Since 1996, Robert Galecke has had the Number 2 parking spot next to that of the university president, acting as each respective president’s right hand man at the University of Dallas throughout the years — except, of course, the two times he served as interim president himself.
Galecke — who has been integrally involved in the university’s growth over the last two decades, was feted at a retirement party in November, where his quiet role in building UD was publicly celebrated.
Galecke came to UD out of a mergers and acquisitions firm in Dallas, and kept his business-minded approach throughout his time at the university.
His partner at the firm was ready to welcome Galecke back if his position at UD did not work out, but Galecke never expressed any regrets about his choice.
“Once I got here, I never looked back,” Galecke said. “[That is] because of the great place it is, the great people that are here, the faculty and staff dedicated to the students and the number of students that I have had the pleasure of working with.”
Galecke came to UD 21 years ago as executive vice president. Most recently, he served as President Thomas Keefe’s senior advisor.
Though his job title has changed multiple times since his arrival, Galecke has used each position to successfully advance the quality of UD’s campus and programs.
“Having been an administrator, and not a faculty member, and president twice, in my opinion the purpose of the university is students first,” Galecke said. “This is why we’re here.”
Galecke’s achievements at UD are nearly too many to count.
Galecke has been vital to the continual flourishing of the arts at UD.
It was Galecke who worked for two years to bring the Chagall exhibit from Marquette University to UD, an effort which was realized in the spring of 2016.
In 2000, Galecke worked with the Haggerty family to expand the Haggerty Art Village. He also assisted in the building of the shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Galecke was able to work well with people within the university as well as within the city of Irving.
“He is gifted at personal interactions, and knowing people at a very personal level,” said current Executive Vice President John Plotts. “He has an incredible mind for remembering people’s names, and knowing their connections to the university.”
Galecke introduced an annual charity golf tournament in Dallas, which was renamed the Galecke Open last year in his honor.
The proceeds of the golf tournament benefit the UD Core Fund, which exists to improve the education and facilities at the university.
Galecke has also championed many successful infrastructure projects at UD. He oversaw the transformation of Northgate Drive and Tom Braniff Drive from back roads into well-maintained thoroughfares.
The recently completed SB Hall and the beginnings of Cardinal Farrell Hall were both undertaken under Galecke’s supervision.
Not only did Galecke help in first furnishing the Due Santi Rome campus, he also helped levy the field, plant the vineyard and improve the mensa. Galecke even remained the legal representative in Italy of the school for 20 years.
“It has been one of my passions to continue to make Rome the success that it has been since 1970,” Galecke said.
While Galecke may not be present on campus as often now, the numerous campus improvements he oversaw will serve as a constant reminder of his long and impressive history of accomplishments at UD.