St. Edward's University Traditions
RUB A PRIEST'S NOSE?
Looking for any edge in passing that mid-term or completing a final paper? It's become tradition for students to rub the nose of a plaque honoring former university librarian Father Paul J. Foik, CSC, set just outside the entrance of Munday Library. Foik was far more than a bookworm. During the height of anti-Catholic bigotry in the mid-1920s, Foik mobilized a number of diocesan leaders across Texas to stand up to forces such as the Ku Klux Klan.
In the years since its founding in 1885, St. Edward's has become one of America's most diverse liberal arts institutions. We come together regularly to celebrate that diversity, always making room for new faces and ideas.
The New York Times included St. Edward's as one of only two private universities in Texas to make its "Colleges of Many Colors" list. Hispanic Magazine named us "One of the Best Schools for Hispanic Students."
Our identity, character and spirit of optimism are demonstrated in campus rituals and celebrations that reflect the welcoming spirit and generosity that defines Holy Cross values and education around the world.
We remain Catholic at our core, yet open to and enriched by a diversity of faiths and points of view. Each year, our community joins together for the annual Iftar dinner to end the fast and close Ramadan, the Seder feast to begin the Passover holiday, and Noah's Pudding to celebrate the common heritage of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Traditions at St. Edward's
Hilltopper Welcome Days and Medallion Ceremony
Incoming freshmen enjoy a menu of special events, ranging from welcome barbecues to an evening social, soccer games and the Medallion Ceremony hosted by St. Edward's University President George E. Martin. During the ceremony, students receive a university medallion as a symbol of their induction into the freshman class and gain a greater understanding of the university's Holy Cross tradition.
Holy Cross Plaza
Visitors to campus learn to observe our tradition of walking around the university seal — never across — as a daily, quiet tribute to our founders and their many sacrifices.
Each fall, we launch the new school year with an outdoor celebration complete with live music, food, activities and fireworks that light the Austin skyline.
The campus community marks Founders Week each October with celebrations of French history, culture and food, along with a special mass and a service project.
The Legacy Walk has two parts: after the Medallion Ceremony, new freshmen are welcomed to campus as they enter through the famed red doors of Main Building; after the Baccalaureate Mass, graduating seniors exit through the red doors, symbolizing their departure from the hilltop into the rest of their lives.
Festival of Lights
In keeping with our Holy Cross tradition, we welcome Advent with a candlelit reflection of prayer, readings and songs that attracts both the university and Austin communities, and culminates with the brilliant illumination of Main Building.
Homecoming and Family Weekend
This fun-filled, eventful week includes friendly student competitions, a Casino Night for students and the announcement of Mr. and Ms. St. Edward's University. Then, students, parents and alumni gather for a tailgate party, basketball double header and other festivities to close out the weekend.
Usher in the basketball season with contests, prizes and the first practices of the men's and women's basketball teams.
Celebrate the beginning of the semester with waffles, ice cream and good friends! Part of Hilltopper Welcome Days, this event is a favorite among students.
Students kickoff finals week each fall and spring term with a midnight breakfast, games, music and crafts.
Each spring and fall, students enjoy a free outdoor concert on campus. Notable musicians from Austin’s renowned and hip music scene such as Bob Schneider and Ben Kweller, electrify the hilltop.
End of Year Party
With the end of final exams, it’s time to celebrate the close of the academic year with live music, games, fun activities, and of course, plenty of food.
In addition to longstanding traditions, St. Edward’s celebrates a variety of cultural happenings to honor and support the diversity of our campus community, including:
- Diez y Seis de Septiembre
- Soul Food Sunday
- Las Posadas
- Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Multicultural Awareness Conference (MAC Lead)
Special celebrations and events occur during Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month and the annual International Education Week.