Remembering Pittsburgh Philanthropist Henry Hillman

A deeply private man, Hillman’s leadership and donations are credited with the city’s rebirth after the collapse of the steel industry.




photo courtesy of elsie hillman foundation
 

“The whale gets harpooned only when he spouts,” Henry L. Hillman told Pittsburgh Magazine in 2006. The Pittsburgh billionaire financier and philanthropist despised publicity. 

“We just don’t believe in tooting our horn and talking about things,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1991. “Call it modesty, or reticence or anything else, but I think it is the best way to be.”

Hillman died Friday of age-related complications at UPMC Shadyside. He was 98.

With a keen investment eye, he became the wealthiest man in Pittsburgh and a regular on Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans.

He had a gift for making money and giving it away.

Through the Hillman Foundation, he donated millions to a wide variety of civic causes, many in the fields of science, technology and medicine.

Here is a just a small list of institutions which bear his name:
 

  • Hillman Library of the University of Pittsburgh
     
  • Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History
     
  • Hillman Cancer Center, hub of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.
     
  • Hillman Center for Performing Arts at Shady Side Academy
     
  • Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies at Carnegie Mellon University
     
  • Hillman Center for Pediatric Transplantation at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
     

"Pittsburgh has lost another Patriarch, Henry Hillman. Mr. Hillman led the efforts of Pittsburgh's first renaissance. Along with his beloved wife, Elsie, he helped to create numerous non-profit organizations that have led directly to Pittsburgh's rebirth,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto in a statement.

“Far beyond their own family Foundation, Henry & Elsie have proven that civic leadership in Pittsburgh can save a city, rebuild a city and transform a city. Henry Hillman will always be remembered as a leader who changed an industrial city into a 21st Century city.”

Hillman and his late wife, Elsie, received dozens of award and honorary degrees over the years for their generous donations of time and money. Pittsburgh Magazine named them Pittsburghers of the Year for 2006.

At the time, the couple had been married 61 years. PM asked about the key to their marital longevity?

Henry replies: “By my saying, ‘Yes, Dear.’”

They laughed.

“Both of us have a good sense of humor and a lot of patience and tolerance and understanding,” Elsie said.

Visitation is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday at John A. Freyvogel Sons funeral home in Shadyside. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside. The family asks that those who wish to honor Hillman contribute to either the Hillman Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute or the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More From The 412

Rep the 412 With These Gorgeous iPhone Wallpapers

Rep the 412 With These Gorgeous iPhone Wallpapers

All your friends will have lock screen envy.
All That You Need to Know about the Pirates’ Wild Card Game

All That You Need to Know about the Pirates’ Wild Card Game

Think you’re ready for Wednesday? You will be after reading our rundown on the matchup.
Veterans Convention Returns to Pittsburgh After 101 Years

Veterans Convention Returns to Pittsburgh After 101 Years

Founded in Pittsburgh in 1914, the Veterans of Foreign Wars is holding its national convention at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
How Would You Make Pittsburgh's Liberty Avenue Better?

How Would You Make Pittsburgh's Liberty Avenue Better?

This week, your suggestions could have a significant impact on one of Downtown’s busiest streets.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in April

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Take a Hike: 10 of the Best Trails in the Pittsburgh Area

Lace up your sneakers or hiking boots and head outdoors for 10 great walks for spring.
412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

412 Food Rescue: Revolutionary Repurposing

Local nonprofit organization 412 Food Rescue is taking food that otherwise would be tossed aside and connecting it with those in need through-of-the-moment technology.
Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Spring Fashion: The Height of White

Fashion is white haute this spring with the best looks from local stores.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

Grenier on playing the dream role of Willy Loman, coming to Pittsburgh and performing at the renowned Pittsburgh Public Theater.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Brandon Blumenfeld introduces an American gastropub menu at the Troy Hill bar.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Dive Bar & Grille Expands to South Side, Remains Charming

Dive Bar & Grille Expands to South Side, Remains Charming

The latest outpost of the small, Wexford-born chain isn't flashy, but offers good beer and grub.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
A Life Well Lived: Dan Rooney's Humility and Humanity

A Life Well Lived: Dan Rooney's Humility and Humanity

Delivering the Homily at Rooney's funeral, Cardinal Donald Wuerl acknowledged a longstanding Rooney philosophical belief: “You can get anything done if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
A Refreshing Action Flick and a Redundant Thriller

A Refreshing Action Flick and a Redundant Thriller

Reviews of "Free Fire," "Unforgettable" and "The Promise," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Planning Proposals: The Element of Surprise

Planning Proposals: The Element of Surprise

This couple’s proposal story really takes the cake.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Hosted by the Penn State Master Gardeners, the free event, which includes the local daffodil society’s annual show, features exclusive and hard-to-find flowers, shrubs, fruit and vegetable plants and other garden accessories from a variety of vendors.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

Considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Alex Rodriguez also is one of the league's more controversial stars.

Comments