Friends for a Lifetime

Lauren Bellinger

As a member of the University of Cincinnati Women’s Tennis Team, Lauren Bellinger, BBA’17, received more than financial support from a student-athlete scholarship, she also had two fans rooting her on from the sideline.

As the recipient of the Margaret K. Valentine Scholarship at UC, Lauren was able to focus on athletics and academics. The scholarship is the first fully endowed scholarship for a women’s sport at UC.

Lauren also found two life-long friends in her scholarship’s donors, Michael “Mike” and Margaret “Peg” Valentine.

“Peg and Mike wanted me and my team to be successful in tennis but in the classroom too,” she says. “They really value being a student-athlete.”

Right at the beginning of Lauren’s time at UC, the Valentines showed their enthusiasm and care by attending her matches.

Lauren Bellinger“It’s really cool that I have a personal relationship with them, am able to see them, thank them in person and explain to them how much they did to help and support me,” Lauren says. “Seeing people like Mike and Peg sets an example for me.”

She’s grateful that the Valentines took a risk on her and could see her potential. Her scholarship alleviated pressure so she could focus in the classroom and perform on the court.

Today, Lauren lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and works as a sales manager for a tech start-up and coaches tennis in her free time. Her career as a student-athlete set her up for a career she loves and thanks to her scholarship, she does not have student debt.

“My scholarship changed my life,” she says. “It’s something I’m forever indebted to and why I feel I need to give back to UC and help others. It gave me experiences, memories and friends that will never be replaced.”

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