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Inside Irish - April 2019

A Message From The Monogram Club President

It was great to see so many Monogram Club members on campus last weekend for the Blue-Gold game. The Club’s board was in town for its spring meeting and we had the privilege to present Rocky Bleier with the Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award. It was tremendous to showcase Rocky’s remarkable story during the award luncheon, a dinner with the current football team and football alumni and at the Blue-Gold game.

Next week the Monogram Club will welcome its newest members during the spring Monogram Jacket Ceremony. We are thrilled to have Justin Tuck (’05) as the featured alumni speaker. Justin has had great success both on and off the football field and he will surely deliver an outstanding message to the honorees.

Speaking of the newest Monogram Club members, the Club recently bestowed an honorary Monogram upon John Affleck-Graves. He has had a major impact on the University – and Athletics Department – during his 15 years as executive vice president. I want to wish him the best of luck on his upcoming retirement!

The Monogram Club partnered with the Notre Dame Alumni Association and local ND clubs for events in Chicago and Tampa during the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament. I had the opportunity to attend Final Four festivities in Tampa (pictured). It was wonderful to see so many Monogram Club members and Fighting Irish fans there to support the team during another incredible run!

Finally, I want to acknowledge four Monogram Club board members – Christina Glorioso (’95, ’99, manager), Jim Montagano (’81, baseball), Maureen “Mo” Whitaker (’02, lacrosse) and Linda Wilson (’09, softball) – who recently completed their terms on the board. Thank you for everything you’ve contributed to the Monogram Club over the past four years!

I hope you have a very happy Easter with your families and friends.

Go Irish!
Terri Vitale (’94, ’95 tennis)

Rocky Bleier Presented Moose Krause Award

Last Friday, Rocky Bleier (’68, football) was presented the Edward “Moose” Krause Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor the Monogram Club bestows on one of its members. A luncheon was held inside Corbett Family Hall and Bleier also was recognized the following day during the Blue-Gold game. Bleier noted during his acceptance speech that Friday (April 12) marked 55 years to the day that he signed his letter of intent to come to Notre Dame.

As a running back at Notre Dame, Bleier helped the program win the 1966 national championship and was a team captain in 1967. Bleier graduated from the University in 1968 and spent one season with the Pittsburgh Steelers before being drafted by the U.S. Army and sent to Vietnam. While in Vietnam, Bleier’s platoon was ambushed and he suffered serious injuries to both of his legs. His courageous service earned him the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal.

Bleier’s wounds required extensive rehabilitation, but he worked his way back to become the Steelers’ starting tailback in 1974 and helped the organization win four Super Bowls over the next six seasons before retiring from the NFL. WATCH VIDEO

Blue-Gold Weekend Recap

The Monogram Club partnered with the football program for Notre Dame Football Alumni Weekend, which coincided with the 90th annual Blue-Gold game. Festivities included a special viewing of the documentary “Hesburgh”, the unveiling of the newest All-America plaques at Notre Dame Stadium, a dinner on Friday for the current Fighting Irish football team, their families, coaches and football alumni. That event provided a great opportunity for the many eras of Notre Dame football to come together and connect.

On Saturday, Monogram Club members gathered for a brunch inside O’Brien’s at the Compton Family Ice Arena before cheering on the Fighting Irish at several sporting events across campus. READ MORE

John Affleck-Graves Receives Honorary Monogram

The Monogram Club recently presented John Affleck-Graves with an honorary Monogram for his years of service as Notre Dame executive vice president and his support of Fighting Irish Athletics. The surprise presentation took place inside Club Naimoli at Purcell Pavilion following Affleck-Graves’ town hall address to the Athletics department. It was the final such meeting as Affleck-Graves will retire from the University in June.

