A Homecoming story: St. Edward’s becomes home for many generations of one family

Megan Flannery

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St. Edward’s has changed my life.

When I say that I literally would not be here were it not for SEU, I’m not exaggerating (I’m an English writing major — I take the use of the word “literally” very seriously).

My parents met at St. Edward’s University in 1987. My dad was a sophomore majoring in criminal justice and minoring in photography, while my mom was a freshman religious studies major. Twenty-five years later, I followed in their footsteps and became a Hilltopper in 2012.

Growing up, my parents would stop by campus every time we drove through Austin. This was never too frequently, since we spent most of my childhood living on the West Coast, but it still allowed for them to familiarize me with the campus, some of the SEU traditions and their own history there.

Although both St. Edward’s and Austin have grown tremendously since my parents’ time here, they’ve still been able to show me many of their favorite places and share some advice. While my mom jokes that every time she visits campus, there’s a new building and twice as many people, she can agree that the strong sense of community that she loved about St. Edward’s still remains.

Initially, I was hesitant to consider SEU for my college career. My parents had such vivid memories and strong opinions about SEU that I didn’t want my experience to be molded solely by their own past experiences. I wanted a university and a college experience that would be uniquely mine.

However, as I continued to learn about St. Ed’s and interact with its faculty and staff, I realized that St. Edward’s had more to offer me than just carrying on my family’s legacy.

Over the years, I’ve been able to make a home for myself at SEU, but what’s been even more incredible is that I’ve been able to merge my Hilltopper family with my real family.

My parents and I included, there have been thirteen members of my family who’ve attend St. Edward’s. The first person to greet me upon my arrival at orientation was my cousin.

The day after I moved in, my mom’s cousin took me out to breakfast to pass along all of her advice as a recent SEU graduate.

My aunt and uncle who attended years before each reached out to congratulate me and reminisce. My cousins who were still students themselves encouraged me to become engaged in the community and take advantage of my time there.

I once hated the idea of attending a university with so many ties to my family, but in reality, I can’t imagine anything better. My family connections have landed me jobs, exposed me to new opportunities, and allowed me to create meaningful relationships I would not have otherwise had.

Whenever I mention that I’m a “legacy kid,” I’m often asked if I was pressured by my family to go to St. Edward’s and if that’s the reason why so many of us attend the same school. While my parents were never shy about expressing that St. Edward’s would be a great fit for me (or about the SEU paraphernalia they bought us), I always knew that it was ultimately my decision.

My mom once observed that it says a lot about St. Edward’s that so many of her friends and family members have children who are now Hilltoppers and I think she’s right. It speaks to SEU’s merit that so many people had such positive experiences that they wish that same experience for the next generation.

SEU has done so much for me, not short of providing me with an environment where I could become closer to my cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, godparents and family friends who’ve all attended SEU as well.

I once thought that my parents pushed for me to choose SEU because they wanted me to be more like them, but now I realize they only ever encouraged me to go to SEU because they had experienced firsthand what an amazing community it is and knew everything it could offer me.

Though my time at St. Edward’s has now come and gone, I can’t wait to see the family tradition live on atop the Hilltop.