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Notre Dame Announces Creation of Frazier Thompson Award

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame Athletics Department and the Monogram Club have announced the creation of the Frazier Thompson Award, which will recognize outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion by Monogram Club members and others in the Notre Dame community. The award is named in honor of Frazier Thompson (‘47, track & field), Notre Dame’s first Black Monogram winner.

The Monogram Club will work with Athletics leadership to align this new award with other initiatives related to diversity, inclusion and engagement, including the StaND Together platform. StaND Together, which was launched in the summer of 2020 by Notre Dame student-athletes, focuses on six main avenues for change: listen, amplify, focus, diversify, engage and vote.

“Frazier Thompson was a pioneer at the University and his impressive legacy will live on through this award,” Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C, said. “Notre Dame’s commitment to diversity and inclusion goes to the heart of our mission, to who we are and to what we want to be, and it is most fitting that we recognize those doing outstanding work in this regard. This award not only illuminates Frazier’s exemplary contributions but also the ongoing efforts of those who work tirelessly to advance justice and equality in our society.”

Frazier Thompson Award recipients will receive a $10,000 grant to be donated to an organization that will further diversity and inclusion. Grants will be funded by the creation of the Frazier Thompson Award Fund, generously gifted and endowed through the benefaction of Monogram Club President Don Casey (’82, ’83, swimming) and his wife, Ann.

“Notre Dame Athletics is built around excellence, tradition, community, service and diversity,” Don Casey said. “Ann and I are pleased to help the Monogram Club support that by recognizing one of Notre Dame’s pioneers, Frazier Thompson, by creating an award that recognizes and furthers diversity and inclusion within Notre Dame Athletics.”

During World War II, Thompson was part of the V-12 Naval College Training Program at Notre Dame. After his stint in the trainee program concluded, he enrolled as an undergraduate at Notre Dame, and later joined the track & field team as a sprinter. Thompson became Notre Dame’s first Black graduate, earning a degree in pre-professional studies. He would go on to work with the U.S. Postal Service and NASA. Thompson passed away in 1991.

“I couldn’t be more excited for the partnership between Notre Dame Athletics and the Monogram Club on the creation of the Frazier Thompson Award,” Angie Torain, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Culture, Diversity and Engagement, said. “As we continue our focus on positive change within the Notre Dame community, this award will complement and amplify the ‘StaND Together’ initiatives and create opportunities to recognize members of the Notre Dame family who are making a true impact in the space of diversity and inclusion.”

Nominations for the annual award will be solicited by the Monogram Club board and staff. Recipients will be chosen by the Monogram Club board, with approval of Athletics and University leadership and subject to NCAA compliance rules.