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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 26, 2003

Oct. 9 Event Will Dedicate New UI Garden To Susan Hancher

A new garden constructed on the walkway to Hancher Auditorium will be dedicated to the memory of Susan Hancher in a ceremony at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9. The event will feature comments by UI President Emeritus Willard Boyd, a member of the College of Law faculty, who was a long-time friend of Susan Hancher, and members of the Hancher family will also be present.

A free reception will follow.

The new Susan Hancher Garden, constructed by the UI Facilities Services Group with funds contributed by the Hancher family and friends, is located on a walkway from the Hancher parking lot to the lobby entrance of the auditorium.

Hancher Auditorium was named in honor of Susan's husband, Rolfe, Iowa native Virgil Hancher -- the UI president whose vision of a unified arts campus was the impetus for the auditorium project. After Virgil Hancher's retirement and death in the mid-1960s, Susan Hancher continued to be an active member of the UI community until her death in 1988.

"She was the first lady of the university for 24 years and was ever active and ever enthusiastic about the University of Iowa," Boyd says. "I could always turn to her during the years I was president or provost and she was always willing to undertake any project for the university. She was a very gracious and outgoing person in every respect."

Among the projects she undertook was serving as the chairperson of the fundraising committee for the restoration of the Old Capitol in the 1970s.

Susan Hancher was born in Paullina, Iowa as Susan Cannon, and she married Virgil Hancher in 1928. Conversations with Susan Hancher are included in the UI Oral History Project at the UI Libraries, and the Susan Hancher Award at the UI also honors her memory.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

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