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Jeanette Grasselli Brown with her husband, Glenn, at the 2010 WIP Awards Ceremony in Chicago.

Photo courtesy of: University Advancement

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OHIO alumna receives prestigious award from Hungarian President Pál Schmitt

Jeanette Grasselli Brown honored with President’s Medal of Merit for her work with the Hungarian Development Panel


During a fall visit to Ohio, the President of the Republic of Hungary, Pál Schmitt, presented the prestigious President's Medal of Merit to Ohio University alumna Jeanette "Jenny" Grasselli Brown, who received a bachelor of science degree from Ohio University in 1950 and an honorary doctorate in 1978.

President Schmitt presented the award to Schmitt Brown during the Hungarian Presidential Luncheon with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Gyorgy Szapary, Hungarian ambassador. The President recognized Grasselli Brown for her outstanding and influential work on behalf of the Hungarian Development Panel in Cleveland, an area that houses more than 100,000 Hungarian-Americans. Grasselli Brown and her husband, Glenn Brown, serve as co-chairs of the Panel's Economic Development Committee.

The award highlighted Grasselli Brown's multiple roles as "chemist, scientific researcher and business woman," and commended her for "supporting the Hungarian community of Cleveland, and for the development of Hungarian-American business, research and development activities."

During her acceptance speech, Grasselli Brown credited her parents for teaching their children "to love America, but never forget our Hungarian roots."

Born in 1928 to Hungarian immigrant parents, Grasselli Brown never lost sight of her heritage. She is actively involved in the The Hungarian Heritage Museum at the Galleria, and she is one of the Hungarian Ambassadors to ClevelandPeople.com. She travels to Hungary at least once a year, working tirelessly to promote business opportunities between Hungary and Cleveland, specifically in areas of technology where both regions show strength, e.g. biotechnology and polymers. Named as the Most Outstanding Woman Chemist in the country by the American Chemical Society, Grasselli Brown is uniquely qualified for that role.

As the former director of corporate research for BP America, Grasselli Brown has earned international accolades in the field of infrared and Raman spectroscopy. She has penned nine books in her field, holds a patent and has served on six major corporate boards.

Grasselli Brown also holds thirteen honorary doctoral degrees, including one from Ohio University and one from the University of Pécs in Hungary. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Ohio Science Hall of Fame, and she is an inaugural member of the Cleveland International Hall of Fame. But despite her busy career, she never forgot her ties to Ohio University.

Her impressive history of service and giving to Ohio University spans four decades. She served as a visiting professor and director of research enhancements from 1989-95, Chair of the Board of Trustees, nine year Foundation Board Trustee, Chair of the Ohio Board of Regents, and active member of the Cutler Scholars Board of Governors.

With Grasselli Brown's leadership, Ohio University has raised more than $670,000 to support the partnership between OHIO and the University of Pécs in Hungary. The Hungarian Development Panel has contributed more than $72,000 directly to the initiative, which was designed to promote collaboration among students and faculty at the two institutions in business and economics education and research.

Grasselli Brown has received numerous awards from Ohio University in recognition of her outstanding achievements, including the Alumni Association's Medal of Merit, the Alumna of the Year Award, the John C. Baker Founders Award, and the Founder's Citation Award, the highest honor given by the Ohio University Board of Trustees. Most recently, Grasselli Brown was honored with the Leona Hughes Inspiration Award by The Women in Philanthropy of Ohio University (WIP).

Grasselli Brown, who attended Ohio University with the assistance of a scholarship, believes that giving back to the institution that shaped her life is only fitting. During an interview with clevelandwomen.com, she described her motivation for leading philanthropic endeavors.

"If someone comes from my background with no family money, no inheritance – everything I have, I have earned, and same with Glenn," said Brown. "If we give generously, I feel other people might be more inclined to join in and give generously. That's what runs America."