April 5, 2010

Notre Dame, Ind. – media-icon-photogallery.gifClick Here to see photos from the Spring Letter Jacket Ceremony

Since 1898, the University of Notre Dame has been awarding Monograms. For more than 50 years, the Monogram Club has recognized the achievements of Notre Dame student-athletes by presenting them with a letter jacket, featuring the Notre Dame Monogram, as a symbol of their hard work, sacrifice and contributions to their respective team.

On Wednesday night, the Monogram Club presented 85 first-time Monogram winners with their letter jackets during the second annual Spring Letter Jacket Ceremony.

Prior to the ceremony, which featured a welcome message from Monogram Club president Joe Restic ’79 and a keynote address by Monogram Club board member and 10-year NBA veteran Pat Garrity ’98, each of the first-time Monogram winners received their letter jacket upon entering the Monogram Room.

“Its exciting to put this jacket on for the first time tonight,” women’s soccer player Lindsey Brown said. “Getting this jacket makes me feel like all the hard work I put into the season has paid off.”

“I am very humbled to be wearing this jacket tonight because of what it means and represents,” Notre Dame cheerleader Adam Mathews said. “To learn tonight that only 8,000 of Notre Dame’s 120,000 graduates have earned a Monogram really puts into perspective what a huge honor this is.”

That moment the student-athletes first donned their letter jacket also had special meaning to the parents of the recipients, some of whom traveled across the country to be part of the ceremony.

“I flew out here tonight from Seattle because these are moments in life that you can’t relive and I wanted to be here to take part in this experience with my daughter,” said Notre Dame cheerleader Kelsey Ingram’s mother Elaine. “I am very proud of her for all the time and effort she has put in during her time at Notre Dame to make this moment possible.”

“It is a little emotional for me tonight to see my son with his Notre Dame letter jacket on for the first time, “said Mathew’s father Ricky. “This was a goal he had when he first arrived on campus, and to be able to see him achieve it really means a lot to me.”

Despite not having a letter jacket ceremony when they attended Notre Dame, the memories of the first time they wore their letter jackets around campus are still with Restic and Garrity years later.

“I got a phone call one January afternoon from our equipment manger telling me that I won my first Monogram,” Restic said. “I remember bolting out of my dorm room and sprinting across campus without a jacket on in the dead of winter because I was so excited to pick up my letter jacket and wear it for the first time.”

“When I first got to Notre Dame I remember seeing all the older athletes on campus wearing their jackets around so it made me want one even more,” Garrity said. “When I finally got mine it really made me feel like I was a part of the club and belonged here.”

With the continued tradition of the letter jacket ceremony, the Monogram Club hopes these new letter winners and their parents will take away memories of the evening that will be with them for a lifetime, just as Restic and Garrity have.