Magellan Leads Economics Major to ‘Grace Effect’ in Monaco

Created: September 11, 2015
Last Updated: July 10, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 11, 2015) – The Magellan Project has taken Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) students around the world for research in every area from art it Italy to sports medicine in Hawaii, and now one unique study has led to the “Grace Effect.”

Courtney Brennan ’16, an economics major from New Kensington, Pa., spent three weeks in Monaco this summer researching the legacy of Grace Kelly, the famed Hollywood actress who was less recognized for her extensive philanthropic work.

Most of Brennan’s trip was spent in the Croix Rouge Monegasque, or the Red Cross of Monaco. There, Brennan met with the Red Cross’s international department where they discussed Princess Grace’s reign as President of the Red Cross for 25 years. Brennan also met with women of the Princess Grace Foundation, which serves to assist children in hospitals and their families.

“The Foundation focuses on every aspect of treatment by raising funds for medical research, equipment and the renovations of “Parent Houses.” These houses are set up in hospitals in Nice, Lille, Bordeaux, Lyon and Paris, and enable parents to stay near their child’s bedside more comfortably. Even 30 plus years after her death, Princess Grace’s humanitarian efforts still continue to this day,” said Brennan.

For most of her life, Brennan has admired the elegance of Kelly, most importantly for the beauty she personified through her generosity and charitable works. In 1956, Kelly married Prince Rainer II of Monaco and became Her Royal Highness Princess Grace of Monaco. Recognized mainly for her roles on Hollywood’s silver screen, Kelly spent much of her adult life dedicated to philanthropic and humanitarian service, which Brennan explored during her very first Magellan project.

“In contrast to the opulence of Monaco, Princess Grace achieved her ultimate desire for providing individuals with the basic necessities of life: care, compassion and love. She never lost sight of the fact that she was a mother first, but was keenly aware of her duty to the Monegasque people,” said Brennan.

As an economics major, Brennan was also drawn to complete her Magellan in Monaco, the second-smallest independent state in the world, where citizens do not pay an income tax. Monaco also consistently has one of the highest GDP rates per capita.

“While in Monaco, I saw the incredible economic and cultural transformation that has occurred over the past 50 years. Princess Grace wanted it to be known for more than just a casino, and brought a whole new level of glamour to the country with her from Hollywood. She promoted diversity by supporting local dancers, artists and writers,” said Brennan.

Brennan hopes to share her experience with the W&J community by promoting the altruistic qualities of Princess Grace across campus. These same qualities of uncommon integrity have helped develop W&J students into life-long learners and global citizens who strive to make positive impacts on the world.

Brennan plans to attend law school after graduation this May and will use her Magellan experience to set her apart from other aspiring attorneys in the application process.

About the Magellan Project

Established in 2008, Washington & Jefferson College’s unique Magellan Project extends liberal arts learning outside the classroom by providing scholarship funding for students to spend the summer pursuing independent projects and internships in the United States and abroad. Learn more about the Magellan Project on the W&J website.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work.

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