Apr 28, 2017, 12:22 PM EDT
She’s won three Olympic gold medals, hoisted the World Cup trophy and claimed titles at the collegiate and professional levels, yet Shannon Boxx (’99, soccer) received something on Wednesday that had been eluding her for a while.
Boxx returned to her alma mater to be the featured alumni speaker at the Monogram Club’s spring Monogram Jacket Ceremony. Boxx addressed the group, which included nearly 70 first-time Monogram winners, their families, coaches and administrators, assembled in Club Naimoli. Her speech touched on her journey from Torrance, California to Notre Dame, where she never missed a match during her Fighting Irish career and helped the program to its first national title in 1995 as a freshman. After being a key cog in two more College Cup teams, she graduated from Notre Dame in 1999 with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and African-American studies.
“It’s an honor to come back and represent Notre Dame,” Boxx said. “Every time I step on the campus I’m flooded with memories from my time at school here. From the beauty, history and architecture to the smells, competitions, my teammates and the energy and atmosphere of football weekends and the traditions that come along with being a student here. All of these things remind me of why I fell in love with this University when I first visited during my recruiting trip.”
Boxx went on to have an extremely accomplished 12-year professional/international career, which included a combined seven Olympic and World Cup appearances, as a defensive midfielder with the U.S. Women’s National Team. While Boxx boasts an impressive resume, her speech touched on the many obstacles she had to overcome to reach those milestone moments. She stated that the largest obstacle she faced as an athlete occurred in 2008 when she was diagnosed with Lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs.
Boxx produced many more successful years of soccer following the diagnosis before retiring from international and club play in 2015. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children and is a coach at the Full Pitch Soccer Academy.
“I’m very proud of my journey and the lessons I’ve learned along the way,” stated Boxx. “When I reflect on my career I always remember how proud I felt when I received my Monogram jacket. As you know, receiving that honor takes hard work and commitment in the classroom and on the field. There are only a few of us that receive the Monogram jacket. This privilege represents the achievements we’ve had on the field, but it’s also an acknowledgement of the support, guidance and sacrifice our family, friends, teammates, coaches and teachers have made for us during our journey.”
During her journey, which has taken her all over the world, Boxx lost track of the physical object that connects her with the group she was speaking to on Wednesday: her Monogram jacket.
After the first-time Monogram winners from the women’s soccer program were introduced, team captain Sandra Yu made an announcement that there was one more person who needed to don the iconic jacket. The team then presented Boxx, a four-time Monogram winner, with her new Monogram jacket.
The evening started with an invocation from Notre Dame President Emeritus, and Monogram Club member, Rev. Edward “Monk” Malloy, C.S.C. (’63, ’67, ’69, basketball).
“I’m proud of being a Monogram winner and during my years as president I was always able to turn to the Monogram Club for help in all facets of important things,” Malloy said during his opening comments.
The ceremony’s first speaker was Notre Dame Deputy Athletics Director Jim Fraleigh (’88, manager). It was fitting to have Fraleigh take to the stage because during his time as executive director of the Monogram Club he oversaw the establishment of the Monogram Jacket Ceremony in 2009. It also was appropriate to have Fraleigh involved in Wednesday’s ceremony because his son, Brendan (’17, manager), received his Monogram jacket. The elder Fraleigh was a proud father and he addressed all the other families of the honorees.
“Let me send a big thank you to all the parents and family members joining us tonight who traveled from afar,” said Fraleigh. “I’d also like to thank those who are unable to attend. I think it’s fair to say that without their dedication, support and sacrifices, many of you would not be here this evening receiving your Monogram jackets. For those of you whose families could not be with us tonight, I ask one favor: When you leave here tonight, please send a text or make a phone call home just to say thanks. Let your parents and family members know how much you appreciate them and how grateful you are for all the sacrifices they made in support of you in reaching this milestone.”
Representing the newest generation of Monogram winners at the podium was Caroline Holt (’18, volleyball), who delivered the student-athlete remarks to close the ceremony. Holt, a setter from Bloomington, Illinois, discussed her decision to join the Notre Dame volleyball program following two seasons at Loyola-Chicago.
“It is so exciting to be part of the Notre Dame athletics community,” said Holt. “At Notre Dame there is a community of people who truly want greatness for one another. Athletes at Notre Dame are 100 percent committed and dream so big and achieve so much. That creates the environment and the culture that makes this place so much different than anywhere else in the world … I am absolutely humbled and honored to be here at Notre Dame.”
Here is a social media recap from the special evening…
2017 Spring Monogram Jacket Ceremony
First-Time Monogram Winners
Student Athletic Trainers
Men’s and Women’s Cross Country
Corinne Sullivan (Manager)
Mark Fronk (Video Technician)
Montgomery Van Gorder
Brendan Fraleigh (Manager)
Erin Lattimer (Manager)
Alexis Martel Lamothe
Daniel McKee (Manager)