Family establishes scholarship

Dr. Rose Jannini Scholar Lanxin Li '13, Ralph Jannini, Professor Anita Hill and President Fred Lawrence.

By David E. Nathan

Nearly a century after pioneering physician Rose Jannini earned her medical degree from Middlesex University, the circle of giving that allowed her to reach her dream of becoming a doctor has been extended to include Brandeis students pursuing medical careers.

Thanks to the financial support of her uncle, Rose attended Middlesex University, which occupied what is now the Brandeis campus before closing in 1947. In turn, Rose, who graduated in 1917 as part of the first class of Middlesex women graduates and went on to a distinguished career as a family physician, paid for medical school for a cousin’s child.

“Dr. Jannini was the recipient of my grandfather’s goodwill and she passed that on,” says Ralph Jannini, Rose’s second cousin. “It’s kind of a tradition in our family.”

Ralph’s grandfather Raffaele Jannini, an Italian immigrant who owned a bustling liquor-importing business in Boston, funded Rose’s education. She built a thriving family medical practice in the Boston area and was honored by President Jimmy Carter and the Massachusetts Medical Society for her work. Rose died in 1986.

“She was a very pleasant, outgoing person and always took a great interest in our family,” Ralph remembers. “Dr. Jannini was always the person we consulted when a family member had a medical issue.”

Rose, who never married, wanted proceeds from her will to support religious, charitable and educational endeavors, but she did not specify which organizations would receive money.

Acting on behalf of the family, Ralph reached out to the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at Brandeis to confirm the connection between Middlesex University and Brandeis. Maggie McNeely, the archivist at Brandeis’ Goldfarb Library, discovered educational records, photos and other documentation that proved that Rose attended and graduated from Middlesex. Once the link was made, the Jannini family decided to establish the scholarship at Brandeis.

“My goal was to see that we followed her wishes,” Ralph says. “I think she would have been pleased to know that she is supporting outstanding Brandeis students.”

Brandeis recognized the Jannini family’s support at the annual luncheon of the Sachar Legacy Society, which is comprised of individuals who have made the University part of their estate plans. President Fred Lawrence presented Ralph with a Sachar Legacy Society certificate.

“Dr. Jannini received her education here on this campus and launched a distinguished medical career and now, through the generosity of the Jannini family, young people will have an opportunity to follow that same path,” Lawrence says. “I think this closes the circle and permits us to go forward in a powerful way.”

Since its founding in 1948, Brandeis has gained a reputation for possessing the research might of a large research university coupled with the intimacy of a small, liberal arts college. Brandeis is regarded as a national leader in the sciences, particularly in the biomedical area.

 “I like to think of Brandeis as a small school with a big-time flavor,” says biology professor emeritus K.C. Hayes, co-inventor of Smart Balance. “We’re really delighted to have this scholarship for students, allowing them to have the opportunity to work alongside scientists who are making wonderful discoveries.”

The initial recipients of the Dr. Rose Jannini Scholarship are Eduardo Keane ’14, a biology major from Miami, and Lanxi Li ’13, a biology and studio art double major from Shrewsbury, Mass. Both are planning to attend medical school.

“I am very grateful for the support of the Jannini family,” Li says. “Without the financial help that it provides, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish my educational goals and pursue a career in medicine. To me and to my family, education is the most valuable thing you have in life.”

Categories: Giving, Donor Profile
Date: March 11, 2013