Lynn Clark

Colorado School of Mines, mining industry celebrate 150 years of synergy

Mining Engineering Department has big goals for the next 5-10 years to set the tone for next 150 years
Historic photo of Mines student circa 1900

MIning engineering education has evolved greatly in the years since this historical photo of Colorado School of Mines students was taken, circa 1900.

For 150 years, the mining industry has turned to Colorado School of Mines, the world’s No. 1 mining engineering program, for technically well-prepared and gritty engineers who are known for learning by doing.

“Historically, there has been a great deal of emphasis placed upon the fact that the Mines graduate ‘hits the ground running',” said former mining engineering department head Dr. Thys Johnson back in 1980. “We have to ask what are the trends in mining and how can the school and the department best satisfy these trends?”

Mining education leaders have asked these questions since Mines was founded in 1874 to support mining industry needs during the Silver Rush—adjusting curriculum and adding programs as those needs changed over time.

Industry and mining engineering alumni have supported Mines to help ensure the department has the resources to deliver graduates who solve current and future problems. Over the years, they’ve built connections with students and faculty through funding research, facilities and equipment, as well as supporting scholarships and department initiatives—for example, a recent $1 million gift from Freeport-McMoRan Foundation’s to help improve facilities at the Edgar Mine.

Bill Zisch, J. Steven Whisler Head of Mining Engineering

They have also enriched the Mines signature student experience by giving talks at the Mining Seminar Series and sponsoring student groups and competitions.

“Industry knows that the Mines students they hire are serious about a career in mining,” said Bill Zisch ‘79, the new J. Steven Whisler Head of Mining Engineering. “They graduate able to become leaders.”

Read more about the Mining Engineering Department's past, present and future on the Campaign for MINES@150 website.

Lynn Clark headshot

Lynn Clark

Advancement Communications Writer, Colorado School of Mines Foundation
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.