April 5, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. –
The University of Notre Dame Monogram Club awarded letter jackets to 61 first-time Monogram winners at the organization’s annual spring letter jacket ceremony Wednesday night in the Joyce Center.
More than 150 individuals, including student-athletes, coaches, parents and administrators, gathered in Club Naimoli to celebrate an important Notre Dame tradition, started by the Monogram Club four years ago.
Although the organization has awarded letter jackets to varsity student-athletes since the Club’s inception in 1898, a formal ceremony was implemented in 2008 to properly honor student-athletes for the competitive accomplishments to which only 7,500 individuals in the history of Notre Dame can stake claim.
“Tonight is very special, as it marks an extraordinary milestone in the lives of these honorees,” Monogram Club executive director Beth Hunter said. “Through perseverance, dedication, and hard work, each of you has earned the right to become a part of the Monogram Club, which is certainly no small feat.”
After her remarks, Hunter introduced Notre Dame deputy athletics director Bill Scholl (’79), who compared the Notre Dame student-athlete community to an Olympic village, because of the elite level of accomplishment to which all 26 Irish varsity programs can stake claim. Individual student-athletes annually compete for national collegiate awards and teams set goals to win national championships, while numerous Irish student-athletes throughout the years have contended for gold medals at both the Olympic and world championship levels.
“You are surrounded by high achieving student-athletes,” Scholl said. “It’s not for the faint of heart. If you want to compete at the highest level, there is no place quite like Notre Dame.”
While the letter jacket symbolizes athletic accomplishments and academic success while at Notre Dame, it also serves as a reminder of the tenacity and effort it takes for student-athletes to achieve in the professional world once their time at the University has come to an end.
The importance of this memento was stressed by keynote speaker Allen Pinkett (’86), a two-time football All-American at Notre Dame and a seven-year veteran of the National Football League. Pinkett has served as the Notre Dame football radio color analyst for the past eight seasons.
“As a student-athlete, you have two jobs here at Notre Dame, and employers really appreciate that. Your accomplishment comes with great, great sacrifice,” Pinkett said. “Don’t minimize your Monogram. This is an elite group with great, great camaraderie.”
At the conclusion of Pinkett’s address to the student-athletes, Hunter welcomed faculty athletic representative Patricia Bellia to the podium, who invited the student-athletes up to the stage by sport. During the presentation of each group, coaches and administrators joined the athlete to celebrate the accomplishment, along with University president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. (’76, ’78), vice president for student affairs Rev. Tom Doyle, C.S.C. (’89, ’96) and Monogram Club president Dick Nussbaum (’74 & ’77, baseball).
After the announcement of each team, senior footballdefensive lineman Brandon Newman addressed his fellow student-athletes and spoke about the power of the Notre Dame Monogram and what it symbolizes for recipients of the prestigious honor.
“Hard work and dedication to greatness is a concept ingrained in us that often goes unmentioned on a day-to-day basis, but it is exactly what being a part of the Monogram Club is all about,” Newman said. “This esteemed University is so highly respected on a global scale because of the members of the Monogram Club, past and present. We are the faces of the University of Notre Dame, and that is an honor that comes with the responsibility of maintaining athletic excellence.”
Fr. Jenkins closed the ceremony by reminding the Monogram recipients that the skills developed during a career in athletics remain important and meaningful once four years at Notre Dame are complete.
“When you look at that letter jacket, you think of your athletic accomplishments, but think of those other qualities you’ve learned during your time here – courage, dedication, sacrifice, team, friendship, and spirit,” Jenkins said. “Those qualities will endure long after your participation in sport ends, and that’s what you’ll take from Notre Dame.”
— ND —
2012 SPRING LETTER JACKET RECIPIENTS
|Devin Blankinship||Goshen, Ind.||George Atkinson III||Livermore, Calif.|
|cheerleader||Kyle Brindza||Canton, Mich.|
|Zachary Brown||Banger, Pa.||Jonathan Frantz||Avon Lake, Ohio|
|cheerleader||Mike Grieco||Glen Ellyn, Ill.|
|Jimmy Catalino||Lansdale, Pa.||Andrew Hendrix||Cincinnati, Ohio|
|student athletic trainer||Chase Hounshell||Kirtland, Ohio|
|Joe Chavarria||Dallas, Texas||Ben Koyack||Oil City, Pa.|
|student athletic trainer||Christian Lombard||Inverness, Ill.|
|Caroline Corbett||Bellaire, Texas||Aaron Lynch||Cape Coral, Fla.|
|student athletic trainer||Dennis Mahoney||Baltimore, Md.|
|Anthony Cunningham||South Bend, Ind.||Dan McCarthy||Youngstown, Ohio|
|cheerleader||Kendall Moore||Cary, N.C.|
|Rob Dillard||Munday, Texas||Matthew Mulvey||Delmar, Calif.|
|student athletic trainer||Brandon Newman||Louisville, Ky.|
|Madeleine Genereux||Stillwater, Minn.||Troy Niklas||Fullerton, Calif.|
|cheerleader||Louis Nix III||Jacksonville, Fla.|
|Michael George||Eden Prairie, Minn.||Sean Oxley||Avon Lake, Ohio|
|cheerleader||Andrew Plaska||Zeeland, Mich.|
|Kirsten Groody||Vernon Hills, Ill.||Stephon Tuitt||Monroe, Ga.|
|student athletic trainer||Deion Walker||LaPorte, Ind.|
|Kelly Jenko||Lake Forest, Ill.|
|Laura Krahe||Erie, Pa.||Nick Besler||Overland Park, Kan.|
|student athletic trainer||Leon Brown||Mattapan, Mass.|
|Joseph Livingston||Lindenhurst, N.Y.||Ryan Finley||Lumberton, N.J.|
|cheerleader||Michael Knapp||Arlington, Texas|
|Bethany LoCicero||Brookfield, Ill.||Luke Mishu||Knoxville, Tenn.|
|student athletic trainer||Bob Novak||Homerglen, Ill.|
|Allyson Lopshire||Schaumburg, Ill.||Patrick Wall||Sugarland, Texas|
|student athletic trainer||Jennifer Kline (manager)|
|Nicholas Nowotarski||Des Plaines, Ill.|
|MacKenzie Nunez||Tallahassee, Fla.||Lauren Bohaboy||Mission Viejo, Calif.|
|student athletic trainer||Taylor Schneider||Southlake, Texas|
|Allison Rzepczynski||Naperville, Ill.||Sammy Scofield||Geneva, Ill.|
|cheerleader||Karin Simonian||Westbury, N.Y.|
|Matt Severson||Farmington, Minn.||Sarah Voigt||Middleburg, Fla.|
|student athletic trainer|
|Declan Sullivan (1990-2010)||Long Grove, Ill.||Volleyball|
|video technician||Toni Alugbue||Inglewood, Calif.|
|Albert Toscano||Pico Rivera, Calif.||Jeni Houser||Louisville, Ky.|
|student athletic trainer||Kathleen Severyn||Naperville, Ill.|
|Meghan Walsh||Inverness, Ill.||Meg Vonderhaar||Wheaton, Ill.|
|student athletic trainer|
|Men’s Cross Country|
|DJ Thornton||Rahway, N.J.|
|Women’s Cross Country|
|Gabby Gonzales||Florence, Ky.|