The opening of DART’s University of Dallas Station not only represents a chance for UD students to more easily access the greater Dallas area, but it presents the university with new opportunities to connect with thousands who live near or pass by our campus daily.
Named in honor of Gene Vilfordi, a longtime University of Dallas trustee and well-known supporter of Catholic education in the Dallas area, the Vilfordi Plaza is constructed of materials similar to those that have been used throughout the UD campus.
With a more clearly defined link to the core campus, the university will be able to more fully benefit from its proximity to the nation’s most extensive light rail network.
Vilfordi Plaza functions as a new front door located at the highly visible corner of Highway 114 and Tom Braniff Drive. It is from this point that students, faculty and staff will easily and safely link to the University of Dallas Station and destinations throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex; visitors will be warmly welcomed by a lushly landscaped area that leads to an arched foot bridge across the pond.
When the name “Gene Vilfordi” is mentioned in the Catholic community of North Texas, it brings a smile to many faces. People respond to Gene because of his welcoming personality and gentle manner.
In 2004, he was awarded an Elizabeth Ann Seton Award, the highest award given for leaders in Catholic Education. In addition, The Catholic Foundation of Dallas awarded him their Exemplary Catholic Leadership award in 2000. He has served on the Dallas Diocese Bishop’s Inner City School Board, as well as on the boards of Ursuline and Cistercian Preparatory Schools.
Gene graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He worked for General Motors from 1949 to 1953, and then joined Merrill Lynch as an account executive. He retired from his position as first vice president of investments at Merrill Lynch in 2005.
The University of Dallas has been very lucky to be blessed with Gene’s presence, his leadership, his intelligence and his joyful spirit for many years. He joined the university’s Board of Trustees in 1991, at which time he was appointed to the Endowment Committee. He served as chair of that committee from 1997-2009.
Although he retired from membership on the board in May, 2011, he remains an active ad hoc member of the Endowment Committee. His wisdom and understanding of the markets have been invaluable to those board members charged with ensuring good returns on the endowment.