2020 marked the ninth time my amazingly talented design students from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and I have sold posters at the downtown El Paso arts festival, Chalk the Block. As my poster states, UTEP is a very special place. I have taught graphic design in the Department of Art there since the Fall of 2004. Since that time, I have come to love its students and its beautiful campus.
The text at the bottom of this poster reads:
"Officially opening in 1914 as the State School of Mines and Metallurgy, today The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has an enrollment of over 25,000 students, is a comprehensive doctoral research institution and is home to the Sun Bowl stadium, which hosts the annual college football competition of the same name every winter. The beautiful campus honors its Chihuahuan Desert setting with striking waterwise landscaping. It sits on hillsides overlooking the Rio Grande and Ciudad Juárez across the United States–Mexico border. UTEP is one of the few places in the world outside of Bhutan or Tibet to have buildings created with the Dzong architectural style. This includes the Lhakhang, or temple structure, that sits proudly on Centennial Plaza—GO MINERS!"
However, what I value above all else is what the University represents—namely, opportunity. Many of my students are the first in their families to attend college. Many of them work while attending school to afford their tuition, and many of them do not have the tradition of university-educated mentors to guide the choices they may be confronted with during their own university experience. As such, I may serve them in this way. This affords me the privilege to make real and personal connections with my students in an intimate art studio classroom setting. My greatest hope I can have as a professor is to model for them an awareness of the possibilities of a life richly engaged in art and graphic design. UTEP is the place that makes this all possible—GO MINERS!