Brianna Gainley, a computer science major from Burlington, was the first member of the Class of 2016 to receive her diploma — in a special ceremony held last March after she learned that the osteosarcoma she had battled throughout her college years was terminal.
Gainley died on April 23, surrounded by her family, including her parents, Frank ’86 and Maureen ’92, ’97, and her fiancé, Ryan Hart ’16. A few weeks later, at the official UMass Lowell commencement, Chancellor Jacquie Moloney made a point of honoring Gainley, calling her “a young woman whose hard work, dedication and perseverance truly exemplified the UMass Lowell spirit.”
Her family has created the Brianna T. Gainley and Ryan C. Hart Teamwork Scholarship to benefit computer science majors in the Kennedy College of Sciences.
Diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer during her freshman year, Gainley spent the next five years undergoing chemotherapy, ultimately losing both a lung and her right leg to the disease.
But in between her treatments and surgeries, the Commonwealth Scholar continued to pursue her degree, while also completing internships and helping the UMass Lowell robotics team win a national title.
To contribute to the Gainley and Hart Scholarship, or for more information about creating your own endowed fund, please contact the Office of University Advancement at 978-934-2223.