Wellesley College Athletic Director Bridget Belgiovine Announces Retirement

Bridget Belgiovine will step down after a 13-year tenure at the helm of Wellesley’s PERA Department.
Bridget Belgiovine will step down after a 13-year tenure at the helm of Wellesley’s PERA Department.

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Bridget Belgiovine, Director of Athletics and Chair of the Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics (PERA) at Wellesley College, will retire at the conclusion of the 2018-19 Academic Year.

Belgiovine, who is in the final year of an extraordinarily successful and transformative 13-year tenure at the helm of Wellesley's PERA department will officially depart the College on June 30, 2019. A nationwide search for Belgiovine's replacement is currently underway.

Belgiovine has been committed to every facet of a department that includes: a physical education curriculum serving nearly 2,000 students per year, a recreation program with year-round programming, student-led fitness classes, and eight club sport teams, and a varsity athletics program with 13 highly-competitive intercollegiate programs. The importance of sports as a vehicle to enhance health and wellness, learning, resilience and self-confidence in women is central to Belgiovine's work and she has been relentless in her desire to integrate the department more fully into the life of the College, stressing the importance of fitness and health in a strong liberal arts education.

An energetic and passionate leader, Belgiovine has been an advocate for facility renovations and fundraising as a method for enhancing educational and athletic experiences and has seen her work impact the lives of countless students, coaches, faculty and administrators. Throughout her career, she has focused on the advancement of women into senior leadership positions in the sports-related workforce and society. Currently, Wellesley's LeadBLUE Program, a comprehensive initiative aimed at enhancing the quality of team culture, student leadership, and the athletic experience, is training Wellesley student-athletes to become the next generation of women leaders.

Since Belgiovine's arrival at Wellesley, two Blue varsity student-athletes have won NCAA Individual National Championships and the crew program claimed the first team NCAA National Championship in school history. Wellesley's teams have earned 18 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championships and have made a combined 28 team appearances in the NCAA Tournament. In 2013-14, the Blue captured their first NEWMAC President's Cup, an all-sports award presented to the top overall men's and women's programs in the conference.

Formerly the Director of Division III at the NCAA, Belgiovine's career began as a high school teacher and coach in Monroe Township, N.J. She then moved to the collegiate ranks at Springfield College, where she served in a variety of roles, including Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator. She moved on from Springfield to the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse, where she oversaw tremendous success in her first role as Athletic Director.

A collegiate lacrosse player at Trenton State (now the College of New Jersey), Belgiovine holds a B.S. from Trenton State College in Health and Physical Education and a Masters in Physical Education and Athletic Administration from Springfield College. Click here to read Belgiovine's full bio.

What They Are Saying About Bridget Belgiovine...

Andrew Shennan, Provost and Lia Gelin Poorvu '56 Dean of Wellesley College:

"For more than a decade, Bridget Belgiovine has been an admired, indeed beloved, leader on this campus. She inherited a department with a proud history of athletic distinction and a strong sense of connection to the faculty and to Wellesley's academic mission. Bridget has remained true to that legacy, while building new bridges to the Student Life division and making PERA ever more central to the experience of ever more Wellesley students."

Katherine Curtis Rigler '61, Wellesley Hall of Fame Woman of Inspiration; First Alumnae Co-Chair of Friends of Wellesley College Athletics:

"Bridget has worked tirelessly with imagination and foresight to further strengthen the varsity, club, recreation and instructional programs at Wellesley and to promote a culture of wellness both on campus and in the larger Wellesley community of alumnae and parents. Bridget sets high standards for herself, and those who work with her are inspired to do the same. She is attentive to the needs of Wellesley students, her colleagues and those beyond Wellesley with whom she works. Bridget is a fine leader and a fine person, and it has been a privilege and pleasure to work with her."

Liza Janssen Petra '94, Wellesley Athletics Hall of Famer and Current Co-Chair of Friends of Athletics:

"Bridget's leadership through some incredible success at Wellesley--including both team and individual national championships, a renovated Field House, increased participation in wellness programs-- will serve as a lasting legacy of her profound impact on PERA over her 13-year tenure. What won't be as obvious will be the continued influence of her stewardship of students, coaches, staff, and alums. Her genuine care for the people she served and worked with helped to create a culture of wellness and inclusivity. She was able to impact all members of the Wellesley athletic and wellness community, from incoming scholar athletes to seasoned Coaches to students new to Yoga or pilates to the alumnae who played sports prior to the existence of an athletics department. Bridget has been a wonderful addition to the Wellesley family, and although her impact will be felt long after she leaves, her physical presence will be deeply missed."

Patrick Summers, Executive Director, New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference:

"For the past 12 years, Bridget has helped shape and lead the NEWMAC. Six of her 12 years were spent on the Executive Committee and during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 academic years, Bridget served as President of the conference. During her term as President, she was instrumental in the development of the conference's five-year strategic plan, the addition of football (the first conference sport added since 1995), the rebranding of the conference logo and the restructuring of the conference's governance process. Bridget is known for her commitment to student-athlete well-being. It is at the forefront of all she does both at Wellesley and in the NEWMAC. She reminds her colleagues of our commitment to academic and athletic success to diversity and inclusion and to developing young women and men with exceptional character and integrity. We are all more fortunate to have worked in NCAA Division III Athletics during Bridget's tenure."

Julia King, Wellesley Head Field Hockey Coach; Assistant Professor of the Practice and Assistant Director of Physical Education:

"It has been a privilege to work for Bridget. I started at Wellesley as a young, first-time Head Coach and I could not have had a better leader to look up to. Bridget's focus on the student experience has been a driving force during her tenure. From her steadfast commitment to our physical education program to her devotion to our student-athletes, Bridget has positively impacted thousands of students. We've been lucky to have her vision and leadership guiding PERA and it is hard to imagine Wellesley College without Bridget Belgiovine."

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Wellesley Athletics strives for excellence at the conference, regional, and national levels, while providing opportunities for students to achieve their potential and learn the values of discipline, leadership, critical thinking, and responsibility to oneself and others.