Junior Pat Lenehan (Cheshire, Conn.), a two-year walk-on guard on the UConn men’s basketball team, has been named one of three UConn students to receive a 2014 Goldwater Scholarship, one of the most prestigious undergraduate academic honors in the nation.

UConn HuskiesLenehan, a Molecular Cell Biology major, is currently with the team in Buffalo, N.Y., where they are competing in the East Regional of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. He is an honors student who plans to earn an MD/PhD, become a research oncologist and advance treatments of pediatric patients with Cystic Fibrosis. At UConn, his stellar academic record has already earned him recognition as a Babbidge Scholar and he is also a recipient of the Presidential Scholars Award Scholarship and the United Technologies Corporation Academic Scholarship.

Michael Cantara (Barrington, R.I.), a sophomore honors student majoring in Engineering Physics, and Peter J. Larson, Jr. (New Canaan, Conn.), a junior honors student majoring in Pathobiology, join Lenehan as UConn’s 2014 Goldwater Scholarship recipients.

“I am very proud that the University of Connecticut has had three students named as 2014 Goldwater Scholarship recipients,” UConn President Susan Herbst said. “It is particularly exciting that during this time of March Madness, one of those students is Pat Lenehan — a member of our men’s basketball team. Pat balances an amazing schedule with all the demands of being a student-athlete and a very rigorous academic program that includes hours of both classroom and research time.

“We are very excited for Pat for his performance both on the court and in academics, as we are the entire men’s basketball program.”

The Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, named in honor of former Senator Barry Goldwater, who in the U.S. Senate for 30 years, was created to foster and encourage excellence in fields related to science, mathematics, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholars were nominated by faculties of colleges and universities nationwide and 283 recipients were selected from a field of 1,166 nominees. Virtually all of them intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.“I couldn’t be more proud of Pat’s accomplishments in the classroom or the hard work he contributes on the basketball court every day in practice,” UConn basketball coach Kevin Ollie said. “The Goldwater Scholarship organization couldn’t have selected a more deserving recipient. There’s no doubt in my mind that Pat is destined to achieve great things as he moves forward in life.”

Lenehan, 20, is the son of Mary and Kevin Lenehan of Cheshire. Currently, he is conducting research with Dr. Barbara Mellone on proteins and the formations of centromeres and kinetochores in Dosophilia.

“We are very proud of Pat and his success academically,” said UConn Athletics Director Warde Manuel, who announced Lenehan’s achievement to the basketball team at Friday afternoon’s practice, eliciting a huge cheer from his teammates. “He is a tremendous example of the excellence that our student-athletes can achieve. The way he combines his intense academic workload with his commitment to the basketball team is truly remarkable.”

Lenehan has also contributed to several publications on obstetrics. He is currently contributing to a publication of Dr. Melanie Collins, whom he shadowed in the Pulmonary Department at Central Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, on the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis.

“To become a Goldwater scholar, students must be more than straight-A students,” said Dr. Jill Deans, director of the Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships at UConn. “They must demonstrate a deep commitment to research. All three of our recipients have managed to achieve this level of excellence while contributing to the university community and beyond. Pat Lenehan’s intellect and talent, along with his dedication to his lab and devotion to the basketball team, is a mark of character and ability that will serve him and humanity for a lifetime.”

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