Peter & Margaret de Wetter Center
500 West University Ave
El Paso, TX 79968-0724
(866) GO-MINERS - Toll Free
(915) 747-5502 - Fax
|Peter and Margaret de Wetter Center
This charmingly rustic building, built in 1941, was the original house of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority before it became the Administrative Annex in 1969. In 1998 the building was dedicated to Peter and Margaret de Wetter, in tribute to their generous spirit & lasting legacy.
The Peter and Margaret de Wetter Center serves as a “home away from home” for UTEP’s over 80,000 alumni, the UTEP Alumni Association, and the Alumni Relations staff. The building is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm weekdays, and for special evening and weekend alumni and university events. To visit, or for more information contact the Alumni Office.
The two-story building of whitewashed rock was designed by Mrs. Mabel Welch with a Southwestern motif, including suggestions of vigas at the top of the building and Mexican tile accents in the garden walls.
The Zeta “house” had a large room with a parquet floor, ceiling beams and a fireplace, and screen doors leading to an open back porch. Upstairs was a large formal parlor with a fireplace, a kitchen, and the porch roof served as a wooden sun deck.
During the early 1950s the porch and sun deck were enclosed during a major renovation. The porch was given glass sliding doors leading to the back garden. Upstairs there were two large rooms for entertaining, and hosting luncheons and receptions. The kitchen was extended to the rear of the building, and beneath that storage space was added.
To record their accomplishments, the Zetas had a tradition of carving their names into the house. The names of the young women who were members when the lodge was built were etched in polished colored stones that decorate the fireplace hearth. The sorority also carved the names of their graduates on the inside of the front door, and later on the beams at the east end of the room downstairs.
Margaret (Mardee) de Wetter’s name may
be found amongst the original Zetas whose
names adorne the fireplace.
The de Wetter Center is lit
annualy for the UTEP Alumni Association's Season of Lights
The wall surrounding the de
Wetter Center's patio is topped
with shards of blue glass. Some
will say it was to keep the rowdy
boys out, others to keep girls in...
When the building was acquired by the University in 1969 and the Zeta moved to a new house on Schuster Avenue, they took the door with them, and continue to use it to this day.
The building underwent minor renovations in 1974 for more efficient use as an office. The U.T. System Board of Regents and the Coordinating Board later approved a $215,000 renovation/addition project which was completed in 1984. Both the architect, Phillip Mack Caldwell, and the prime contractor, Frank Alderete, were both UTEP alumni.
As part of this renovation, the suspended ceiling was removed to expose the downstairs beams, and the parquet floor was cleaned and refinished. In the area which was once the porch, a serving area and reception room were installed for gatherings of alumni and other groups. Upstairs, the rooms were divided into offices for the Alumni Relations staff. Outside in the garden a bricked in patio and new landscaping was added.