Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains sits a little engineering university called the Colorado School of Mines (CSM, or just "Mines"). In 1873, Colorado was experiencing a gold rush, so Bishop George Randall established the college to teach methods and theories of mining. This makes CSM the oldest university dedicated to mineral engineering in the United States. The school gradually grew, adding mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering to the curriculum, but usually staying close to its mining roots. CSM has also recently added degrees in both Computer Science and (for some reason) Economics. CSM is recognized worldwide as an excellent source of chemical engineers, especially in the petroleum industry.

CSM is located in the small town of Golden, just west of Denver, CO. As this is only two miles from the Coors brewery, you have the enjoyable mixture of higher education and beer. If someone claims to be an alumni of Mines, ask whether they ever took part in "Coors Lab". The brewery has free tours with a sampling bar at the end, sadly limited to three drinks. So a popular form of entertainment was to blow off afternoon classes (Friday's were especially common), take the unadvertised "short" tour which lead from the entrance to the bar, and enjoy free drinks. The brewery also provides the school with heating, so a persistent legend is that somewhere in the maze of steam tunnels underneath the campus is a magical connection that would allow students access to the fount of malt, hops and "Pure Rocky Mountain spring water".

Another cool landmark at CSM is its "M"-blem. Behind the school on Mt. Zion is a large letter "M" composed of thousands of white rocks. It was created in 1908, after a student determined the dimensions as a geometry problem. This makes it the second oldest university mountainside monument (behind the "U" of Brigham Young University in Utah). It is situated in such a way that the letter looks fairly undistorted from any angle vertical, and a large horizontal angle. Every fall, incoming freshmen haul a ten pound rock up the mountain to add to the "M", and then touch up the color by flinging whitewash around. Since a new student commonly gets between the spray of paint and the rocks, this makes freshmen recognizable for the rest of the day. In the spring, graduating seniors do the same, taking a rock back to remember the pain and suffering of their 4+ years at CSM.

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