Affleck-Graves was elected executive vice president April 30, 2004, by the Board of Trustees. He holds the Notre Dame Chair in Finance and previously served for three years as vice president and associate provost. His responsibilities include administration of an operating budget of $1.6 billion and an endowment of more than $13 billion. Additionally, he oversees human resource activities for a work force of more than 5,000 employees – the largest in St. Joseph County – and directs the University’s construction program, which has renovated and built numerous athletic venues over the past 15 years. READ MORE

Justin Tuck To Be Featured Alumni Speaker At Spring Monogram Jacket Ceremony

Fighting Irish gridiron great, and two-time Super Bowl champion, Justin Tuck (’05) will be the featured alumni speaker at the spring Monogram Jacket Ceremony. The event will be held Wednesday, April 24 inside Club Naimoli at Purcell Pavilion.

The ceremony will honor first-time Monogram winners from Notre Dame’s fall sports, along with student managers, athletic trainers, video technicians and cheerleaders. Alohi Gilman, a junior safety on the Notre Dame football team, will give the student-athlete reflection. READ MORE


Women’s Basketball NCAA Tournament Events

The Monogram Club partnered with the Notre Dame Alumni Association and local ND clubs for events during the women’s basketball team’s run to the national championship game. Prior to the Sweet 16 game against Texas A&M, an event was held at Flo & Santos in Chicago. At the Final Four in Tampa, receptions were held at American Social before to the semifinal and final. Thank you to everyone who attended and for your continued support of the Fighting Irish!

RSVP For Monogram Club Golf Outing

The Monogram Club Golf Outing in honor of Father Riehle will be held Thursday, May 30 at the Warren Golf Course. It will be a shotgun format with a reception afterward. The golf outing will be the final event at the Warren Golf Course before it plays host to the U.S. Senior Open Championship in June. Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of this unique opportunity!

The reception will take place from 4-7 p.m. (ET) inside the Warren Golf Course Clubhouse. The longest-drive and closest-to-the-pin prizes will be announced at the reception.

Cost per golfer for round of golf & reception (Monogram winner and guests) is $100.00, which includes greens fees, golf cart, driving range, tees, golf balls, a commemorative gift, box lunch, drink ticket and post-golf reception. Cost per foursome is $400.00. For those not golfing, you can attend the reception for $25.00 per person. Each foursome must include at least one Monogram winner. Please respond to this email if you need additional information and/or the link to register.

Catching Up With Olivia Mitchell (’16, Cheer)

Dorm: Badin Hall
Major: Marketing and English
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Occupation: Mitchell works with the Notre Dame football program as assistant director of football operations.

Why did you choose to attend Notre Dame?
“I came to Notre Dame for a diversity recruitment weekend and fell in love with it. The community, the athletics, the academics and there was such a different feel being on campus. My first sporting event was a hockey game. I had never seen a hockey game before, but the student section was crazy. To me, that was one of the highlights because I had never experienced anything like that in high school. It was great to know that the student body was so ingrained in the sport culture.”

What was your experience like as a member of the cheerleading team?
“It was amazing. I didn’t imagine that I could be myself so fully with such a diverse group of people. It was also about learning their experiences as students, as people and teaching them about mine as well. It was a place where I was able to grow so much as a person because I had all these supportive people around me.

“My favorite trip was the USC football trip. I had never been to California. We were hosted by a couple who were very involved in the Notre Dame club out there even though they didn’t go to Notre Dame. They took us paddle boarding, we had a picnic on the beach and the Monogram Club contributed to our trip to Disneyland. That was definitely a highlight for me.”

How did you become involved with the football program?
“During my freshman year I emailed everybody in athletics who I could find an email for because I was looking for a job. I was able to get into recruiting with the football program. I worked all four years in recruiting and gained relationships, which are crucial in this industry. I had several internships over the summer and my job right out of school was with the CFP (College Football Playoff). Jack Swarbrick helped me along that path by talking to people for me. It was a year-long internship and once that was coming to an end, I got a call here that said the operations position was opening up. Of course, if you’re going to do operations anywhere, you’d hope to do it for a place you’re passionate about. Notre Dame is a place that has such a reach, from going to California and to Ireland in a couple years and it’s a place that will challenge me.”

