16 Favorite Hilltop Traditions
Fun and meaningful ways we celebrate the St. Edward’s experience
When you become a Hilltopper, you become part of a tradition that connects you to your fellow students and to those who’ve come before you. Here’s a preview of some of our much-loved campus traditions that will shape your St. Edward’s experience.
Every semester begins with Welcome Days, a lineup of events designed to help you meet friends and find your niche in your new home. Connect with clubs, volunteer opportunities, part-time jobs and fitness activities. In the fall, Welcome Days begins on move-in weekend with a block party, welcome barbecue and Mass of welcome and culminates in Hillfest, a party featuring food trucks and fireworks.
An important tradition in fall Welcome Days is the Medallion Ceremony. All new students attend this academic convocation and receive a medallion, bearing the university seal, from a professor. You’re encouraged to wear the medallion to other important events like the university ring ceremony and commencement.
After the Medallion Ceremony, you’ll proceed with your class in the Legacy Walk to the front of Main Building. Walk through the iconic red doors and into the heart of campus, marking your entrance into the St. Edward’s community. At the end of your senior year, you’ll make this journey in reverse at the Hilltop Sendoff. Seniors walk through Main Building, out the red doors, and onto the front lawn for a champagne toast to their hard work.
Between the Legacy Walk and Hilltop Sendoff, you’ll refrain from entering and exiting through the red doors of Main Building. Out of respect for our founders, students also walk around — not over — the university seal on the ground outside Holy Cross Hall. Need good luck on a test? Visit Father Foik, a former university librarian, professor and dean immortalized in a bronze plaque outside the Munday Library. Legend says fortune smiles on those who rub his nose, the one shiny spot on the otherwise weather-worn plaque.
St. Edward’s competes in 11 other varsity sports and maintains a friendly rivalry with St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. The Battle of the Saints pits the two schools against one another for the entire year, awarding points for a win in each sport. At the end of the year the school with the higher tally wins the battle.
Every October, Founders Day honors the Congregation of Holy Cross with a day off, followed by a service project. In December, the Festival of Lights illuminates Main Building and includes holiday reflections, music and candle-lighting. Take a break from your studies during finals week for Midnight Breakfast. In the spring, Student Homecoming Week includes the crowning of Homecoming royalty and the Topper Cup Competition, in which teams compete in events like dodgeball and a cardboard boat regatta. It’s followed by Homecoming and Family Weekend, complete with Casino Night, tailgating and athletic events, and a Sunday Mass and brunch. In April, give back to the Austin community in The BIG Event, the university’s biggest annual day of service.
Upperclassmen can order the official University Ring, which features the university seal and images of Main Building and Sorin Oak. At the ring ceremony, the rings are blessed and everyone puts them on for the first time together. Then the group processes to Sorin Oak for the Rooting of the Ring: each student walks up to the tree and taps his or her ring to it, to symbolize being rooted in the university and its values.
By Robyn Ross