In 2011, the Irish topped the list of all bowl eligible teams in the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (97) and African-American Graduation Success Rate (100), and the ND program continues to set the standard for academic excellence amongst FBS football programs. Key to that success has been Professor of Law and Notre Dame Presidential Fellow Patricia Bellia.
Since joining NDLS in 2000, Bellia has become well known to students for teaching popular courses in Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, and Cyberlaw, and to colleagues for being among the faculty’s best scholars (she has published numerous articles on Internet law and separation of powers and is the co-author of a leading cyberlaw casebook).
Perhaps less well known is that she is also in her third year as the University’s Faculty Athletics Representative to the NCAA and Chair of the University’s 15-member Faculty Board on Athletics. In that role, Bellia oversees the principal advisory group to the President on educational issues related to intercollegiate athletics. She also works closely with the football, volleyball, and women’s tennis programs as each team’s faculty liaison.
To recognize her for outstanding contributions to the academic performance of Notre Dame student-athletes, athletics director Jack Swarbrick surprised Bellia with an honorary Monogram at the Notre Dame Football Awards Show December 9 in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
Joining Swarbrick on stage for the presentation were Monogram Club president Dick Nussbaum (‘74, ’77), executive director Beth Hunter, Bellia’s husband, A.J., and daughters, Kate and Molly.
“When an athlete achieves greatness, we have a way of honoring that here,” Swabrick said. “We give them a very special memento of their achievement – the letter jacket – that speaks to them being part of a community that spans 125 years and includes thousands of people. And occasionally but rarely, we believe there’s a person whose contributions are so significant, they too ought to wear the Monogram jacket.”
“Tricia deserves this honor because she cares about the University and the integration of its athletic programs into the University more than any other faculty rep in America.”
A shocked Bellia took to the podium to accept her award and thanked University president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. (’76, ’78) for giving her the opportunity to become a part of the Notre Dame athletics community.
“It’s a privilege for me to work with the University’s student-athletes,” Bellia said. “I’m completely overwhelmed and honored that the Monogram Club would recognize me for the small role I play in trying to help them become all they can be here at Notre Dame.”
Bellia graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in government. As a Harvard undergraduate, she played varsity tennis and served on the executive committee of the Harvard-Radcliffe Foundation for Women’s Athletics. Before attending Yale Law School, she worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, serving as an editor for Foreign Policy magazine and co-authoring a book on self-determination movements. At Yale, she served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal, executive editor of the Yale Journal of International Law, and student director of the Immigration Legal Services Clinic.
Upon graduation in 1995, Bellia clerked for Judge José A. Cabranes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the Supreme Court of the United States. Before joining the Notre Dame faculty, she worked for three years as an attorney-advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice.