A couple walks into Hancher Auditorium on the evening of Saturday, Sep. 24, 2016 to see Hancher's opening show featuring Steve Martin and Martin Short. Both are popular actors, writers, and comedians. (The Daily Iowan/Olivia Sun)

Guest Opinion: Art of philanthropy alive at Hancher

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Sandy Boyd, the president emeritus of the University of Iowa and our dear friend, has long said Hancher Auditorium is the largest classroom on campus. I’ve always been inspired by that notion, and it has motivated me to raise funds for the many programs at Hancher that change lives.

Our work inspires the lives of elementary, middle-school, high-school, and University of Iowa students — as well as people of all ages throughout our wider community, region, and state.

We believe it is essential to find ways to engage with our donors and make sure they feel part of whatever we are doing. Donors also appreciate our efforts to reach out to communities in Iowa. Collaboration and engagement are the keys to creating transformational experiences that can change lives. Our donors help us create those experiences and build connections between the people of Iowa and the University of Iowa.

RELATED: Happy, brassy birthday, Sandy

As Hancher’s executive director, one of my favorite things is sharing with our donors the stories of how we have collaborated with departments across campus. Some of our recent successes have included partnerships with the UI Colleges of Engineering, Public Health, and Nursing; the UI Center for Macular Degeneration; rhetoric classes; the English Department; African American Studies; and more. Donors love to know that we are working together on campus to enhance student success. And they are delighted to hear about our efforts to create a better future for Iowans with partners such as the UI Office of Outreach and Engagement.

I have had the good fortune of connecting, in so many ways, with committed University of Iowa donors such as Dick and Mary Jo Stanley, Susan Strauss and the late John Strauss, and others, and I have learned so much about the power of philanthropy from them. There’s nothing better than sharing stories and bringing big dreams to fruition with friends and donors.

Hancher is a special place, supported by very special people. It is my honor and privilege to work at Hancher and at the University of Iowa — and to help connect artists, audiences, and philanthropists as we seek to change lives and build a deep sense of community.

— Chuck Swanson (1975 B.B.A., 1976 M.B.A.) Executive Director Hancher Auditorium

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