2014 Citizen of the Year: Gene Rubino

Gene Rubino is truly a native son of Stamford. Often referred to as Mr. Stamford, because of his love, involvement and support of the City, Gene grew up in Glenbrook, attended Stamford High and then attended Tampa University and the University of Cincinnati, and served in the National Guard.

In 1965, after returning to Connecticut, Gene married Day Hawthorne, and the young couple started out living at the Hoyt-Bedford Apartments while Gene worked in the family scrap business, Rubino Brothers. Over the next few years Gene’s interest and passion for real estate ignited, and following an initial period of selling solo, he joined Davidoff Realty. Then in 1970, he founded Plaza Realty. Plaza Realty was the first full-service real estate company in the Stamford area and now is the largest management company in Fairfield County, working on both commercial and residential projects. Under Gene’s leadership the company introduced a spectrum of specialized services that have since set new standards of professional excellence in the industry.

Gene’s decades of dedicated community service in Stamford are reflected in a wide range of giving. He has directly and indirectly touched the lives of thousands of Stamford children. His support of our youth is often highlighted with the Stamford Youth Basketball League, of which he was a founder and a sponsor for more than 20 years of its Upstart Division for five to eight year olds.

His leadership as president and board member of the Stamford Exchange Club further reflects his advocacy for kids in yet another way. Gene was instrumental in creating the Child Abuse Prevention and Child Parenting Center, was a driver in providing volunteers for both summer and winter Special Olympics, and was instrumental in the “Give a Kid a Flag” program in conjunction with Stamford’s Veterans Day Parade.

Gene has held many other leadership positions with our City’s nonprofits, including the American Red Cross, the Downtown Special Services District, the Italian Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford, the Stamford YMCA and the Yerwood Center. A skilled networker and fundraiser, Gene has contributed his services and support in capital campaigns – $3.5 million to build a new facility for the Boys and Girls Club and $1.75 million for renovations to the YMCA – and underwritten citywide events such as the Veterans Day Parade and July 4th fireworks.

Currently, Gene serves on the Yale University School of Medicine Eye Center Advisory Board and is a member of the State Street Debating Society, where he has donated an annual scholarship for several years.

Gene and Day live in the Newfield area. Their daughter and son-in-law, Nicole and Mike Hibbert have two daughters, Morgan and Faith.