By Zach Clark
“Oh, you mean you’re from UTD?”
No, we don’t mean the University of Texas at Dallas, we mean the University of Dallas, the small and widely unknown university nestled away on its hilly perch above the city. We don’t have a football team to rally hundreds under the lights on Friday nights or a campus that spills across the city, but are people still aware of this place or are we just “UTD” in the minds of Dallas-Forth Worth locals?
I wanted to gauge the level of knowledge of UD in the Irving community, so I ventured just three miles down the road to the Tom Thumb grocery store on MacArthur Blvd. to see how many people were aware of our school.
Encouragingly, seven of the 10 people I talked to knew about UD. The three exceptions either said that they did not know anything about UD or they confused it with fellow private Christian schools Southern Methodist University and Dallas Baptist University.
Two responded by saying that although they had lived in the area less than two years, they kept up with UD after having driven by it so often and, within the last year alone, noticed how many improvements and new additions had been made to the school. Specifically, they noticed the “very nice” bridge over the pond by Madonna Hall, as well as the new Italian flag, and the signs and columns that were recently added.
Of the remaining five residents I surveyed, one woman said that she lived in a part of the city nearly 15 miles from UD, but often saw the Tower from afar and eventually wanted to find out what it was. Upon visiting the school for the first time, she went on to look into it more closely and was so impressed with the programs and academics that she planned to pursue a master’s degree in English there next year.
One man mentioned that he was a member of Rotary International, a longstanding service organization that brings members all over the world together through humanitarian work, while also developing and promoting active leadership and strong ethical values. He went on to say that UD’s Rotaract club, the college version of Rotary International, had played a big part in recent holiday charity work at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, where he met a large number of our students involved. He said he felt they were all great leaders, reflecting highly on their school.
Crusaders for Life, another strong presence at UD, impacted two of the final three people surveyed. One woman said she loved meeting so many UD students at the recent March for Life in Austin, and that they were a delightful and faithful group of scholars who were admirable in their advocacy to defend the unborn.
The other woman interviewed stated that she had been a guest at the Texans for Life Coalition banquet in October, held at the Westin Hotel in Irving, and that every UD student who attended had also assisted at the evening’s gala by setting up tables and arrangements in the ballroom before, then stayed after to clean up. She said that she spoke with nearly all of the UD students who were there during the silent auction and wanted to learn more about such a faith-filled university in order to share it with her family and friends whose many high school-aged children would soon begin searching for colleges.
The final woman I surveyed stated that she had found out about UD when the school’s marketing and career service departments had reached out to her locally because of her position in a real estate company, at which point they invited her to attend a career fair held at UD to visit with students interested in pursuing internships or part-time jobs. She said that each student she met exhibited great intelligence and that they were all polite, eager and ambitious to learn and succeed.
With over half of the individuals in this randomly-selected sample not only aware of UD but also very positive in their opinions of us, it seems that despite our smaller size, we are nevertheless making a name for ourselves through our work ethic, education and leadership in our community.
We might not be recognized for our athletic dominance, enviable resources or picturesque campus, but we should be far more proud that our name is being made by the integrity and hard work of our students, as well as the unmatched academics that this school so faithfully provides.