In 1885, the president, Rev. P.J. Franciscus, strengthened the prestige of the Academy by securing a charter, changing its name to St. Edward's College, assembling a faculty, and increasing enrollment. Subsequently, St. Edward's began to grow, and the first school newspaper, the organization of baseball and football teams, and approval to erect an administration building all followed. Well-known architect Nicholas J. Clayton of Galveston, Texas was commissioned to design the College's Main Building. The structure was built four-stories tall in the Gothic Revival style and was constructed with local white limestone.
In the spring of 1903, a mysterious fire destroyed the majority of the Main Building, but it was restored by the fall. In 1922, the Main Building sustained damage from a tornado that caused significant damage all over the campus. The Main Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
In 1925, St. Edward's received its university charter. Most of the personnel at the time were Holy Cross priests. Women arrived at St. Edward's in 1966 as students for Maryhill College, a coordinate institution. By 1970, Maryhill was absorbed and St. Edward's became co-educational.
By 1971, the university carried bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration. Also added were the College Assistance Migrant Program (1972); a professionally oriented theatre arts curriculum (1972); an innovative degree program for adults called New College (1974); and Freshman Studies (1975).
In 1984, Dr. Patricia Hayes became the first woman and only the second layperson to lead St. Edward's University. In 1990, enrollment reached 3,000 for the first time. This decade also ushered in a revised undergraduate curriculum, and capital and technological improvements. In 1999, Dr. George E. Martin became the 23rd president of St. Edward's University.
Progress on the priorities began immediately. Enrollment grew from 3,669 in Fall 1999 to 5,224 in Fall 2006. New academic programs have been added, including undergraduate majors in Bioinformatics, Entrepreneurship, Forensic Chemistry, Nonprofit Management and Graphic Design, as well as graduate programs in Computer Information Systems, Project Management, Teaching, and Organizational Leadership and Ethics.
The university’s master plan, which details how St. Edward’s will construct new facilities while maintaining the overall architectural character of campus, supports the strategic priorities for academic excellence, enrollment growth, and recruiting and retaining the best students, faculty and staff. Trustee Hall, a academic facility, was the first building completed under the plan. It opened in Fall 2002. The completion of Basil Moreau Residence Hall in 2003 and Jacques Dujarié Hall in 2005 further enhanced residence life. The John Brooks Williams Natural Sciences Center, a facility that opened in Fall 2006, is the first phase of a two-building science complex housing all programs of the School of Natural Sciences except for Computer Science,Mathematics and Physics; the second phase will house these programs. Plans for a new chapel are being drawn up by architect Rick Joy, winner of the 2004 National Design Award from the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Major renovations of Fleck Hall ended in the Fall of 2007. Future plans also include a major renovation of Andre Hall.
The university has maintained a balanced operating budget — currently about $80 million — for 30 years. The endowment has steadily increased to more than $54 million. Total university assets exceed $184 million. Fundraising has grown each year as well, and 87 percent of faculty and staff contributed to the annual fund last year — more than triple the giving levels of benchmark universities.
St. Edward's University has been named by U.S. News & World Report as being one of the "best colleges" in the western region since 2004 in the category of master's-granting institutions
More than 1,100 students live on campus in five residence halls and two apartment communities. Students at St. Edward's University are also involved in more than 80 campus organizations, including: student government, service organizations, academic honor societies, cultural clubs and intramural sports.
St. Edward's boasts that it has an impressive Theater Arts program department, which features a U/RTA contract with the Actors' Equity Association, allowing students who successfully complete the requirements of a Membership Candidate Program to become eligible to join Actors' Equity Association. St. Edward's has one of the only undergraduate programs in the country with this affiliation. In 2005, actor Ed Begley Jr. brought his play, César & Ruben to St. Edward's University for its Texas premiere.
The college also hold two club lacrosse teams. The men's team (a member of the MCLA) was formed in 1999, winning the SWLA Division B championship in 2002 and the LSA Division B championship in 2003. The women's team was recently brought together in early 2008.
The university's student-athlete graduation rate of 76 percent is 13th in the country out of 278 Division II institutions. The university mascot is the Hilltopper. St. Edward's is a founding member of the Heartland Conference.
The Casa and two Casitas, for upperclassmen, serve as "house-style living." The Casa residents use the facilities of Dujarié Hall.
St. Edward's maintains two apartment communities, Maryhill Apartments (Buildings 1-11) and Hilltopper Heights Apartments (Buildings 12-17) for students.
Jorge Fernando "Tuto" Quiroga Ramírez-Former President of Bolivia