CONTACT: MARGARET REESE
Director of Development
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973
Release: Dec. 13, 2002
Wilson gift to boost Hancher Auditorium's endowment for educational programs
Click here for high resolution
and Herb Wilson of Iowa City have made a generous gift to the University of
Iowa Foundation to create an endowed fund to support Hancher Auditorium's
The Janice A. and Herbert A. Wilson Arts Education Fund will support the
Hancher Stage Door series, artist-in-residence activities and Iowa Communications
Network (ICN) broadcasts, which provide arts exposure and education to thousands
of grade K-12 students in Iowa each year.
"Janice and I are both committed to education, and the arts sometimes
do not get the support they deserve in the schools," Herbert Wilson said.
"We feel it's hard to learn to appreciate the arts without early exposure,
and Hancher's strong and far-reaching education programs have touched many
Each season, Hancher's Stage Door series offers five or six matinee performances
by Hancher artists at minimal cost to the 700 to 1,500 students from surrounding
counties who attend each performance. In addition, residency programs enable
Hancher artists to work with students in select schools from a single day
up to several weeks.
Hancher also sponsors an ICN series that enables students anywhere in Iowa
to participate in interactive workshops with Hancher artists. Participating
artists in Hancher's education events have included Wynton Marsalis, cast
and crew from "Beauty and the Beast," the Ying Quartet, Sweet Honey
in the Rock and Pilobolus. To date, students in 50 Iowa communities have enriched
their understanding of the arts through Hancher programs.
"I've had the opportunity to attend Stage Door performances,"
Janice Wilson said, "and it's great to see the children's amazement when
they watch these world-class performers. I think having great experiences
with performing arts early in life can help children envision new possibilities
for themselves, and see a better world out there."
In addition to the Wilsons' recent $1 million gift to create the arts education
fund, they provided major support for Hancher's Arts-across-the-Curriculum
project, a four-year program that sponsored extended residencies by Hancher
artists in 12 schools in six eastern Iowa communities, and encouraged educators
to integrate the arts into their curricula.
Charles Swanson, executive director at Hancher, said, "Janice and Herb
have been true friends to Hancher in every way. Their committed support of
arts education has already had a tremendous impact on Iowa students. This
endowment will help ensure that Hancher's strong arts education programming
will continue far into the future."
Hancher Director of Development Margaret Reese said, "Hancher is extremely
grateful for the Wilsons' generous support. Endowed funds are especially important
to help sustain and increase Hancher's level of activity, artistic quality,
and national and international recognitionand especially to support
the auditorium in continuing to enrich the lives of hundreds of thousands
The Wilsons are serving as chairs of Hancher's portion of the university's
current Good. Better. Best. Iowa fund-raising campaign, and are members of
the Presidents Club, which honors the university's most generous contributors.
They have also contributed to UI athletics programs, the Old Capitol Endowment,
the School of Music and the Byron R. Ross Teaching Assistant Award in the
UI department of accounting.
The Wilson gift is part of the UI's $850 million comprehensive campaign,
which will run through 2005 and is being conducted under the guidance of the
UI Foundation. The seven-year effort is raising private funds to help launch
a variety of initiatives across the university, substantially increase the
number of UI scholarships and endowed faculty positions, support new educational
and research facilities, build the UI's endowment and fund outreach and service
programs to benefit Iowans.
The UI Foundation is acknowledged by the UI as a preferred channel for private
contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information
about the Good. Better. Best. Iowa campaign, visit its web site at www.GoodBetterBestIowa.org.