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Friday, September 16, 2016

An Auditorium for a Rolfe Alumnus

 https://hancher.uiowa.edu/sites/hancher.uiowa.edu/files/newbuilding_1_0.jpg
The new $175 million fine arts auditorium just opened at the University of Iowa is named for a Rolfe High School graduate---Virgil Hancher.

Hancher was born in Powhatan Township in 1896.  He was one of 14 seniors at Rolfe High School in 1914.  He went on to Iowa City to the university.  Then he  was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University in England.  He returned to Iowa for law school.

Hancher was a corporate lawyer in Chicago prior to becoming the President of the U of Iowa in 1940. He held the job until 1964, making him the longest serving President.  Hancher turned the school from a vocational  to a liberal arts curriculum. He also added the School of Nursing and the undergraduate library.

Hancher promoted the arts. The first Hancher auditorium opened to considerable acclaim in 1972.  It was destroyed by flood in 2008.