Philanthropist Dorrance 'DoDo' Hamilton dies at 88
The granddaughter of the Campbell Soup Co. founder and a philanthropist who gave away millions of dollars to Philadelphia educational and cultural institutions has died.
Dorrance Hill Hamilton was 88. She died Tuesday at her home in Boca Grande, Florida, according to her grandson and Nancy Brent Wingo, executive director of the Hamilton Family Foundation. A cause of death wasn't disclosed.
“Her family was around her,” said Nat Hamilton, 35, of Malvern, who was the eldest of her nine grandchildren. “As the public knows, she was a fighter.”
Hamilton donated millions of dollars to Philadelphia institutions including Thomas Jefferson University, the University of the Arts, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and WHYY.
"DoDo Hamilton was the consummate supporter of WHYY and a friend to our audiences," WHYY President and CEO Bill Marrazzo said. "Her heart was as large as her intellect, and both were well connected. It is an honor for WHYY to have her name on our Hamilton Public Media Commons.”
Hamilton was also fixture at the Philadelphia Flower Show, winning countless ribbons over three decades before retiring from competition in 2014.
She was Thomas Jefferson University Hospital's first female trustee and donated $25 million to build a new education building.
Her grandfather John T. Dorrance was the founder of Camden, New Jersey-based Campbell Soup Co. He invented the process used to make condensed soups.
Heiress Hamilton was one of the wealthiest Americans, someone whose name regularly appeared on Forbes’ famous list of billionaires every year.
But many Philadelphians revered her as a life-changing philanthropist who preferred to get personally involved in the charities she supported.
“She is this iconic leader in philanthropy, this woman who gave so generously, and gave without need on her part,” said Patricia D. Wellenbach, president of the Please Touch Museum, one of her many beneficiaries. “It was never about the recognition; it was about the work. She has left her mark in all the corners of this city, and we will always have her in our heart, for generations to come.”
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