Founder’s Week celebrates university’s history


Students spent time with the Holy Cross Brothers to learn about St. Edward’s founders.

St. Edward’s University has a rich history as both a Holy Cross institution and an institution of higher education. As part of this heritage, Founder’s Week, this year from Oct. 8-12, provided a chance for the university community to celebrate its past.

In the 1870’s, Mary Doyle offered Father Edward Sorin her land to found a Holy Cross school. Her land extended all along Woodward Street, and Father Sorin accepted. The school first opened in 1878 as a high school for local farm children. The school was also a farm, tended by the Holy Cross Brothers, and provided food and funding with which to expand the school. In 1885, St. Edward’s was chartered as a college, and finally, in 1925, St. Edward’s officially became a university.

Founder’s Week is observed on campus every year to celebrate St. Edward’s history, Father Sorin, and the school’s Holy Cross heritage. Each year, the Friday closest to the Feast Day of St. Edward, Oct. 13, is designated as a school holiday, which is why no classes were held on Oct. 12.

On Oct. 7, Founder’s Day masses were held in both the morning and evening. In addition to the masses, the university had extra cause for celebration: the welcoming of our new director of Campus Ministry, Peter Walsh. On Monday, a Taizé prayer service was held in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, and on Thursday, the Holy Cross Brothers held a rosary prayer service in the Grotto.

Tuesday afternoon included a special Founder’s Week event, the Brother’s Challenge. Held on Ragsdale lawn, the St. Edward’s Holy Cross Brothers challenged the entire student body to series of light and fun physical activities, like horseshoes and lawn bowling. Prizes were raffled off to those who participated.

“I didn’t participate in any of the games, but it all looked like so much fun,” said freshman Kaity Kerrigan. “By the time is was over I wished I had taken part.”

The event was co-sponsored by Campus Recreation Center with fun and fitness in mind.

The Hilltop also hosted a series of guest speakers. The first was a lecture entitled “Thinking Globally, Learning Locally,” which took place on Tuesday night. Richard Bautch of St. Edward’s, Whitney Bodman of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Sarah Tobin of Wheaton College in Massachusetts comprised the panel. Each discussed the importance of learning about and understanding various faiths of the world.

“It was really awesome to be able to listen to people who knew so much about different religions,” Katie Canales commented after attending the event. “I feel like it gave me a whole new outlook on them.”

Another special guest speaker, Sister Helen Prejean, visited campus on Friday. This event was sponsored by the Texas Coalition to abolish the Death Penalty, and Prejean spoke on her beliefs about the injustice of capital punishment.

Brother Larry Atkinson of Campus Ministry and Holy Cross has been involved in organizing the events of Founder’s Week for the past eight years.

“Our goal is always for everyone at St. Edward’s University to gain an appreciation for our past and hope for our future,” said Atkinson. “We also want everyone to appreciate our Holy Cross heritage, and our Holy Cross community that is still very active today.”

In addition to the events held all during Founder’s Week, the Founder’s Day Service Project will be held this Oct. 20, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The project is actually a set of small projects all around Austin, orchestrated by the Office of Community Engagement and Campus Ministry.

Visit for more details and sign up information.