A Man to Whom Much Credit is Due
Date Published: Nov. 11, 2016
“The view of campus from the west side is so different,” said former Executive Vice
President and current Senior Adviser to the President Robert M. “Bob” Galecke, motioning
downhill toward SB Hall. “This view has a whole different touch and feel for first
Galecke has always been about first impressions, and whenever he would give tours
of campus to guests in recent years, he would make sure to bring them up this same
hill so they could witness the enhanced perspective of the University of Dallas as
seen from this particular angle — SB Hall, the newest residence hall, Clark Hall,
and four different athletic fields along with the rest of the university — a vision
finally realized through two decades’ worth of work.
But now, after these two decades of service to our esteemed Catholic university, Galecke,
the man largely responsible for so much of UD’s success and upgraded improvements;
for whom the university’s annual golf tournament, the Galecke Open, is named; and
who has kept the No. 2 parking spot next to the president since his arrival, is retiring
this fall for some much-needed rest and relaxation, so he can spend more time with
his family and time traveling with his wife.
A Look Back
When Galecke first came to UD in June 1996, the university looked very different.
On his first trip to campus, Galecke recalls the bumpy, uneven drive up Northgate
and Tom Braniff, which resembled old, unkept country roads in the middle of nowhere.
Clark Hall didn’t exist yet, and the athletic fields were actually low lands that
Indeed, the campus was much different.
When Galecke first interviewed for his position, he expressed his interest for the
job to Patrick Daly, associate vice president for administration, and others on the
hiring committee, especially if this was going to be a closing chapter to his career.
However, if you were to read an autobiography of Galecke, his time spent at UD would
be the rising action, and the climax might be any one of his improvements and enhancements
to our university.
During his time at UD, Galecke served twice as interim president, as well as a number
of other executive-level administrative positions. He’s signed more degrees than he
can count and given to the university in more ways than one. He’s worked alongside
UD’s endowment committee overseeing substantial increases in our endowment funds,
and he’s worked side by side with the past three presidents of our university.
Galecke is most definitely a businessman, having been chairman, president or CEO of
public companies in health care, real estate and financial services, in addition to
spending 20 years in the commercial banking industry before coming to UD. His attire
around campus is almost always business professional, neatly presented, shirt pressed,
suit and tie, and the first impression he leaves on others with his wide smile and
friendly demeanor is undoubtedly lasting.
Galecke found his first and foremost priority rather quickly when he joined UD.
After a water line break during Parents’ Weekend his first year, he could see there
were much-needed improvements to be made to the campus’ overall infrastructure.
“That was kinda like my gee-whiz moment,” said Galecke.
Because of his belief in first impressions, he spearheaded and started one enhancement
and improvement project after another. Literally, from the ground up, Galecke began
tackling the inadequate infrastructure on campus, everything from expanding student
housing to updating underground piping to giving Northgate and Tom Braniff their much-needed
He also made it a point to personally visit and meet each faculty chairperson when
he first arrived at UD.
Certainly, Galecke created lasting impressions, as well as lifelong relationships
with faculty, staff and students alike.
“I’m not a closed-door sort of guy,” said Galecke.
Anyone who has ever worked with or met Galecke can understand this about him, especially
with his can-do personality. And if Bob Galecke matched any late ’90s animated child
character perfectly, it would be Bob the Builder. At a Board of Trustees meeting one
year, Galecke was actually gifted a toy Bob the Builder doll that for now, until Galecke
packs up his things to depart from us, sits behind his desk in Carpenter Hall.
Among Galecke’s other notable contributions are the renovations to and expansion of
the Ed Maher Athletic Center, the major expansion of the Haggerty Art Village, and,
most recently, the not-quite-one-year-old SB Hall and the under-construction Cardinal
Farrell Hall, which is expected to open in late 2017.
“So now, either way you enter the university, there is going to be a strong first
impression,” said Galecke.
Another significant contribution is the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) rail station
on the north side of Texas State Highway 114. After years of negotiating with the
city of Irving and DART, Galecke and Daly convinced DART officials to construct the
rail line between the highway and the frontage road, thereby avoiding limited access
to the land directly adjacent to property owned by the university.
Originally, DART wanted to construct the rail stop on the university’s land at UD’s
expense, a price tag that typically comes with city and state-funded tax dollars.
But through negotiations with DART, the rail line was constructed off of university
land, while the station was built on UD’s land, but at no cost to the university.
The new rail stop now gives students a new method of transportation while simultaneously
increasing the value for the land owned by UD.
“That was a huge negotiation with the city, DART and the Texas Department of Transportation
(TxDot),” said Galecke, who helped put UD into the light rail future, connecting the
university to Dallas and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for the next
Galecke’s vision for the university stretched beyond just the Irving campus. When
he first joined UD, the university was just finishing construction on its Eugene Constantin
Campus in the Due Santi locality just outside of Rome, Italy, but there was still
a lot of work that needed to be done.
Galecke helped upgrade everything, from landscaping and planting the new vineyard
to furnishing and installing an earthquake-safe roof on the Villa. “Some of these
things you just don’t see,” said Galecke.
“Our Due Santi Campus is one of my prized achievements,” said Galecke. “We spent a
great amount of time enhancing and completing the campus, which has become such a
special place for our students.”
A Vision Realized
His vision for the University of Dallas would never have been realized had Galecke
not also become an active community leader for the city of Irving. He became a director
on the Irving - Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and the Irving Convention and Visitors
Bureau. He became president and director of the Irving Flood Control District 1, which
is responsible for protecting 660 acres of land and over $300 million of assessed
value commercial properties, including property owned by the university.
He came to know all of the Irving city council members and the city’s senior staff,
and because of his connections, the university now has an ever-more strengthened relationship
“Bob’s always been very active in building relationships, and I think this has significantly
helped UD,” said Daly, who’s worked hand-in-hand with Galecke for the past two decades.
Indeed, UD would look entirely different today had Galecke not stepped into the fold
in the late ’90s.
Without Galecke’s connections and prowess as a master planner and builder, it’s safe
to say that none of what you see today would have been possible; his list of enhancements
and achievements has undoubtedly transformed our university for the better.
The once flooded athletic fields are no longer deluged in water.
Northgate and Tom Braniff received their major overhauls, which significantly enhanced
UD’s aesthetic appeal to visitors and gave students safe, clean sidewalks for walking
to and from campus and jogging or biking.
DART put UD on the light rail line, and now students have an alternative mode of transportation.
And SB Hall and Cardinal Farrell Hall will give visitors to UD’s Irving campus a lasting
“It's quite an impressive view,” said Galecke from atop the hill on Crusader Court.
“I have to say, I honestly didn't think it would take 20 years.”