Profession: Financier, Philanthropist
Born in Lake City, South Carolina in 1954, Darla Moore graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Political Science in 1975 and received an M.B.A. from The George Washington University in 1981. She would enter the training program at Chemical Bank in New York and later specialize in debtor-in-possession financing for companies going through bankruptcy. Her work in the financial industry, where she became a managing director of Chemical Bank, led both to tremendous financial success and also to widespread recognition from business insiders and media outlets. Following her marriage to investor Richard Rainwater she became president of Rainwater, Inc. in 1993.
Moore is perhaps best known for her philanthropic work. In 1998 she made a $25 million donation to the business school at the University of South Carolina, which was subsequently renamed the Darla Moore School of Business. She has also given substantial financial gifts to Clemson University's school of education, USC's McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research, and Claflin University's music department. In 2002 she founded the Palmetto Institute, whose mission includes researching and implementing public policies that support economic growth and prosperity for the citizens of South Carolina. For her contributions to the state Moore was awarded South Carolina's highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto, which she received in 1998.