Cook played for the Fighting Irish softball team in 1991 and '92 at second base, shortstop and catcher

Melissa Cook Stadium Groundbreaking Ceremony Set For April 28

April 27, 2007

(from the 35th Anniversary of Women’s Athletics Brunch on April 29)

The groundbreaking ceremony for Melissa Cook Stadium, a new facility for the Notre Dame softball program, will be held at 10:00 a.m. EDT, on Sat., April 28, at the corner of Edison and Twyckenham roads on the southeast edge of the University of Notre Dame campus.

Linda and Paul Demo, the mother and stepfather of Notre Dame alumna Melissa Cook, who made a generous $3 million gift to the University for the construction of the new stadium in her memory, will be present for the ceremony.

Cook, a 1994 Notre Dame graduate, was one of four people killed in March of 2002 when a massive section of scaffolding fell from the John Hancock Center onto her car in downtown Chicago. Cook’s cousin, Jill Nelson, also died and Linda Demo and Nelson’s mother were among the seven people injured in the accident.

The families of those who died and were injured reached a settlement with the skyscraper’s owners and other companies named in a joint lawsuit. The Demos have devoted much of their portion of the settlement as a gift to Notre Dame and to the Melissa Cook Memorial Foundation, which has been established to provide financial assistance to students from Northwest Indiana to the college of their choice.

Raised in Merrillville, Ind., Cook played for the Fighting Irish softball team in 1991 and ’92, at second base, shortstop and catcher. She led the team in triples as a freshman and earned a monogram. An accountancy major, she earned her bachelor’s degree and was the controller for Teamsters Union Local 786 prior to her death.

Melissa Cook Stadium, a $4.8 million facility, will be built on the southeast corner of the Notre Dame campus, near Eck Baseball Stadium.

All members of the media and invited guests are welcome to attend the ceremony. A continental breakfast will be served at the field immediately following the event.

“The groundbreaking of The Melissa Cook Stadium is one of the most exciting days in Notre Dame softball history,” head coach Deanna Gumpf says.

“The Stadium represents the future of our program and the legacy of one our own. The groundbreaking of this stadium, dedicated to a women’s sport, could not come at a more fitting time as we celebrate 35 years of women’s athletics at Notre Dame.”