Building a Mystery: Catholic Student Center

Catholic Student CenterPeriodically we come across shards of uncertainty in our research. Today it's the Catholic Student Center (CSC).

First, the building, located west of main campus on 17th Street, is not owned by the university. Seeing how it's one of those close-by structures (and that it appeared on past campus maps) we decided to do some research into it. What we found was a number of interchangeable names.

The 1982 Alcalde notes the construction of a new Catholic student center called Morkovsky Hall. No location is given but we assume it's the building along 17th Street; our maps dated before the 1980s indicate nothing at that location so we feel safe that they are one in the same. Who was Morkovsky? No immediate clue unless it was John Morkovsky (1909-1990), the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Galveston-Houston - who would have still been alive in 1982. And don't tell us that's the wrong Morkovsky because we'll then have headaches and be all cross.

We're not sure how official the "Morkovsky" name was, however, because campus maps from the mid-1980s identify the structure as the Newman Foundation. Many Catholic student centers across the country - indeed, the world - are labeled "Newman," named for John Henry Newman (1801-1890) who maintained the idea that "Catholic students attending public universities should have a place to gather where they would be able to support and encourage one another in their faith."

Hereafter the name of the building flip-flops from "Newman Foundation" to “Newman Student Center” to “St. Thomas Catholic Student Center” and finally to, what signage currently out front says, "Catholic Student Center." Saint Thomas? Yes, have no doubts, St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church sits just north of the student center, facing 16th Street.

We've forwarded a few emails to the CSC but to date have heard nothing in return. That leaves it to our readers at large: does anyone have information on the history of the Catholic Student Center or other Catholic student organizations on campus?

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