University Traditions

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.

New freshmen enjoy weeklong festivities during Welcome Days events. The Ballet Folklorico share their cultural heritage with Mexican folk dancing. Hilltoppers express their musical talents throughout the school year. HillRaisers show their Hilltopper pride and fire up school spirit at athletic events. At Orientation, students learn about their new home - and a few good ghost stories. Students mingle with alumni, faculty and staff during Homecoming and Family Weekend. Students walk around - never across - the university's seal, symbol of our Holy Cross, Catholic heritage. The Festival of Lights welcomes Advent with a night of candlelit prayer, readings and songs. Hillfest brings students together for a night of food, fun and community. The St. Edward's mariachi band adds life to cultural events. Day or night, the St. Edward's campus is always active with music, plays, festivals and more. Families get a taste of life at St. Edward's during Homecoming and Family Weekend. In December, students celebrate Las Posadas, commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph. Students-athletes lend a hand during move-in, then break for barbecue with the rest of the community. Each year, freshmen are welcomed into our Holy Cross community during the Medallion Ceremony.

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.

Hillfest

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.

Founders Week

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.

Legacy Walk

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.

Midnight Madness

Usher in the basketball season with contests, prizes and the first practices of the men's and women's basketball teams.

Waffleopolis

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.

Midnight Breakfast

Students kickoff finals week each fall and spring term with a midnight breakfast, games, music and crafts.

Hilltop Concerts

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.

Cultural Celebrations

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
  • Ramadan
  • Hanukkah
  • 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.