President’s Corner

by | Apr 10, 2017 | Inside Mines, Spring 2017

Spring at Mines has its own unique rhythm and feel. There is the unpredictable weather in Golden, many distractions from one’s studies (ski slopes, spring break, etc.) and the end of the school year is in sight. The seniors have already calculated the grades they need to graduate—and some are modulating their efforts accordingly. Alumni have told me humorous stories about how they intentionally squeaked by in some classes as seniors, taking great pride in knowing that it frustrated the faculty. I hope someday we can create a “Stories from Mines” archive to capture these and other unique alumni stories.

If you ask any student what they look forward to most during the spring semester, the answer is likely to be about E-Days. It is clearly one of our most beloved traditions, as evidenced by the number of concurrent satellite activities organized by the Mines Alumni Association M Clubs. Dating back to 1927, E-Days is the ultimate celebration of Mines for Mines, with events reflecting our heritage and pride and the opportunity for our hard-working students to blow off some steam. The amount of effort our student-led Mines Activity Council (MAC) puts into planning and producing E-Days is amazing—also reflecting how important this tradition is to students today. My favorite activities are the fireworks (especially the hydrogen flares), concerts and the ore-cart pull. Friends look at me funny when I tell them that about 1,000 students get up at 7 a.m. on an excused day from classes and pull an ore-cart seven miles down Colfax Avenue, all for a breakfast burrito at the start and ice cream sandwiches at the end. Only at Mines…

During the second half of the school year, Elyse and I also enjoy seeing our spring sports teams in action. The Orediggers have become a dominant force in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and the honors have been piling up this year; so far there have been six RMAC team championships, five NCAA Championship appearances, four Academic All-Americans, seven All-Americans, four RMAC Players of the Year, one National Player of the Year and our first-ever trip to the Elite Eight. Pretty good for a bunch of scientists and engineers carrying heavy course loads! We were very proud when Justin Dvorak ’16 was named the Harlan Hill Trophy winner—just about an hour after he crossed the stage at the fall graduation ceremony. See page 8 for more on Justin, and visit to keep up with the accomplishments of all our teams and student athletes.

I hope you have a great spring wherever you are and that you join us to show your Mines pride at an event on campus this spring or at an M Club event in a city near you. As always, I welcome your ideas for advancing Mines; please contact me anytime.

Go Orediggers!

Paul C. Johnson, PhD
President and Professor