Nearing the Sesquicentennial

The Master Plan is a living document that allows meaningful expansion which retains Mines’ state as a leading environmental resource-focused research institution. As recently publicized, CSM will break ground on the Subsurface Frontiers building converging USGS scientists and Mines faculty and Staff preserving and continuing decades of collaboration between the organizations. In this way, our buildings are more brick, flagstone, concrete, and glass structures, they are microcosms of our shared Mines culture and community, incarnates of our past, and honors of the giants whose shoulders we stand on. 

What’s in a name? That which we call an engineering school

By any other name would be just as challenging.”

Colorado School of Mines has not always been CSM. The school was initially known as the Territorial School of Mines (1874) before becoming the first publicly supported institution of higher education in Colorado (uniquely separate from a state university with its __ Board of Trustees) gaining the name State School of Mines. In 1902, the word ‘state’ was dropped. In 1937, the Colorado Senate passed a bill changing the name of the School of Mines to Colorado School of Mines. In 1950, the CSM name change was officially reflected on the years’ three hundred silver diplomas. In the November 1963 edition of Mines Magazine, President Childs proposed to change the name of the Colorado School of Mines to the Colorado Mineral Engineering School to reflect the growth of the school to University status. Students, faculty, and alumni raised their voices in stratified agreement and opposition with some taking to The Oredigger citing, “A change in name would be more or less throwing down the drain some 80 or 85 years of tradition.” For now, we remain Colorado School of Mines but who knows what is to come in the approaching decades. 

Here’s to the Mines custom of honoring Mines students, faculty, staff, and associated engineering professionals of the past and present with namesakes, I present a brief history of the key figures our buildings (and common spaces) are named in tribute of. 

Alderson Hall (1953) was named after President Victor C. Alderson who acted as the president of Mines from 1903 to 1913 and from 1917 to 1935 establishing the first petroleum engineering curriculum at Mines. The signature 600-square-foot stained glass window near the North entrance was designed by Mike Shields and Barbara Saul as a part of the Colorado Art in Public Places program featuring glass from all over the world. 

Arthur Lakes Library (1955) was named for Arthur Lakes, a pioneer Colorado Geologist, earth scientist, and professor. He found the first brontosaurus fossils in the nearby Morrison formation and is credited with igniting the “bone wars” between O.C. Marsh of Yale and Edward Cope of New York. If you’re not familiar with this clash just ask Professor Shorey in the Geology Department, he’d be happy to enlighten you. Also, don’t forget to inquire about his “time on the Moon.”

Image courtesy of CV Shorey.

The Ben H. Parker Student Center (1964) was renamed from the College Union in honor of Ben H. Parker, a two-time graduate, trustee, and president of Mines from 1946 to 1950 who was also active in the petroleum and oil industries. An interesting note, the capital of Oklahoma now stands on land given to the state by the Parker family. 

President Ben H. Parker holds a rare first edition (circa 1556) of Agricola’s “De Re Metallica.” Image courtesy of The Denver Post.

Berthoud Hall (1940) was named in honor of Edward L. Berthoud, the first geology professor at Mines. The building was constructed as a part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal Works Progress Administration project and originally housed the campus Geology Museum featuring a collection begun by Professor Arthur Lakes. 

Brown Hall (1981) was named for and funded by George R. Brown, a 1922 mines alumni, originally housing the mining and general engineering departments. 

Chauvenet Hall (1950) is a compilation of the former Assay Building and a heating plant. Originally funded by Winfield S. Stratton, the funds were re-allocated to the construction of Stratton Hall, the building is named in honor of President Regis Chauvenet. The building is evidently home to the one and only ghost on campus.

Coolbaugh Hall (1951) boasts the name of Melville C. Coolbaugh, the longest-serving president of Mines, who led the school through the Great Depression and World War II. In addition to patenting the Coolbaugh Process for the treatment of ores, President Coolbaugh established the first department of applied geophysics in the country. 

Melville and Osie Coolbaugh in the living room of the Coolbaugh House. Images courtesy of Mines Magazine

The Green Center (1971) is named for Cecil H. and Ida Green. Cicil __was the founder of Texas Instruments and an avid supporter of the geophysics department. A  majority of the renovated, chiller pipe retrofitted, and asbestos-free building has been reopened for student use. 

Guggenheim Hall (1906) was named for Simon Guggenheim, a wealthy Denver businessman, politician, and philanthropist of the mining industry who donated $90,000 for its construction. In 1954, when the Colorado State Capitol Building’s gold dome was recovered with gold leaf, some of the leftover gold leaf was used to recover the bell tower atop the hall. Again in 1987, the dome was resurfaced with half an ounce of gold leaf for $2,450 (without inflation). According to the Colorado Cultural Resource Survey’s Architectural Inventory forum, “It is a symbol of the Colorado School of Mines’ position as a benefactor institution for such minerals-industry magnates as Simon Guggenheim.”

Guggenheim Hall circa 1953 with former Mines geology student Nancy Easley front and center. Image courtesy of Colorado School of Mines Alumni. 

Hill Hall (1956) is named after U.S. Senator and Mines’ Board of Trustees member Nathaniel P. Hill. The building is equipped with laboratories dedicated to foundry science, corrosion and hydro-/ electro-metallurgical studies and, to make the building’s extensive resume short, much more.  

