Bureau of Mines Research Station on campus works with the CSM Experimental Plant on uranium ores from southwest Colorado.
  • The Student Council and others make attempts to re-establish School traditions, some of which find favor -- for example, the freshman cap, learning "The Mining Engineer" and cleaning the 'M'. However, the new student demographics make traditional agitation a difficult proposition. (One such protest involved tear gas.)
  • A Homecoming Queen is chosen for the first time. (Contestants are from Colorado Woman's College.)
  • The Oredigger newspaper warns against "insidious, burrowing groups of fascist and communist hue" infiltrating organizations.

1947 -- 

  • The President's House is established when the School purchases the former Sigma Nu fraternity house.
  • Tuition for 1947 rises to $100 (Colorado residents) and $212 (non-residents) per semester.
  • Prospector Park now has about 80 units, mostly military barracks and CCC buildings for veterans.
  • The 13th Engineer's Day is held. It includes technical sessions and exhibits, a competitive scholarship exam for high school seniors, drilling contests, and a dance.
  • Rangely Field geology and petroleum field camp is set up at the Rangely oil field.
  • The swimming pool is opened to the wives and children of students after negotiations and months of preparation.
  • A Homecoming Queen is crowned; the contestants are students' wives.

1948 -- 

  • Guffie E. Menogan is reportedly the first African American student enrolled at Mines.
  • The Central Heating Plant is constructed on the corner of 14th and Arapahoe St. It replaces the old power house on Illinois and 14th St.
  • Mines and the CSM Research Institute contract with the US Army to participate in the Underground Explosion Test Project [nuclear explosions].
  • Molly, a little black burro, is the new School mascot.

1949 -- 

  • Mines celebrates its 75th Anniversary.
  • Jacquelyn Borthick, Pet.Ref.E. 1949, is the fourth woman to graduate from the School of Mines.
  • The Frederick C. Steinhauer Field House is dedicated. (The building was constructed in 1937.)
  • The Colorado School of Mines Research Foundation (later called the CSM Research Institute or CSMRI) is founded as a non-profit provider of research services on the nation's mineral resources.
  • The student body petitions Bob Hope to select their Homecoming Queen. He does.
  • An informal International House is established at the home of Professor Robert Carpenter and wife Dorothy. The Carpenters operated their home as such for the next 30 years.