While senior pranks are a well-known tradition in high school, senior pranks happened here at Mines as well. And Mines students have had their own share of interesting traditions, mostly stories passed down of defending the “M” from rival schools. In 1981 there was an event called “Senior Days” considering the high-spirited behavior and events that took place during the Spring Semester at this time. During these Senior Days, many shenanigans took place, including: filling the Physics Department main office with balloons, erecting the Geology field camp tent inside a Berthoud classroom, parking cars in interesting places, as well as re-arranging many classrooms around campus (or arranging them outside!). Along with these, the most notable prank of all was the addition of Mickey Mouse ears on the bell tower of Guggenheim.
The ears were constructed from the ground, and designed from garbage bags. It was made to wrap around the dome to complete the hat, creating the classic look of a Disney Parks Ear hat. Students then climbed the tower and installed the ears, which was not an easy feat. It made an interesting addition to the golden dome that had once stood bare, a clever prank that shows just what a group of engineers can do when they put their mind to it.
Other interesting events that happened during these Senior Days included whitewashing the “M”. During this, the seniors experienced the whitewash, which was in accordance with tradition at the time. After which they all came down from the climb crammed into a long flatbed truck and proceeded to celebrate their upcoming graduation from Mines.
Events like this from the past can put a unique perspective on our future. Traditions will change and evolve over time, and so will the types of pranks that students pull. Like the folding table and chair stacks – which reach sometimes concerning heights – that appear overnight in the pedestrian plaza occasionally. Nonetheless, it must have been an interesting sight to see, Guggenheim adorned with a new set of ears. Mines students don’t need to wonder how it was done: after all, we are helluva engineers.
Articles about these events were published in the Mines Magazine (1990), and the Prospector (1981). These articles are part of the Arthur Lakes Library database, along with countless other documents from the past. If you’re interested in learning more about past events at Mines, it can be a valuable resource to explore.