Nov 9, 2017, 1:17 PM EDT
Over 100 Notre Dame student-athletes and student support staff members reached a milestone moment of their Fighting Irish careers Wednesday evening as they received their Monogram jackets. The Monogram Club hosted its fall Monogram Jacket Ceremony in front of a packed house inside Club Naimoli. The first-time Monogram winners from Notre Dame’s winter and spring sports shared the momentous occasion with family, friends, teammates, coaches and administrators.
Someone who could relate to the honorees was Rev. Mark Thesing ’81, ’85, ‘92, who recently was bestowed an honorary Monogram. Father Thesing is the chaplain for the Monogram Club and the football team and he delivered the event’s invocation.
Notre Dame Vice President and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick (’76, honorary) then took to the podium.
“The fact that there are so many people here tonight speaks to the significance of the evening,” said Swarbrick. “Especially to those members who have traveled here tonight, we are honored by your presence. We’re honored that you entrusted your sons and daughters to this University, and we’re honored that you recognized the importance of this evening and the significance of their work.
“This event has grown in significance because it reflects the significance of the award.
“With this jacket, you are not only certified to having accomplished much in your athletic career at Notre Dame, you are now certified to represent Notre Dame. That’s what the Monogram ultimately means. It means you join a club of people who have gone through the same experiences you have, who have managed those experiences with the same success you have and who have gone on to represent this University.”
A great representative of the University and Monogram Club is Allen Greene (’99, baseball), who was the event’s featured alumni speaker. Greene, a three-time Monogram winner, currently is the director of athletics at the University at Buffalo.
“Returning to campus this time is different because I’m here to help represent what the Monogram Club is and that’s an incredibly humbling experience,” said Greene.
“Regardless of who you are, what year you are in school, the Monogram Club is here to help you. No matter your walk of life or your major, we are here because we care. We have gone through some of the same things that you are currently going through.
“There are so many people among this group who care about your experiences. My hope is that as you make your way through this world in the years to come, that you think about, as Jack (Swarbrick) said, all the people who have helped get you to this place.
“You will always be supported by this network of Monogram winners, a very select group of people who care about your futures and careers … the Monogram Club is a place for greatness. We are a special group of people. Carry this with you throughout your life, it will be incredibly valuable.”
A special moment during every Monogram Jacket Ceremony is the student-athlete reflection, which is given by one of the first-time Monogram recipients. Mike O’Leary, a sophomore forward on the Fighting Irish hockey team, represented his peers with a tremendous speech to close the evening.
“Growing up in Halifax, Nova Scotia I never imagined I’d end up at a prestigious school like Notre Dame,” said O’Leary.
“Like all of you sitting here before me, I immediately understood how special this place was when I first stepped on campus. I was sitting on the couch in my coach’s office when I turned to my dad to say this is where I wanted to spend my next four years. When we got in the car to leave, my dad revealed to me that one of my grandmother’s last wishes was for me to choose Notre Dame. Although I’m the first person in my family to attend Notre Dame, it’s special that my grandmother and the rest of my family are part of the Notre Dame family, too.
“Notre Dame had everything I wanted in a university, but I didn’t truly realize what makes this place special. Standing up here tonight, I now understand why Notre Dame changes people. Notre Dame pushes you and pushes you until you feel like you have nothing left to give. Whether in practice or the classroom, you have to give 100 percent all the time or you’re not going to see the results that you want. The standards that are set are high, and that’s a good thing.
“When you receive your jacket today, think about all the people who have come before you, those who are here now and those who will come. You have earned it, and you will represent them.”
Here’s a look back at the special evening…
2017 Fall Monogram Jacket Ceremony
First-Time Monogram Winners
Brian Simon (manager)
Leah Walsh (manager)
Allison Griffith (manager)
Ashley DeJonge (senior manager)
Garrett Fisher (senior manager)
Travis Tredway (senior manager)
Emily Hession (manager)
Jenna Sobczyk (manager)
Noah Wilson (manager)
MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING
Due to traveling for a competition, the first-time Monogram winners from the men’s and women’s swimming & diving team could not participate in Wednesday’s event. A special ceremony was held for them prior to their home meet versus Georgia Tech on Oct. 20.
Former swimmer Aiden Sweeney, a 2017 graduate, was able to attend the ceremony and receive his jacket.
WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING
Mary Kathryn Smith
MEN’S TRACK & FIELD
WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD