A Timeline of St. Edward’s University History to 1990s
1872- Fr. Edward Sorin, Father General of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (CSC), visits the land donated by Mary Doyle, south of Austin, for the establishment of a Catholic school of higher learning. Fr. Sorin prefers the land to the west on a ridge with a large “umbrella tree.”
1881- St. Edward’s Academy opens east of present day IH35 and Woodward St.
1885- St. Edward’s College is chartered.
1889- School moves to the present location; about 200 residential high school and college students.
1903- Fire destroys Main Building in April; reopened in October.
1910- Students from Mexico compose about 10% of population.
1919- Fr. Matthew Schummacher first SEU president with a Ph.D. (Univ. of ND)
1922- Tornado strikes Holy Cross Hall, then a dormitory. Cost to rebuild leaves St. Edward’s with $68,000 debt.
1924- Graduate school opens; summer sessions begin, including a camp for high school football coaches taught by Knute Rockne.
1925- Texas Department of Education charters St. Edward’s University.
1927- About 1/3 of roughly 150 enrolled students are business majors.
1931- Graduate school closed.
1930 – 1940- Great Depression causes severe financial woes for St. Edward’s. The university struggles to meet its debt obligations and extend loans. Only $200,000 from the CSC provincial leadership and Notre Dame keep the doors open.
1938- First female students on campus. Nuns training to work at Seton Hospital take religion, sociology, ethics, psychology, anatomy, and physiology courses. These are not the only women on campus. Other nuns worked on campus, providing help with domestic chores, while staff included women.
1941 – 1943- Enrollment shrinks to 50 students.
1944 – 1946- St. Edward’s Military Academy opens; linked to the Texas National Guard. Enrollment grows to 150 students.
1946- Nearly half of SEU’s 165 students are veterans.
1949- St. Edward’s opens Evening College. Its name will change to New College.
1952- Enrollment reaches 400 students, although it shrinks to 300s for most of the decade. Faculty number 30, of whom 23 are CSC. Only one female faculty member.
1954- Formal division of university into five schools: humanities, social sciences, physical and biological sciences, teacher training, and business administration.
1957- Curriculum requires students to complete 132 hours, including 24 religion and/or philosophy.
1958- University accredited. This means that its programs meet the standards of excellence of a national accreditation organization.
Late 1950s – Mid 1960s- Enrollment reaches 500s. Campus begins to take its present shape with addition of Premont, Doyle, East, and Teresa Halls, the Alumni Gym, and the Mary Moody Northen Theatre. SEU and Maryhill students participate in integration efforts at UT Austin and Austin restaurants including El Gallo, the 1967 Texas farm workers march, and in anti-Vietnam protests. Our Lady Queen of Victory chapel renamed Our Lady Queen of Peace.
1962- Vatican II Council dramatically alters the practices of Catholicism around the world.
1966- Maryhill College for women opens as a coordinate college. Students take most of their courses separate from the male students.
1969- Oversight of St. Edward’s University transferred from religious leadership to a lay Board of Trustees.
1970- St. Edward’s becomes co-educational; Maryhill College eliminated. University adopts Model Q curriculum that requires students to complete four interdisciplinary courses and a major, leaving the rest of the credits as electives.
1971- CSC transfers ownership of SEU to Board of Trustees. Bilingual education courses offered in teaching college. Enrollment reaches 1000.
1972- SEU offers CAMP program.
1974- Curriculum modified to include themed, interdisciplinary Freshman Studies courses linked to a Rhetoric/Composition course. Campus Ministry office opens.
1977- Curriculum includes Research and Critical Missions course, the forerunner of Capstone. Growing lay and shrinking religious faculty causes financial challenges.
1984- Patricia Hayes becomes 27th president and first female president of SEU.
1991- General Education curriculum created requiring students to complete a number of required courses including interdisciplinary Cultural Foundations courses.