Athletics News

Oct. 24, 1997

Notre Dame to Honor Gerald R. Ford

Ford Received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree in 1975

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Former President Gerald R. Ford is being presented with an honorary monogram by the University of Notre Dame National Monogram Club tomorrow at the Notre Dame-Boston College football game at Notre Dame Stadium.

Ford will be presented with his honorary monogram and certificate during pre-game ceremonies by University president Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., and University executive vice-president Rev. E William Beauchamp, C.S.C. He will be joined by National Monogram Club president Marty Allen and Allen's wife Sue in presenting the American flag to the color guard prior to the game.

Ford, who received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University in 1975, on Friday spoke to the Irish football squad.

"The selection of former President Ford for an honorary monogram came about for two reasons," said Allen.

"One, President Ford has had strong feelings about the benefits of intercollegiate athletics, dating back to when he played football at Michigan. Two, he has had a long-time interest in Notre Dame, including athletics, and over the years has developed a close, personal relationship with members of the Notre Dame administration, the coaching staffs and alumni."

Ford played center at the University of Michigan, earning all-Big Ten honors as a senior in 1934 while also being named that team's MVP. He played in the 1935 East-West Shrine game and the Chicago Tribune College All-Star game.

"I am highly complimented to be awarded an honorary athletic letter by the University of Notre Dame," said Ford

"Intercollegiate athletics have always been important to me. I am greatly impressed with the longstanding quality of Notre Dame's academic and athletic programs.

"As a part of a student's overall education, the athletic arena is a great classroom. The lessons I learned as a member of the University of Michigan's football team have been invaluable throughout my personal and public life.

"I am most grateful to the Board of Directors of Notre Dame's National Monogram Club for bestowing this honor on me."

The 38th president of the United States from 1974-77, Ford in 1959 was named to Sports Illustrated's Silver Anniversary All-America team. His football jersey number (48) was retired by the University of Michigan in 1994. He received the National Football Foundation's Gold Medal -- its highest individual honor -- in 1972.

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