Tricia Bellia (center) with her husband, A.J. (left), daughters, Kate and Molly, and Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick (photo by Mike Bennett)

Faculty Athletics Representative Tricia Bellia Awarded Honorary Monogram

Dec. 13, 2011


If earning a berth in the BCS Championship game was based solely on academic performance, the Notre Dame football team would be playing for a national title in just a few weeks time.

The Irish topped the list of all bowl eligible teams in the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (97) and African-American Graduation Success Rate (100) in 2011, and the program continues to set the standard for academic excellence amongst FBS football programs.

A support staff that provides the tools for student-athletes to achieve in the classroom is paramount to Notre Dame’s high marks in these categories, and there is no more influential member of this support team than faculty athletic representative Tricia Bellia.

To recognize her for outstanding contributions to the academic performance of Notre Dame student-athletes, athletics director Jack Swarbrick surprised Bellia with an honorary Monogram at the Notre Dame Football Awards Show December 9 in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Joining Swarbrick on stage for the presentation were Monogram Club president Dick Nussbaum (’74, ’77), executive director Beth Hunter, Bellia’s husband, A.J., and daughters, Kate and Molly.

“When an athlete achieves greatness, we have a way of honoring that here,” Swabrick said. “We give them a very special memento of their achievement – the letter jacket – that speaks to them being part of a community that spans 125 years and includes thousands of people. And occasionally but rarely, we believe there’s a person whose contributions are so significant, they too ought to wear the Monogram jacket.”

“Tricia deserves this honor because she cares about the University and the integration of its athletic programs into the University more than any other faculty rep in America.”

A shocked Bellia took to the podium to accept her award and thanked University president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. (’76, ’78) for giving her the opportunity to become a part of the Notre Dame athletics community.

“It’s a privilege for me to work with the University’s student-athletes,” Bellia said. “I’m completely overwhelmed and honored that the Monogram Club would recognize me for the small role I play in trying to help them become all they can be here at Notre Dame.”

A professor of law and Notre Dame Presidential Fellow in the Notre Dame Law School, Bellia is in her third year as the chair of the Faculty Board and the University’s NCAA faculty athletics representative. In that role, Bellia oversees the the principal advisory group to the President on educational issues related to intercollegiate athletics. She also works closely with the football and volleyball programs as each team’s faculty liaison.

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2000, Bellia teaches and conducts research in the areas of constitutional law, administrative law, cyberlaw, electronic surveillance law, and copyright law. She is a co-author of a leading cyberlaw casebook and has published several articles on Internet law and separation of powers.

Bellia graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in government. As a Harvard undergraduate, she played varsity tennis and served on the executive committee of the Harvard-Radcliffe Foundation for Women’s Athletics. Before attending Yale Law School, she worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, serving as an editor for Foreign Policy magazine and co-authoring a book on self-determination movements. At Yale, she served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal, executive editor of the Yale Journal of International Law, and student director of the Immigration Legal Services Clinic.

Upon graduation in 1995, Bellia clerked for Judge José A. Cabranes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the Supreme Court of the United States. Before joining the Notre Dame faculty, she worked for three years as an attorney-advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice.