April 20, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind – In 1916, Irish Athletic Director and head football coach, Jesse Harper, along with his assistant, the legendary Knute Rockne, revived the vision of ND’s first football coach, Frank Hering. That vision was to bring together the University’s varsity letter winners, past and present, to promote spirit, unity, leadership, and sportsmanship. That vision was the Notre Dame Monogram Club.
Over 93 years later, I think that their extraordinary foresight, along with the leadership of Father James Riehle, has made our Notre Dame Monogram Club one of the premiere Varsity Letterwinner Clubs in the nation.
The Monogram Club has had 64 previous Presidents, and it has certainly been an honor and privilege for me to serve you the past two years as our 65th President. Serving as the President of the Monogram Club has been a wonderful experience, not only for the opportunity to continue to help support our incomparable athletic programs, but also to continue to bridge the gap between legend and legacy to benefit Notre Dame student-athletes of the past, the present and the future.
What makes it even more enjoyable, is that I have been privileged to accomplish that work with some of the finest, most dedicated people I have ever known. A special thanks to our Exec. Director Jim Fraleigh, one of my closest friends, who has been an exemplary and tireless leader for our Club.
So many individuals are deserving of our thanks for making the Monogram Club so special. Among them, other members of our incredible staff: Beth Hunter, Reggie Brooks, Jim Furlong, Andrew Sherwood, and Donnetta McClellan. I would also like to acknowledge the accomplishments of past ED Bill Scholl, past AD Kevin White, my predecessor Julie Doyle, and all of our Board members and Officers. And of course, we are fortunate to have the support of our first-class current AD, Jack Swarbrick.
Our Club’s achievements and growth in the past few years has been truly amazing: Over $3 million donated to help fund athletic dept. projects; a BBR scholarship fund in excess of $6 million, one of the University’s largest endowments; the creation of the CRF fund to help our members facing undue hardship; 35th anniversary of women athletes and 60th anniversary of black athletes celebrations; Heritage Hall and Monogram Room renovations; the new stadium football lounge for ex-players; the statue dedications of Coach Parseghian and Coach Holtz; Letterjacket ceremonies for first-time Monogram recipients; away game football tickets for our members; the Monogram Candle at the Grotto, and so much more.
As one of approximately 7,000 Monogram winners out of over 130,000 living alumni, you are indeed part of a very prestigious group. As we move into the future, I am confident that the Monogram Club will continue our tradition of excellence under the new leadership of incoming President Joe Restic, and VP Dick Nussbaum, both of these men are outstanding and dedicated professionals.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you during the past two years. I look forward to seeing you at upcoming Monogram Club events.
God, Country, and Notre Dame!
Marc Kelly ’82