The saying goes that behind every successful man is a strong woman, and that certainly is the case with University of Pennsylvania icons Ralph and Elaine Brinster. Medalcraft Mint had the honor of creating the Elaine Redding Brinster Prize in Science or Medicine medallion. The medallion recognizes an award and annual prize of $100,000 endowed by the Brinsters’ four children that is presented through the university’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine.
Elaine Brinster has been the support system behind her preeminent husband, Ralph Brinster, throughout his 60-year career as a world-renowned geneticist. Among his many honors, Dr. Brinster earned the highest accolade bestowed by the United States government in 2010 when he was awarded the National Medal of Science, the eighth scientist from the University of Pennsylvania and the first veterinarian to win the award in the 50 years of its existence.
“People underestimate the contributions of the partner of someone who is publicly credited with achieving great things,” states their daughter, Kristen Brinster. “A woman’s role doesn’t have to be at the forefront to be impactful.”
The Medalcraft Mint team designed a beautiful medallion that features Elaine Brinster’s image in front of her husband’s. The challenge was zeroing in on just the right version of their appearance.
“I can’t imagine anybody being more supportive than the Medalcraft Mint team,” Kristen says. “They were so patient with our changes, and we had many changes. Having a partial side view of two faces on the medallion made it even more difficult. They were outstanding.”
A nurse by training, Elaine Brinster cared for a family that includes four children who all went on to advanced professional careers, and provided consistent support for her husband as he progressed through his academic and research endeavors.
“He’s been recognized for his contributions, and we wanted her contributions to be recognized as well,” Kristen says. “His success would not be possible without our mother’s support; not just taking care of the family, but also supporting him and being his sounding board. This is the choice they made, and together they changed the world.”