Tuesday, October 1, 2013

UTEP Update: Centennial Countdown Begins

Welcome Center Now Open

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) began its 100-day Centennial Countdown last week with the unveiling of a large LED screen donated by GECU. The countdown clock will be displayed on the screen, which is fashioned into a Bhutanese style tower in front of the Centennial Museum.
The Centennial Countdown clock is located in front of the Centennial Museum. Confetti showers down on spectators during the September 23 unveiling. (centennial.utep.edu)

The countdown began amid fanfare, music, dancing, and speeches at the formal unveiling where UTEP officials celebrated the school’s past, present, and future.

“We’ve achieved much over the past 99 years and we have even bigger aspirations for the future,” stated UTEP President Diana Natalicio, adding, “We take great pride in the achievements of our alumni and share out students’ dreams for a bright future.”

Limited edition Centennial wines are available
now, created by Miner Winery of Napa Valley.
A new Centennial Welcome Center has been added to the museum, the official headquarters for the Centennial Celebration. It will feature exhibits on the school’s history, photographs showing the campus throughout the years, and a children’s learning area.

A gift shop has also been added and will feature limited edition Centennial Wines in white and red varieties. The wines come from the Miner Winery in Napa Valley, California. A Centenario Salsa line will also be available and was created by Desert Pepper Trading Company.

Other available Centennial collectibles include t-shirts, ties, and a coaster set with six different “mandala” designs inspired by medallions on campus buildings. Visitors to the Welcome Center may park in the Sun Bowl Parking Garage in designated areas.

Opera Bhutan

UTEP officials plan a myriad of activities and announcements during the 100 days leading up to the final countdown day on New Year’s Eve, December 31. A Centennial Blog has been created (transformations.utep.edu) which will include information on events and activities during the celebration.

Up next for the school is homecoming week, which started September 29. And on October 12, UTEP singers and musicians will perform an opera in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Opera Bhutan, as it is called, is a production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea which will incorporate Bhutanese dance and cultural elements.

It will be the first opera to ever be performed in the tiny Himalayan country. Thirty-three UTEP students, faculty, and staff are already in the Kingdom of Bhutan for a three-week visit which will include the performance.

The history of UTEP and Bhutan’s relationship goes back nearly 100 years when the school used Bhutanese-influenced design in its first building. In 2008, Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck of the Kingdom of Bhutan was a guest at UTEP during Bhutan Days at the campus.

Campus Transformation

Construction on UTEP’s Campus Transformation project is also ongoing, and the school has installed cameras at different locations around the future Centennial Plaza site which show a live feed of crews at work.

The large plaza area is part of UTEP’s plan to move automobile traffic out of the center of campus. Several Transformation projects will eventually create large pedestrian-friendly environments in and around the center of the school.

Centennial Plaza should be complete in August 2014, in time to host the western debut of Opera Bhutan. Information on UTEP’s Centennial Celebration can be found online at centennial.utep.edu.