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Fourth Quarter Farewell & Commencement Weekend 2015

May 18, 2015, 2:32 PM EST

From Saturday’s Fourth Quarter Farewell to Sunday’s commencement exercises, University of Notre Dame student-athletes and student support staff concluded their academic careers with another whirlwind weekend.

The Notre Dame Monogram Club was thrilled to host the fourth annual Fourth Quarter Farewell, and this year’s version had a different look. Previous Fourth Quarter Farewells took place inside the Notre Dame Stadium press box, but due to Campus Crossroads Project construction, this year’s event was held inside the Guglielmino Athletics Complex. The “Gug” provided a unique setting to honor the student-athletes and all of the senior students who had an impact on Fighting Irish athletics over the last several years.

There was a tremendous turnout from the students, their families, friends and coaches. The Monogram Club was very thankful to all of those individuals who were able to attend on such a busy weekend. It was a great way to celebrate both the classroom and competition successes of the class of 2015.

Emma Reaney, an eight-time All-America swimmer and dean’s list honoree, spoke on behalf of the student-athletes during the event. She delivered a tremendous speech that included these remarks:

“I refuse to even think about life after Notre Dame because this is all I’ve known for the last four years.”

“I’ve learned that one of the most important things Notre Dame has taught me is how to live in the moment … looking back, I realize that almost all the times I will remember from college I was completely and totally immersed in the moment and not worrying about anything else.”

“Watching other athletes, not just from my team, put their heart and soul in community service work has been incredibly inspiring to me. Whether it’s Habitat for Humanity, Fight for Life or any of the other amazing things Notre Dame athletics has been involved in, I’ve never seen so many people be so involved.”

“Let’s go out there and for one more day forget about the fact that we’re all going our separate ways and truly cherish each and every minute we have together.”

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Notre Dame Vice President/Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick also took to the podium to address the seniors and their families one final time.

“The last time we were gathered like this, with multiple sports, students and families, was freshman orientation,” Swarbrick said. “On that day, which seems like yesterday to me, I remember talking about two things. The first was that it was the day when you left one family and entered another family, and as such, it was a good day to thank your family for getting you here and for all they had done to support you over the years to make the Notre Dame dream possible. And that, of course, applies today … just as you did then, I hope you use this weekend to thank them again.

“The other thing I talked about that day was that we were going to make a commitment to the student-athletes who were sitting in front of us. We were going to commit to doing all we could to maximize your growth as a student, as an athlete and as a person. The flip side of our commitment to you was a commitment from you to take full advantage of them. I hope we can sit here today and you feel that we did our job because I know you did yours.”

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The Monogram Club was proud to once again distribute graduation stoles. The stoles were established last year as a way to acknowledge all those who had been a part of Notre Dame athletics during their time on campus.

One such member was 2015 class valedictorian, and Irish rower, Anna Kottkamp. Kottkamp, the first-ever recorded student-athlete valedictorian at Notre Dame, raced Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in South Carolina before boarding a flight back to South Bend for Sunday’s festivities.

Sadly, there was a very somber moment during the Fourth Quarter Farewell when it was made known that a fellow senior student-athlete, fencer Billy Meckling, had passed away earlier that morning. The Monogram Club sends its thoughts and prayers to Billy’s family, friends, teammates and coaches during this difficult time.

Here’s a look back at commencement weekend 2015: https://storify.com/NDMonogram/commencement-weekend-2015

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