Dorrance H. Hamilton, the billionaire Campbell Soup Co. heiress for whom Williamson’s Dorrance H. Hamilton Horticulture Center is named, passed away April 18. She was 88.
President Michael Rounds said, “We are saddened to hear of the passing of this remarkable woman who played such a large role in helping Williamson College of the Trades meet its mission. Mrs. Hamilton loved horticulture and the Philadelphia Flower Show and she offered very generous support of our Horticulture, Landscaping, and Turf Management Program because she recognized the importance of our mission of training financially deserving young men to be skilled horticulturists. She was one of the great benefactors of Williamson and will be missed by the entire Williamson family.”
After vising Williamson for the first time in the mid 1990s, Mrs. Hamilton became impressed with the school’s horticulture program and its students. She especially liked that character development was included with the teaching of horticulture skills. It wasn’t long after becoming familiar with the school that she began offering generous financial support on a regular basis from herself and The Hamilton Family Foundation.
In 1996 she was given the Williamson Award for Excellence in Community Service and in September 2000 the school dedicated the Dorrance H. Hamilton Horticulture Center in her honor.
Mrs. Hamilton was honored not only for her generous gifts, but for being a person who sets an outstanding example of community service for others to follow. From thrift shops to hospitals to universities, Mrs. Hamilton set a very high standard for viewing life as an opportunity to “lift others up.”
To this day, for every person who walks by the gardens of this center, propagates a plant in one of the center’s greenhouses, or takes a class in Alumni Hall, Mrs. Hamilton’s name is a constant reminder that living for others is crucial to becoming the useful, respected citizen Isaiah Williamson envisioned.