Dec. 10, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. –
To honor a generation of female athletes that laid the groundwork for four decades of women’s athletic excellence at Our Lady’s University, the Notre Dame department of athletics and the Monogram Club partnered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of co-education at Notre Dame and the passage of Title IX Saturday afternoon in the Joyce Center.
Held in conjunction with the Notre Dame women’s basketball team’s game against Utah State in Purcell Pavilion, the commemorative event featured appearances by some of the University’s most prominent early women athletes. The afternoon also included a halftime presentation that featured Notre Dame president emeritus Rev. Theodore Hesburgh – who made the decision to first admit women into Notre Dame in 1972 – as well as Monogram Club first vice president Haley Scott DeMaria (’95, swimming) and former board member Jill Matesic (’95, soccer).
Attendees enjoyed a pre-game brunch reception in Club Naimoli, before settling in to watch the Irish defeat Utah State, 109-70, in Purcell Pavilion.
Chris Marciniak (’77, fencing) represented Notre Dame’s early women athletes at the event, as Marciniak was one of the first five female student-athletes to receive a Monogram in the late 1970s.
“It was something I never expected to happen, but once I had the opportunity I worked like crazy to get there,” Chris Marciniak (’77) said. “I don’t think my daughters appreciate Title IX like I do because they had opportunities the entire time they were growing up. They didn’t realize that when I was in grade school and high school, there were few possibilities for women in sports.”
The first female student-athletes began their careers at Notre Dame in the early 1970s as members of interhall squads, interest groups and club teams. In 1976, women’s tennis and women’s fencing became official varsity sports, and from there, 12 more female programs would be added over the next 20 years.
Since those humble varsity beginnings in 1976, Fighting Irish women’s athletics programs have achieved astounding success while producing more than 200 All-Americans and eight national championships.
“Here at Notre Dame, it’s about so much more than athletics,” said Sally Duffy, a former women’s basketball coach at Notre Dame before the program achieved varsity status. “You see what these student-athletes go on to contribute and how they help make our society a better place while contributing to the common good. It’s truly a legacy of love and hope.”
— ND —