St. Edward’s University is a Catholic university that accepts qualified students of all backgrounds, ages, and beliefs. The university offers several undergraduate programs that help graduates be more competent in their chosen discipline. Since its founding, the university aims to give quality education to those who want to see their full potential. In this article, we are going to learn more about the history of St. Edward’s University, the only Catholic university in Austin, Texas.
St. Edward’s University was founded by the Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Reverend Edward Sorin, CSC. He is also the one who founded the University of Notre Dame, located in South Bend, Indiana. Reverend Edward Sorin decided to establish St. Edward’s University on farmland located south of Austin back in 1877; he also named it St. Edward’s Academy as a nod to his patron saint, Edward the Confessor and King.
In 1885, Rev. P.J. Franciscus, the president of the institution, helped strengthen the academy’s prestige by changing its name to St. Edward’s College, securing a charter, increasing the enrollment limit, and assembling a faculty. These changes helped St. Edward grow; it also established its first school newspaper and its own baseball and football teams.
A fire destroyed most of the institution’s main building in 1903, but it was later rebuilt by the fall of that same year. Nineteen years later, the same building sustained damage from a tornado, which also caused significant damage all over St. Edward’s campus. In 1925, St. Edward’s got its university charter, and during that time, most of its personnel were Holy Cross brothers and priests. In 1966, St. Edward’s started accepting female students for Maryhill College, which is a coordinate institution. By 1970, St. Edward’s absorbed Maryhill, and the school became co-educational. In 1973, the Main Building of St. Edward’s was registered at the National Register of Historic Places.
During the fall of 1999, George E. Martin, Ph.D., became St. Edward’s 23rd president. He was also the one who oversaw the university’s period of expansion. During this time, the undergraduate enrollment of the university almost doubled; that is why they had to increase the size of the faculty and new academic programs. The university also formed local and global partnerships so that they can offer a lot of opportunities for their students.
Later on, the university launched a campus master plan that included a $150 million development fund for new and renovated facilities. Aside from that, the university also launched a 10-year fundraising initiative in 2007 wherein they could draw about $84 million in support of the university’s mission.
Since then, the university’s international recruitment and courses grew. Aside from this, the number of educational partnerships with international universities also tripled. The university started fundraising during this time, which added another $64 million to the university; they also received a whopping $95 million donation for scholarships and student support.
From 2015 to 2017, St. Edward’s University decided to focus on preparing its students for the demands of economic, technological, and cultural changes. They also strengthen partnerships with Austin’s business community as well as with other colleges so that they can expand avenues and offer real-world learning, degree, and research programs.