Tech students and other participants take a well-deserved break after delivering sacks of marble dust used to refresh the ‘M’ on Socorro Peak. The Paint the M event on Friday is part of Tech’s 49ers weekend.
John Larson | El Defensor Chieftain


Socorro loves its parades, and this weekend New Mexico Tech students get their turn again by hosting the 49ers Parade as part of the annual 49ers Celebration and Alumni Homecoming.

After a one-year COVID-caused hiatus, 49ers Weekend returns to celebrate the 132nd anniversary of the founding of the School of Mines in 1889. The annual 49ers Celebration – New Mexico Tech’s homecoming – features a weekend full of fun activities on campus and around town today through Sunday.

According to organizers, 49ers Weekend is a School of Mines tradition in Socorro going back to at least the late 1930s.

Besides the parade down California Street and Elfego Baca Golf Shoot on Saturday, there are several other activities open for the general public.

For the industrious – and physically fit – the ‘M’ Mountain Run to “Paint the M” is Friday morning. It’s time once again to spruce up one of the iconic symbols of not only New Mexico Tech but the Socorro landscape, the ‘M’ on Socorro Peak, a tradition that started more than 100 years ago. Techies first surveyed the peak and laid out the ‘M’ in 1911. In those early years, freshmen were required to carry equipment up the mountain, while upperclassmen took the remainder of the equipment up the mountain with mules.

Participants are to meet in the parking lot between the golf course and Facilities Management at 7 a.m. Registration must be done online.

The first 50 students to reach the M with a bag of marble dust will get cash prizes and all participants will be treated to lunch at the top of the mountain. The hike is about 2.5 miles and has a rise of 1,700 feet over rugged terrain.

“Painting the ‘M’ is much like going to school at Tech – it’s difficult but worth the effort. Every student should experience this at least once during their career here,” says Van Romero, Vice President of Research and a graduate of New Mexico Tech. “It’s a great tradition.”

Anyone 18 and older, including the general public, may take part in the run, but to qualify for a prize, the participant must be enrolled as a New Mexico Tech student in good standing.

The five-day celebration focuses on activities primarily for returning alumni and current students, but there are a few events open to the public. Homecoming activities began on Wednesday and will wrap up Sunday.

Highlights include:


7:30 a.m. – 5th Annual Inventors & Entrepreneurs Workshop in Macey Center

8 p.m. – Capitol Bar alumni gathering


7 a.m. – Paint the M. Meet at the parking lot at Facilities Management. Online registration only.

10 a.m. – 49ers Gold Rush Golf Scramble at the golf course

3:30 p.m. – Miner’s Rugby Women’s Game. NMT Athletic Field

4 p.m. – Miner’s Rugby Game. NMT Athletic Field

6:30 p.m. – Alumni Reception & Alumni Awards

8 p.m. – Alumni Gathering with live music at the Capitol Bar


6 a.m. – Elfego Baca Golf Shoot. NMT Golf Course

11 a.m. – 49ers Parade down California Street

Noon – 49ers Parade Awards featuring belly dancers at the Plaza

2 p.m. – Annual Soccer Game. NMT Athletic Field

6 p.m. – 25th & 50th Class Reunion Dinner. Behind the President’s Residence

8 p.m. –  Alumni Gathering with live music at the Capitol Bar


10:30 a.m. – Farewell Brunch featuring green chile cheese fries and a Bloody Mary bar. Behind the President’s Residence.