Born Leader

Senior Denise BeliveauWhen Denise Beliveau scored her 1,000th career point as a UNH Wildcat on December 3, she made it look easy. The layup early in the first half, however, her first basket of the game, made her only the sixteenth player in program history to achieve the feat. Throughout her distinguished career, the senior captain from Framingham, Mass., has long made the remarkable look commonplace, from earning America East Rookie of the Year honors her freshman year to maintaining a spot on the America East Honor Roll every season to overcoming a number of what for many might prove to be career-ending injuries.

A grad student who extended her NCAA eligibility the hard way—sitting out the 2008–09 season after knee surgery and suffering serious facial injuries the following two—Beliveau has served as a team captain for the past four years. Over that time, the 5’11” forward has not only proven herself an exceptional all-around player, leading the team in both scoring and rebounding in the 2010–11 season and notching top-10 rankings in scoring, rebounding, free-throw percentage, three-pointers made, and three-point percentage in America East, but also a leader off the court. In addition to working toward a graduate degree in Leadership and Children’s Health and Disabilities, she volunteers with several organizations in the Seacoast area, serves as an academic tutor and mentor at Oyster River Middle School, and is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. “Denise is a proven leader who has battled through a great deal of adversity throughout her career,” says head coach Maureen Magarity. “Her work ethic on the court and in the classroom have been exemplary.”

Named the Massachusetts Female Athlete of the Year by both the Boston Globe and the Metro West Daily News her senior year of high school, Beliveau was wooed by a number of Division I athletic programs—with offers in both basketball and lacrosse. She chose UNH because she liked the basketball team and the campus, and Durham felt just far enough away from home. The generous scholarship support the University was able to offer her was the icing on the cake.

“The opportunity to have a basketball scholarship means a future for me,” she says. “The support I’ve received has helped my parents out financially and I’ve been able to get a good, quality education that also allows me to do something I love every day.”

It’s not easy to balance workouts, academics, a social life, and sleep as a top-level athlete, but Beliveau says she wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s a privilege for me to represent the University in a positive manner,” she says. For UNH, it’s been a privilege to nurture Beliveau’s successful career.