From the Archives: CMEU

December 17, 1963, two Letters To The Editor were published in The Oredigger concerning the renaming of Colorado School of Mines to Colorado Mineral Engineering University. These were in response to an idea brought to attention by Dr. Childs in The Mines Magazine. The main purpose of this proposition was to see the school fulfill the status of a university and provide it with more structure by dividing the university into multiple institutes for various subjects. Colorado School of Mines was the proposed name for an undergraduate school of mining, metallurgy, and petroleum engineering, so the name would not be completely lost. Along with this, we’re an Institute of Earth Sciences for geology and related subjects, Institute of Engineering Sciences whose name speaks for itself, and for a status of Basic Engineering and Humanities to be determined.

Although Dr. Childs acknowledged that this change would be difficult to accept, many traditions could remain such as the iconic “M.”
As we all hopefully know, Colorado School of Mines did not change its name. But, let’s still talk about this idea. Despite a liking for the school becoming a university of multiple institutes, I do not agree with the school becoming one and changing its name. This is because my strongest argument for this transition is that the concept of universities is cool, primarily inspired by an ideal of how colleges are represented in movies. While coolness may seem like a good enough reason to change the entire structure of a well-established school, it probably is not very logical. On a more serious note, it would be interesting to see Colorado School of Mines with distinguished separations between various areas of study, possibly allowing for more emphasis on less popular subjects. However, this would likely make it difficult to work with multiple, very different topics, which the school currently provides as a result of less separation between studies.

This proposition did receive resistance at the time as represented in the published letters by David A. Henley and Peter Rohde. Henley discusses how changing the school’s name will cause its reputation to be lost and the benefits seem pointless to themself and many other students. On a similar note, Rohde explains that the school would still be known as its original name and therefore a change is just confusing. I also agree with this because Mines has set a reputation with its name and I cannot see it being known as anything else. Remember when Dunkin’ Donuts changed its brand to Dunkin’? Yeah, neither do I. Although Colorado School of Mines could change its name, to most businesses and people, it would not change, so why do it?

Along with this, Rohde points out that renaming the school as Colorado Mineral Engineering University then restricts the university to mineral engineering, which contradicts the actual idea of a university. But, the proposed setup of the university also contradicts this, creating an inception of contradictions in which I am also confused. Overall, the idea of naming the school a university-specific to one area whilst dividing that university into multiple institutes of study does not make sense. While I understand and agree with Rohde, I find their assessment of the specific nature of the proposed name interesting. This is because I, like many others, had believed at some point that Colorado School of Mines was strictly a school for mining. Now, I understand that the school teaches many other subjects not dealing with mines, but I still wonder if the term “School of Mines” applies to the education that currently exists at the school. I still do not think that the Colorado School of Mines should change its name, but the consistent discussion of the idea is fascinating to investigate, so thank you, the 1963 edition of The Oredigger, for bringing it to our attention.

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