'M' Climb starts off the new semester

Mines students kicked off the fall 2012 semester on Aug. 20 with the annual 'M' Climb, a tradition dating back to 1908. The students carried 10-pound rocks to the university's iconic mountainside 'M' on Mt. Zion before whitewashing the landmark -- and themselves.

"I'll never forget it," said Traver Hamilton, a new freshman at Mines who was covered in white paint. "I had an awesome time."

The incoming class is setting multiple records. At 1,080 students it's the largest incoming class the university has ever seen. The students are also some of the most academically prepared yet, with an average composite SAT score of 1300, average ACT score of 30 and an average high school GPA of 3.8.

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