Women’s tennis senior captain Kelly Dennis (Cincinnati, Ohio), who embodies what it means to be a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) DII student-athlete at Chestnut Hill College, has been selected as one of five finalists for the 10th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup. Founded by Athletes for a Better World (ABW), a non-profit organization committed to changing the culture of American sports, the Wooden Cup is unique award presented annually to athletes, collegiate and professional, who serve as outstanding role models.
A three-time, All-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) performer on the court and through her work with Unified for UNIFAT, a hero to the world around her, Dennis personifies what it means to be a student-athlete at the NCAA Division II level. Extremely active in her community, she is the founder and President of Chestnut Hill College’s Unified for UNIFAT (U4U), a service club that she was first introduced to U4U as a high school student at Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati, Ohio. U4U seeks to bring aid and awareness, financially and emotionally, to the children of Gulu, Northern Uganda, who have been invisible victims of Joseph Kony’s political upheaval and the Lord's Resistance Army’s (LRA) crimes against humanity.
Upon arrival at Chestnut Hill College, Dennis' efforts at Mount Notre Dame were known; she was identified by faculty members Sister Mindy Welding and Dr. Marie Conn as a student leader who could make an immediate impact on campus. Within two years, with Dennis serving as president, the Chestnut Hill College U4U club has grown to more than 75 members. Thanks to the work of Dennis and her fellow U4U members, the College has raised more than $2,000 for the education of Anena Patience, Olara Douglas, and Fungaroo Moses, while hosting annual Fair Trade events that help support those in need of basic human necessities by returning all sales to the Central American, South American, and African artisans.
Dennis is also a member of Chestnut Hill College's Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), the Serving and Learning Together (SALT) program, the College's Campus Ministry program, as well as countless retreats and service opportunities such as the Shriners, the Chestnut Hill College Empty Bowl Dinner, and TOMS “One Day without Shoes”.
Dennis is Chestnut Hill College tennis’ all-time leader in wins (123-48, .719), responsible for a 58 singles victories (58-25 (.699) overall, 44-20 (.688) @ #2) and 65 doubles wins (65-23 (.739) overall, 41-13 (.759) @ #1). She was the third Griffin to reach the 1,000-career win mark during the 2012-2013 season, which saw her rank as high as #13 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Individual Regional Rankings and the Chestnut Hill College women’s tennis team return to the NCAA DII Regional Tournament a year after representing the College in its first NCAA DII Championship Tournament (2011-2012).
As a freshman, in 2010-2011, Dennis was the recipient of the Chestnut Hill College women’s tennis team’s Coach’s Award and named the ITA East Region Rookie of the Year after posting a 16-5 (.762) individual record at number two singles and teaming for an 18-3 (.857) record at number one doubles. Academically, she has been recognized on the CACC Fall All-Academic Team (2011 & 2012), the Chestnut Hill College Athletics Academic Honor Roll (Fall 2010 – Spring 2013), the ITA All-Academic Team (2010-2011, 2011-2012, & 2012-2013), the NCAA DII Athletic Director’s Association (ADA) Academic Achievers Team (2011-2012 & 2012-2013), and the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Women's Tennis Team (2011-2012, 2012-2013).