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Recent Grad Gives Back to the Game of Basketball, Gains Free Education

By Lauren Whetzel-Siburkis

Patrick Connaghan While some recent college graduates have already entered the workforce or continue their job search, Patrick Connaghan PhB'14 is preparing to leave for Ireland in August to further his education, continue his basketball career, and explore his Irish roots.

That’s because the former University of the Sciences student-athlete was selected as one of 13 international Victory Scholarship recipients through the Sport Changes Life Foundation. Scholars, like Connaghan, will have the opportunity to pursue their graduate degrees, continue to play or coach their sport of choice at all levels, and serve as mentors to disadvantaged, at-risk youth across Ireland.

"The game of basketball has taught me so much in terms of life lessons, such as perseverance and integrity,” said Connaghan, of Warrington, Bucks County. “I am thrilled to have the chance to inspire young people through a sport which has changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined.”

Through practical education and inspirational sports programs, Connaghan and his peers will closely work with young Irish students to help steer them down a path to a bright future. The purpose of the foundation is to demonstrate to youth that the valuable lessons learned through sports can change their lives and shape their futures.

This fall, Connaghan will begin the master of business program at the Institute of Technology, Carlow in southeast Ireland, and play on the University’s basketball team and/or the professional club basketball team. Other institutions that participate in this scholarship program, include University of Ulster; National University of Ireland, Galway; Limerick University; and Trinity College Dublin.

basketball“One of the best things I learned as a student-athlete at USciences was how to balance school, sports, and a social life,” said Connaghan. “As a young adult on my own for the first time in my life, I’m grateful that my coaches and mentors at USciences taught me how to manage my time in positive and productive manner.”

David Pauley, head coach of men's basketball at USciences, said it has been a privilege to coach Connaghan over the past four years, and watch him grow into a respected leader on and off the basketball court.

Connaghan is ranked among several lists of top 20 career leaders from the men’s basketball program at USciences. He is currently ranked seventh in offensive rebounds per game, as well as ninth in defensive rebounds per game.

“I plan on leaving a lasting impact on the youth of Ireland because I never want to see kids miss out on their full potential,” said Connaghan. “It is an honor and yet another dream come true to be a part of the Sport Changes Life family and continue my basketball career in an international setting.”

Follow Connaghan’s journey through Ireland at @Connaman on Twitter. 

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