Wednesday, March 12, 2014

History Major Rachel Farrell Reporting from Austin, TX

 As a full-time employee, parent and history student, it is hard to find a proper balance among all the roles I’m expected to play. Working 40 hours a week; taking classes that fit around my work schedule; keeping the house and kids organized; making time for doctor appointments, parent/teacher meetings and extra-curricular activities; it all takes a tremendous amount of creative time management. So, when I can combine two of the three “roles,” and satisfy my love of history while meeting a parent obligation, life is sweet!

During spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to Austin, Texas and tour St. Edwards University campus with my daughter, since it is one of her college options. I just happen to be a native Texan, so this trip was certainly no hardship! And, Austin is in the middle of the Texas hill country, with beautiful views and lovely weather this time of year. This incentive, in addition to the lure of learning the history of the beautiful campus and the foundation of a great Catholic university, made my spring break fun and memorable.

Father Edward Sorin, who also founded the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, came to Austin in 1878 to establish a school for boys, which he named St. Edwards Academy in honor of his patron saint. In 1885 the school received its college charter to become St. Edwards College and acquired its university charter in 1925. The magnificent main building on campus was built in 1889 and was designed by Nicholas J. Clayton, who was at that time a very well known and respected architect.

In 1903, almost all of the main building was destroyed by a fire except for the beautiful front doors with its panels of stained glass. The building, with its original and distinctive red doors, was rebuilt and opened again by fall of the same year, and continues to be a significant facet of the university to this day. The contrast between the doors, blue accents in the stained glass, and the white limestone common to Texas are quite eye-catching.

Despite the beauty and history we encountered during our trip, my daughter is still undecided if this will be her home for the next four years. However, St. Edwards University has a rich history and unparalleled scenery, in my opinion, of which any college student can be proud!

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