When you become a Hilltopper, you become part of a tradition that connects you to your fellow students, alumni, and Austin community. Here’s a preview of some of our much-loved campus traditions that will shape your St. Edward’s experience.

Find your place at Anchors.

Incoming freshmen take part in Anchors, a weekend of special activities just for them, including a block party, welcome barbecue and Mass of welcome. Anchors weekend immerses you in campus life. You’ll meet upperclassmen leaders, bond with classmates, and learn about community traditions and expectations.

Goat at Anchors
Students at pep rally

Make it official with the Medallion Ceremony.

An important tradition during Anchors weekend 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.

Student receives medallion at ceremony
A student receives his medallion

Step into your future through the red doors.

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.

Students walk in through the Red Doors in Main Building
Students walk in through the Red Doors in Main Building

Kick-off your year with Welcome Days.

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 wellness activities. Welcome Days spans the first two weeks of classes and culminates in Hillfest, a party featuring food trucks, carnival rides and a host of fun festivities.

Families have fun at Hillfest
Students have fun on carnival rides at Hillfest

No football? No problem.

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.

Campus Traditions - Battle of the Saints
Volleyball game

Join annual celebrations.

Every October, Founders Day honors the Congregation of Holy Cross with a day off, followed by a service project. Shortly after, Homecoming kicks off which includes the crowning of Homecoming royalty, campus parade, and the Topper Cup Competition, in which teams compete in events like dodgeball and a cardboard boat regatta. The weekend completes with Casino Night, tailgating and athletic events, and a Sunday Mass and brunch. In December, the Festival of Lights illuminates Main Building and includes holiday reflections, music and candle-lighting. In April, we say thank you to our Austin community with The BIG Event, the university’s biggest annual day of service, and welcome our students’ family and friends at Family Weekend.

Campus Traditions - Festival of Lights
Festival of Lights

Wear a ring that’s rooted in tradition.

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.

Sorin Oak
Rooting of the ring

P.S. Don't forget these rites of passage!

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.

Father Foik

By Robyn Ross