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Philanthropist and DU Supporter Frederic C. Hamilton Dies

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Frederic C. Hamilton, whose generosity helped transform the University of Denver campus, died on Sept. 30 at the age of 89.

Fred Hamilton
Fred Hamilton. Photo Courtesy: The Denver Post

Along with his wife, honorary life trustee Jane Hamilton, Hamilton did much to transform Denver and DU. In fact, there are few areas on the DU campus that have not been impacted by the generosity of the Hamilton family.

On the north side of campus, the Hamilton Gymnasium serves as a practice facility for a number of varsity teams, while on the south side of campus, the Frederic C. Hamilton Recital Hall is one of three performance venues at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. Inside the Anderson Academic Commons, which houses the University’s main library, the Hamilton Atrium provides a bright, open area where students can gather. And in the new home for the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, an auditorium on the fourth floor has been named after the Hamiltons.

“The Hamiltons have done so much for the University of Denver and our students,” says DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. “We are all saddened by Fred’s passing, but know his legacy will live on through the lasting impact of his and Jane’s generosity.”

Hamilton was on stage during undergraduate Commencement last spring as his wife received an honorary doctor of higher education. She served on DU’s Board of Trustees for 39 years, from 1976 until 2015.

The Hamiltons’ impact extends well beyond DU. Fred Hamilton was appointed to the Denver Art Museum’s (DAM) board of trustees in 1977. He became chairman of the board in 1994 and lead the DAM through its largest expansion project. The 146,000-square-foot Frederic C. Hamilton building bears his name. In 2014, he bequeathed 22 Impressionist artworks from his personal collection. The collection, on display on the museum’s sixth floor, is the largest gift of art in the museum’s history.

Hamilton is survived by his wife Jane; their four children — Christy Hamilton McGraw (BA, 1976), Fred Jr. (BA, 1978), Crawford and Tom; and 10 grandchildren.

A service is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct 6, at the Denver Art Museum.