Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Honorary Degree Recipients

Caroline & Sidney Kimmel

Caroline and Sidney Kimmel

Sidney Kimmel was born and raised in Philadelphia, and the philanthropic footprint he has created here evidences an unparalleled devotion to his hometown. From his very humble roots, first in South then West Philadelphia, Mr. Kimmel went on to found the Jones Apparel Group, developing it into a New York Stock Exchange company and one of the world’s leading designers and marketers of branded apparel, footwear and accessories.

Mr. Kimmel’s first job in the garment industry was as an inventory clerk and later a traveling salesman for a women’s-wear manufacturer. From there, he joined the iconic clothing company Villager, rising through the ranks to become its president and CEO. In 1970, Mr. Kimmel established his own clothing line, Jones New York, and during the 70’s and 80’s became one of the major players in the women’s apparel industry. Jones went public in 1991, adding many notable brands to its line, including Anne Klein, Nine West, Gloria Vanderbilt and Stuart Weitzman, among others. Mr. Kimmel served as CEO until 2003 and as Chairman until 2014 when The Jones Group was sold for $2.2 billion.

Sidney and Caroline Kimmel were married in 1999, and reside in Southern California just miles from where Caroline was raised. Together, they have continued the many philanthropic endeavors to which Mr. Kimmel committed after taking Jones public.

As early as 2002, Business Week recognized that Mr. Kimmel had donated more than half of his fortune to philanthropic works and had committed to giving the balance of his estate to further those efforts, a distinction that put him among a very select group of the nation’s wealthiest. In 2010, he readily signed the Giving Pledge, the Warren Buffett and Bill Gates initiative encouraging America’s billionaires to contribute half of their wealth to charitable endeavors. Mr. Kimmel was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2017 in recognition of his business, corporate and philanthropic leadership.

Of the $850 million-plus the Kimmels have donated, more than $550 million has gone to fund cancer research. In 1997, Mr. Kimmel established the Kimmel Scholars Program to fund young, innovative cancer scientists with their earliest grants to stimulate their research and advance their careers. With just under 300 award recipients, the Program has launched the next generation of the nation’s leading cancer researchers. Major gifts also subsidized cancer research and care at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, the Sidney Kimmel Center for Prostate and Urologic Cancers at Memorial Sloan Kettering, research programs championed by the Stand Up To Cancer effort, and much more.

Substantial gifts have also been made to organizations promoting the arts, education, health sciences and Jewish continuity. In Philadelphia, his philanthropic leadership established the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and he provided endowment gifts to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Raymond and Ruth Perelman Jewish Day School.  The Sidney Kimmel Theater in the National Constitution Center is named in his honor, and he is also lead donor to the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Mr. Kimmel has been an extremely generous benefactor to Jefferson, providing cornerstone funding to establish the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in 1995 as well as transformational support for research into the prevention of cardiovascular disease. The most recent forward-thinking gift ‒ the largest in Jefferson’s history  to name the Sidney Kimmel Medical College demonstrates the Kimmels’ appreciation of Jefferson’s nearly 200 years of medical excellence and their confidence in Jefferson’s path-breaking leadership in the future of healthcare.

Recognizing the fundamental importance of medical education and the impact of additional philanthropy, a significant portion of this landmark gift was set aside to establish the Kimmel Matching Program. This unique opportunity will provide a match for donors who establish new endowed scholarships and professorships. The Kimmel Matching Program already has inspired other philanthropists to give generously in support of medical education. To date, the Kimmel Match has leveraged almost $3.5 million in more than 20 new endowed scholarships and $6 million in new professorships. In addition, the Caroline Kimmel Endowed Fund for Scholarships has, in just its first two years, enabled Sidney Kimmel Medical College to award scholarships and attract outstanding students it might not have otherwise.


Donato J. Tramuto

Donato J. Tramuto

Donato J. Tramuto is the CEO of Tivity Health, Inc., a leading provider of network development and management solutions in healthcare. A recognized innovator and industry leader, Tramuto has more than 35 years of healthcare experience, with a deep commitment to global healthcare access, a steadfast focus on patient outcomes, and a keen understanding of digital solutions. He joined Tivity Health’s board in 2013 and became chairman in 2014 and CEO in 2015.

In less than a year after being named Tivity CEO, Tramuto executed a turnaround of the company’s performance by harnessing the lessons he learned through various adversities and “bulldozer” moments, and engineered a creative sale of one of the company’s non-performing divisions, adding nearly $1 billion of valuation to the company. In 2008, Tramuto founded Physicians Interactive Holdings (now known as Aptus Health), a global provider of insight-driven digital engagement solutions for healthcare professionals and consumers. There he served as CEO and chairman prior to joining Tivity Health, Inc.

In 2011, he founded Health eVillages, a non-profit organization which provides state-of-the-art mobile health technology in the most challenging clinical environments. He is also the chairman and founder of the Tramuto Foundation, which helps individuals and organizations achieve their educational and healthcare goals.

Widely recognized for his three decades of commitment to social change, Tramuto was honored in 2014, alongside Hillary Clinton, Robert DeNiro and Tony Bennett, with the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award. In 2015, he received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the College of Fine Arts at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Tramuto is the chairman and founder of the Tramuto Foundation which helps individuals and organizations achieve their educational and healthcare goals. He serves on several executive leadership boards, including the board of the Boston University School of Public Health, the Livongo Health Foundation, the Brown University Healthcare Leadership Board, the board of directors for Sharecare, Inc., and the board of Safe Harbor Compliance and Clinical Development. In 2016, Tramuto was appointed to the board of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. He is also chairman of the board of Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights Europe.

Tramuto is also the author of Life’s Bulldozer Moments: How Adversity Leads to Success in Life and Business, a Hamilton Press publication.