Remembering Dodo Hamilton
All of us at Jefferson were deeply saddened by the passing of Mrs. Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton in April, at age 88. She was a longtime Jefferson citizen and friend, a generous benefactor, and one of our city’s leading philanthropists and socialites.
Mrs. Hamilton’s connection to Jefferson encompassed more than 50 years, beginning with her membership on the Women’s Board of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in 1957. As president of the Women’s Board from 1969 to 1972, she cofounded the Penny Wise Thrift Shop, which became a cherished community resource. In 1972, she became the first female member of the Board of Trustees; she continued to participate on the Board for several decades and was elected an emeritus trustee in 2005.
Her generous nature was well known throughout Philadelphia—and was especially felt at Jefferson. The Hamilton family’s gifts over the years reveal her understanding and appreciation for science, creativity, innovation, and compassion. The Dorrance H. Hamilton Building, which fittingly sits at the heart of Jefferson’s campus, was designed as an educational space that enables team-based learning and keeps the patient at the center of care.
Her focus on compassionate and professional expertise in care is further embodied in the five endowed professorships she established in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College, as well as the Dorrance Hill Hamilton Fund to Advance Nursing Excellence.
Mrs. Hamilton’s leadership, service, and generosity have made it possible for Jefferson to help many people and continue making lives better for generations to come. It has been a joy and a privilege to partner with Mrs. Hamilton and her family, and we shall miss her understated elegance, boundless energy, creative flair for business, and signature wide-brimmed hats. In our hearts, she will always be, as Philadelphia magazine put it, “The Last Great Lady.” Jefferson owes the Hamilton family a debt of gratitude that we will never be able to repay, but will always celebrate.
Donations in Mrs. Hamilton’s memory may be made to: Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, c/o The Dorrance Hill Hamilton Fund to Advance Nursing Excellence, 125 S. 9th St., Suite 600, Philadelphia, PA 19107.