What are the best and most demanding parts of your job?
“The best and most demanding parts are working with the student-athletes. The best part is that you see these young men grow into mature adults. I always talk about the transition of the juniors from the season to the spring. It’s the biggest maturity difference as they become leaders on the team. Watching them grow and being able to support them is the most fulfilling part.

“When I got here, I had some operations experience from the CFP, but I didn’t really understand what it was like to work with a team. Communicating with the student-athletes and dealing with their demanding schedules, but also needing information from them, was a challenge. Learning how to communicate with them to get the best out of them and get the information that I need for coach, is one of the biggest challenges. You’re also dealing with a lot of different personalities and time demands, but it’s fun and when things are going well, it’s amazing.”

What are your career aspirations as you look at the next 5-10 years?
“It changes every day. Because I was blessed to start off so young and be able to do something that I’m very passionate about, operations is definitely the path and where I see myself years from now. Where that falls, I’m not exactly sure. Whether it’s in college athletics or professional, I’m still figuring that part out. I do know that I want to be in a support role, encouraging and helping athletes.”

Looking back from your first visit to campus to now, what does it mean to be part of the Notre Dame family?
“If you would have told me in high school that Notre Dame would mean this much to me, I probably wouldn’t have understood it at all. That’s because I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it wasn’t for the Notre Dame family, the alumni network that we have and the Monogram Club. I had this vision of what I wanted to do, but there aren’t many people who really understand athletics or football offices. To be able to reach out to people who are former athletes now working in professional athletics, or former athletes working here at Notre Dame, is great. Being able to use that network and being blessed to have that network really propelled my career. I honestly couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

Make A Gift To The Rockne Athletics Fund

Thank you to all the Monogram Club members who have contributed to the Rockne Athletics Fund. By contributing to the Rockne Athletics Fund, you not only are making a lasting impact on the current, former and future generations of Notre Dame Athletics, but Monogram Club members continue to receive many of the same access to Monogram Club experiences they have enjoyed in the past. CLICK HERE TO MAKE A GIFT

Support The Monogram Club During ND Day!

The sixth annual Notre Dame Day will take place April 28-29. Notre Dame Day is a 29-hour celebration of the University. The Notre Dame family competes to raise money for their favorite areas of campus, and a live broadcast tells hundreds of amazing stories of students, professors, alumni, and friends of Notre Dame who are making an impact all over the world. Keep an eye out for the many Monogram Club members taking part in the broadcast!

Contributions directed towards the Monogram Club during Notre Dame Day will assist with the mission of the Rockne Athletics Fund to support the many generations of Notre Dame Athletics. CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT THE MONOGRAM CLUB ON ND DAY


Notre Dame Football Summer Camps Are Open For Registration 

Notre Dame Football Camps are available in June for athletes Grades 2 – 12. Don’t miss out on the chance to train with the best coaches in college football. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

CLICK HERE to see a full list of Notre Dame sport camps and clinics.



Bread Of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive

The Monogram Club once again is encouraging its members to support Coach Lou Holtz (honorary) and the Lou’s Lads Foundation for the Notre Dame Bread of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive. The Bread of Life Food Drive (BOLD) is an annual springtime event started in 1992 by the Notre Dame Club of Staten Island. A unique feature of this initiative is that it’s held during a time of year when food pantries have been depleted of food donations made during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

In the six years since Lou’s Lads joined the Notre Dame Bread of Life Food Drive it has expanded to 31 states, 250 cities across America and seven foreign countries. During the past five years, BOLD has collected almost two million items of food for people in need across the United States.

The 2019 drive will begin in late March and run through the last week of June. Participation in the food drive is very convenient and easy to do. Simply collect non-perishable food items and deliver them to a food bank/pantry in your community.

To become involved in this effort, please reach out to Joe Delaney at or 718-967-9825. Delaney is the Director of the Bread of Life Food Drive for the Notre Dame Club of Staten Island and also serves as the Executive Director of the ND Bread of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive nationwide. He will be happy to answer any questions you may have about how to participate in this effort. We ask each Monogram Club member who participates to take a photo of their food delivery and provide the name of the recipient organization. Please email the photos and information to Joe Delaney.