Apr. 11, 2016

Main Building

Public support for repairs to historic Main Building at St. Edward’s University has culminated with a $500,000 grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Mabee Foundation’s grant required that St. Edward’s secure $1.2 million by April 15, 2016.

This firm deadline, coupled with the building’s prominence, provoked an outpouring of philanthropic support from the entire Hilltopper community. Main Building is an icon on the hilltop campus and along the south Austin skyline.

More than 330 donors gave $1.7 million during the Mabee Challenge. The university also raised funds before the challenge grant, bringing total external funds for the building to almost $3.5 million.

Main Building is a registered Texas Landmark and National Historic Site. It was completed in 1888 and has undergone reconstruction in 1903 (after a fire), in 1922 (after a tornado), and renovation in the mid-1980s to address structural needs.

With the Mabee Foundation’s gift, the university may now address critical needs beyond regular maintenance, including:

  • Repair or replacement of more than 300 windows
  • Repair or replacement of the red tiled roof
  • Extensive interior repairs
  • Restoration of its limestone and brick façade

The university has already replaced an outdated HVAC system and updated its central tower.

The Main Building project is part of the final phase of the university’s current Campus Master Plan to strategically grow and improve capital resources for students.

Mabee Investment in St. Edward’s Students Reaches $5M

Hilltoppers across all disciplines recognize the Mabee Foundation’s generosity.

In 1992, their quarter-million dollar grant supported a pedestrian mall on campus. In 1996, a $1.25 million grant helped centralize student and campus life within The Robert and Pearle Ragsdale Center.

In 2005 and 2012, technology and classroom space multiplied with their $3 million grant to complete the two buildings that comprise the John Brooks Williams Natural Sciences Center.

The Foundation’s grants have been contingent on terms of specific “giving challenges,” designed to encourage support from a wider audience and strategically expand the network of friends who support students.

Other foundations and corporations donating to the project include: The Fondren Foundation ($800,000), Frost Bank ($500,000), the Cullen Trust for Higher Education ($250,000), the Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston ($200,000), the Burdine Johnson Foundation ($50,000), the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation ($50,000), University Federal Credit Union ($43,250), the McBee Family Foundation ($25,000), the Argyle Foundation ($10,000), the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation ($8,000), the Summerfield G. Roberts Foundation ($5,000), the Summerlee Foundation ($5,000), Texas Gas Service, a division of ONE Gas ($5,000), and the Texas Historical Foundation ($5,000).