Mahir Jalili Plaza (2012) was named in honor of Mahir Jalili, master alumni in chemical engineering, who provided generous funding to the construction of Marquez Hall. After graduating from Mines, he went on to earn a juris doctor from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law and lead a successful career in international law and arbitration in London. 

Kafadar Commons honors the name of Ahmed D. Kafadar, a 1943 masters alumni of Mines who served as an entrepreneurial engineer developing explosive triggers for automobile airbags. He established the Mayanna Bell Kafadar Humanities Award in 1987 to honor his late wife. 

Image courtesy of The Denver Post.  

Marquez Hall (2012; pronounced “Marcus”) was named for Timothy and Bernadette Marquez. A 1980 graduate of Mines, Timothy Marquez fought his way to success and then bestowed $10 million upon his alma mater. 

The McBride House was named in honor of Dr. Guy T. McBride, the 12th president of Mines as well as an educator, chemical engineer and off-time carpenter.  

Mines students visit with President Guy T. McBride 1973. Image courtesy of The Denver Post. 

The Starzer Welcome Center (2015) is named for Michael R. and Patricia Starzer. Both 1983 alumni of Mines, Michael received a degree in Petroleum Engineering and Patricia in Mechanical Engineering. 

Stratton Hall (1904) was named after Winfield Scott Stratton, Mines alumni who discovered the Independence Lode near Victor, O and became a mining millionaire. 

The W. Lloyd Wright Wellness Center was named in honor of Dr. W. Lloyd Wright, a practicing physician in Golden from 1946 to 1980 serving Mines until 1968. His practice was housed in the armory building north of campus until he built a clinic on 19th and Ford street. 

Volk Gymnasium (1957) was renamed for Mines student-athlete Russell Volk who earned 15 varsity letters in football, boxing, wrestling, basketball, and baseball. 

Russell Volk (left) planning a United Fund campaign 1962. Image courtesy of The Denver Post. 

Rest in peace, the original Territorial School of Mines (1871-1893), Hall of Chemistry (1880-1958), Jarvis Hall (1870-1904; partner institute just south of Golden), and Paul Meyer Hall (1963-2016). 

Jarvis Hall (center), original Territorial School of Mines (right). Image courtesy of Golden History.
Paul Meyer Hall. Image courtesy of CSM Flickr.

To delve into more sports facilities and the honorees of the residence hall namesakes, visit 

Aerial image of CMS campus 1962. Image courtesy of Arthur Lakes Library. 

Map of Golden, CO displaying CSM campus 1906. Image courtesy of CU Boulder Digital Collections.

Focusing in on Residence Halls: 

Thomas Hall (1967) was named in honor of Lester C. Thomas, a 1912 graduate of Mines who served as President of the Board of Trustees from 1949 to 1957. 

Morgan Hall (1967) is named for Dean Emeritus Jesse R. Morgan who was Dean of Faculty and Dean of Students from 1926 until 1946. 

Bradford Hall (1954) boasts the name of A. Hartwell Bradford, a Mines contributor and mining expert in the US and Mexico founding West Coast Refining Company and the Arrowhead Oil Company. 

Randall Hall (1957) was named in honor of Bishop George M. Randall who arrived in Colorado in the 1860s and quickly began planning for the construction of higher education facilities. In this way, Mines first opened under the auspices of the Episcopal Church in 1873. 

Weaver Towers (1979) is a namesake of Gaylord C. Weaver, a 1926 graduate in geological engineering. Gaylord bequeathed a significant portion of his estate to Mines in forming the Gaylord C. Weaver Endowed Scholarship culminating a successful career as a prospector.

Delving into Sports Facilities:

Jim Darden Field was named in honor of longtime Mines coach Jim Darden. The field was constructed in 1937 as a part of the Depression-era Public Works Administration construction initiative. 

Lockridge Arena (?) is named for John Lockridge, geological engineering alumni of 1952, who rose in the petroleum field eventually establishing Mountain Petroleum. Returning to Mines, John dedicated time and financial contributions to the athletics and geology departments that supported him. 

Marv Kay Stadium (2015) was constructed on the site of the historic Campbell Field (2010-2015 in honor of Harry D. Campbell; originally Brooks Field 1893-1922) as a part of the Harold M. Patricia M. Korell Athletics Center. Marv Kay grew up within the Mines culture and after earning a Mines degree in 1963 then playing for the Denver Broncos, he served Mines as head football coach and athletic director for a combined 33 years. Also, Marv was the sitting Mayor of Golden and City Council member for a combined 20 years. Another interesting note, Marvin the Miner is named after Marv. 

Steinhauer Fieldhouse (1937) is named for Frederick Steinhauser, an 1899 metallurgical engineering graduate of Mines who served as a long-time Superintendent of Parks for Denver. The bucking burros cast in the terra-cotta inspired Mines’ first logo.  

Image courtesy of Arthur Lakes Library.

Stermole Soccer Stadium (?) boasts the name of Professor Emeritus Frank and Dot Stermole since 2014. Frank began teaching economics and business at Mines in 1963 and continues to the present with his son John Stermole. The family has given generously to the athletics and recreation, chemical engineering, and economics and business departments at Mines.

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