Oct. 9, 2015
Last month former Fighting Irish lacrosse standout Kevin O’Connor (’89) began a two-year term as president of the Monogram Club, which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary.
A three-time Monogram winner, O’Connor captained Coach Kevin Corrigan’s 1989 squad, earning first team selections to the All-Great Lakes Conference and All-Midwest team.
O’Connor, former Associate Attorney General of the United States – the third-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Justice – and United States Attorney for Connecticut, currently serves as General Counsel for Point72 Asset Management in Stamford, Connecticut.
O’Connor also is Vice Chair of the Board of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center and is a board member of the National Association of Former United States Attorneys.
He resides in Greenwich, Connecticut with his wife, Kathleen, and their four children.
Q: What excites you most about being president of the Monogram Club?
A: “It’s the opportunity to continue the mission of the Club, which is to support the University and its student-athletes and to be part of an organization that’s giving back for all of the benefits we received as student-athletes. It’s wonderful to continue to be engaged with athletics at Notre Dame well beyond the time I’m actually able to step on the field.”
Q: Discuss the significance of the Club’s 100-year anniversary celebration.
A: “It gives us an opportunity to do what we do best, which is to step back and look at all the people who have come through Notre Dame, excelled on the athletic fields and now have been remarkably successful in the private and the public sectors during their careers.
“Our goal is to use the 100-year anniversary not to celebrate the organization, but to celebrate our members and celebrate their accomplishments. We’ll let people know just how accomplished so many former student-athletes are and highlight some of the amazing things they’ve done since leaving Notre Dame.”
Q: What are some goals you have for your presidency?
A: “We’re looking at the 100-year anniversary as an opportunity to really promote to our current student-athletes the concept that coming to Notre Dame is not a four-year decision, but a 40-year decision. When they hear more and more stories of the incredibly successful former student-athletes who’ve gone on to do great things in the world, it’ll reaffirm to those who have come to Notre Dame to play sports that they’ve made the right decision.
“We also think it’ll send a message externally that this really is a 40-year decision and you can come here and be successful on the field, but more importantly you set yourself up to be successful well after your playing days are over.
“We’ll continue to do so many of the other things that the Club is doing on the community service front and the social front as far as providing opportunities for Monogram winners to get together, not just at Notre Dame, but across the country. We’ll have service and networking events in conjunction with the Shamrock Series in Boston in addition to having a reception. At the Stanford game, we’ll do our annual golf outing, the Riehle Open, in San Francisco at TPC Harding Park. We’re trying to bring the Club out to its members. We recognize that a lot of our members aren’t able to come back to campus. They might be at a stage of life with young kids or in grad school where they can’t make it back. It’s incumbent on us to bring the Club to them and we’ll continue to do more and more of that.”
Q: How has being a Monogram winner at Notre Dame propelled you during your life after college?
A: “It’s very interesting. I find that there is an incredible curiosity in the professional sector over the fact I was a Notre Dame student-athlete. In every job I’ve held, one of the most common questions I was asked during the interview process, and after I started the job, was about my experience at Notre Dame as a student-athlete. I found it was something that made me unique when I was interviewing. It was something that allowed me to talk about the values of being a Notre Dame athlete, not just the values of hard work and time management, but about sportsmanship, collegiality and teamwork. Those are the values that translate very well from the playing field to the office setting. When you play sports at Notre Dame, you’re getting exposed to very hardworking and disciplined people every day and it rubs off on you in a very positive way.”
Q: What advice have past Monogram Club presidents given you?
A: “I have the benefit of still being surrounded by a handful of former presidents. After having served on the board as an officer for almost 10 years, I feel very well prepared because of that as I enter the role.
“I know they are just a phone call away. We have two past presidents who will remain on the board and then we have Marty Allen, who is our board member emeritus. I feel lucky to be surrounded by people who have a lot more institutional knowledge than I do. But at the same time, we’re bringing on new members. It’s a mixture of people who understand the history of the Club and what we’ve done in the past, but also people coming on with new ideas. It’s a really unique time for the Club and I’m excited.”
Q: What advice would you give to young alums who are exploring what the Club can offer them?
A: “I would tell them the Club is a lot more than just football ticket privileges. To a lot of young athletes they say, “Well I’m going to join the Club because it’s a good way to get ticket preferences.” Certainly we’re very grateful to the University for allowing us to offer that benefit, but there is so much more about the Club.
“We have the Monogram Career Network, which if you’re out there in the professional world and thinking about a career change, which is more common in your first 10 years out than your second or third 10 (years) out of Notre Dame, there are so many opportunities to network and meet people. In the last year alone over 100 student-athletes have benefitted from that network.
“The Club also allows you to come back to campus and reengage with your teammates. We sponsor reunions for teams that have won national championships and conference championships. We celebrate certain milestones in the coaches’ careers. It’s really an opportunity to stay connected to the University long after your playing days have ended. The Club also has benefits to those in their professional careers as well.”