The University of Iowa

Our Dream


Our Dream: The University of Iowa is the prime example of a top-tier performing arts campus, a place where creativity is a core value and exceptional, transformative experiences in the arts are available to all students and community members.

The University of Iowa has an admissions rate of 86%. Unlike many of its peers, the UI strives to admit all students who meet the core academic requirements. (Average GPA of the Class of 2027 is 3.83) Furthermore the UI has the third-lowest in-state and out-of-state tuition of its B1G peers. We are ensuring a high quality and affordable college education is available to as many Iowans and out-of-state students as possible. The UI is also best positioned to offer the premier performing arts education and experience to more learners than almost any other university in the USA and to maximize well-being and belonging for our next generation of leaders.

What does that dream look like?

Leading National Arts Presenter

  • Hancher offers a nationally renown program of artist performances highlighting the UI’s position as a leader in storytelling across the arts
  • Artists across the world recognize Hancher and the University of Iowa as an essential place that nurtures their careers and the field of the performing arts
  • Programs are accessible to a wide range of ages and backgrounds–removing barriers (financial, disability, etc…) to the arts for community members and Hawkeyes across the state and world
  • Maintaining the world-class facility, Hancher Auditorium, and ensuring a state-of-the-art experience for artists and audiences

Leading Campus for Student Engagement with the Arts

  • Connecting 20,000 UI students/year to arts experiences
  • Supporting student creativity through fellowships and productions at Hancher
  • Providing professional experiences in the arts through student employment

Full integration of visiting artist residencies into the UI curriculum

Who We Are: History


Creativity has been a key element of the University of Iowa’s foundation for over 100 years.

  • 1897: First creative writing class offered
  • 1906: First iteration of the School of Music
  • 1920: First version of the Department of Theatre Arts–third oldest in the nation
  • 1922: Dean Carl Seashore of the graduate college moves  to accept creative work as theses toward advanced degrees.
  • 1924: First MFA recipient awarded
  • 1928: School of Music joins National Association of Schools of Music
  • 1936: Wilbur Schramm founds the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for fiction writers and poets
  • 1938: Dean Seashore’s vision of creative theses evolves in tandem with his and President Walter Jessup’s implementation of the Iowa Idea: the practice of building shared space between artists and scholars; this resulted in the combination of studio art and art history into a singular department, the School of Art and Art History
  • 1940: Printmaker and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett graduates with an MFA, the first African American woman to receive that degree.
  • 1941-1965: Poet Paul Engle becomes the director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1941 and cements its legacy during his tenure
  • 1969: Original University of Iowa Museum of Art opens, anchored by a collection that includes Jackson Pollock’s Mural
  • 1972: Original Hancher Auditorium opens its doors
  • 2016: Arts campus reopens (after the 2008 flood), including the new Art & Art History building, Hancher Auditorium, and Voxman Music Building
  • 2022: University of Iowa Stanley Museum opens

Distinguished UI Arts Alumni: Elizabeth Catlett (1940 MFA Art), Denis Johnson (1974 MFA Iowa Writers’ Workshop), Jenna Riegel (2007 MFA Dance), Simon Estes (1986 BM School of Music), Sam Hunter (2007, MFA Playwrighting)

Who We Are: Today


University of Iowa Vision
The University of Iowa will be the destination of first choice for a diverse and talented body of students, faculty, and staff, who will craft new chapters of explorations, discovery, creation, and engagement.

Performing Arts at Iowa Vision
In alignment with our institutional strategy, Performing Arts at Iowa envisions a first-choice, destination performing arts campus—a place where creativity is a core value and exceptional, transformative experiences in the arts are available to all students and community members.

The Role of Hancher Auditorium & Office of Performing Arts
Stewarding our performing arts units—Dance, Hancher, Music, Production, Theatre—toward the best outcomes of our shared vision. Celebrating the unique qualities of each unit while stewarding our holistic, connected brand.

Our Constituents
University of Iowa students, faculty, and staff; Our immediate Iowa City area community, the State of Iowa, and lifelong Hawkeyes around the world; Performing artists from around the world and the performing arts field at-large

Our Programs

  • An annual season of performing arts events featuring dance, music, and theater arts
  • A Broadway subscription series
  • Annual multidisciplinary festival Infinite Dream celebrating UI’s creative campus
  • Collaborations with the Dance, Music, and Theatre Arts departments
  • An ongoing series of visiting artist engagements with UI students and faculty
  • Partnership with the community school district (K–12) that connects students with the arts
  • A student engagement program, connecting 1000s of UI students with the arts every year

Strategic Funding Priorities


These areas of investment in Hancher Auditorium & Office of Performing Arts and Engagement will make our dream possible

Becoming a Leading National Arts Presenter

  • Direct funding to artist engagement activities
  • Endowing our programming department
  • Ongoing support to ensure regular upgrades to production equipment for our state of the art facility

Becoming a Leading Campus for Student Engagement with the Arts

  • Direct funding to Hancher’s support of student-focused creative work
  • Supporting student fellowships for creative research
  • Supporting student employment in the arts

Direct funding to increase access to the arts across campus and community

Total Goal 

  • $35 million
  • Total Raised So Far: $18 million
  • Total Remaining: $17 million

Ways to Support

There are two primary ways to help us reach these goals and transform the future of Hancher and the Office of Performing Arts and Engagement.

First: One-time, unrestricted gifts to the Hancher Circle Fund support our daily work and make it possible for our staff to invest in our most current priorities. By helping reach the annual Circle Fund goal of $1.5M, you will give Hancher and the Office’s leadership team crucial support.

Second: Outright or planned gifts to add to existing or new endowment funds to support more specific aspects of our future work. These gifts might include estate gifts, IRA rollovers, gifts of land, etc… Our present success is built in part on generous endowment donors. Each of these kinds of gifts makes Hancher’s future brighter.

Whichever is right for a particular donor, we are deeply appreciative and are happy to discuss which options may fit the donor best.


Our leadership team is always excited to discuss these opportunities with those considering investing in the future of the performing arts at Iowa through Hancher. Devin van Holsteijn is Hancher and the Office of Performing Arts and Engagement's Director of Development and the best first point of contact. He supports the work of campus leader and Executive Director of Hancher and the Office, André Perry. They are supported by and responsible to Provost Kevin Kregel.

Devin van Holsteijn
(319) 467-3658

Devin van Holsteijn / Andre Perry / Kevin Kregel
Devin van Holsteijn
Director of Development
The University of Iowa Center for Advancement
André Perry
The Chuck Swanson Executive Director, Hancher Auditorium
Executive Director, Office of Performing Arts and Engagement
Kevin Kregel
Executive Vice President and Provost
University of Iowa