Phil aids new Hancher


Jim Fluck and Julie Scott are featured in a photo at the UI Main Library on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Former employees of the university, they have made $2.7 million in donations to support many areas across campus. (The Daily Iowan/Tawny Schmit)


In the campus-wide celebration of Phil’s Day, two longtime philanthropists who majorly contributed to the construction of the new Hancher Auditorium shared their reasons for giving back to the institution that employed them for more than 20 years.

When the 2008 flood hit Iowa City, the University of Iowa community lost the original Hancher. Since the flood, the UI has worked to build a new performing-arts venue, and the construction effort has been supported by generous donations from two local philanthropists.

Julie K. Scott and James F. Fluck both worked at the Hancher for an extended period of time.

Scott worked for Hancher from 1971-2010, while Fluck worked at Hancher from 1977-1988 before moving to UI Information Technology Services from 1988-2010.

Scott said she believes philanthropy is important because it funds activities and facilities in the community that wouldn’t exist without the generosity of corporate and individual donors.

“Philanthropy is a way of helping, and helping is gratifying,” she said. “The university was a good employer for me, so remembering the institution — both now and in my estate plan through legacy gifts — is a no-brainer.”

“As staff members, we sought to give back to the institution that was employing us, and we wanted to support areas, in addition to Hancher, that contributed to the quality of life in the Iowa City area,” Scott said.

Fluck said he was interested in recognizing the behind-the-scenes staff at Hancher.

“Their daily dedication to the innumerable tasks of a presenting auditorium like Hancher too often go unrecognized and under-appreciated,” Fluck said. “My contribution to Hancher is made with the intent to give the staff a little ‘mad money’ with which to make their workplace more fun.”

Scott and Fluck both reminisced about their favorite moments at the Hancher.

Fluck said his best memories were the summer residencies of the Joffrey II Dancers and the run-outs they did to surrounding communities for workshops and performances. He also remembered the performance of Ralph Kirkpatrick playing a harpsichord recital as part of the Chamber Music Series.

Scott said the two moments that stood out for her were the pianist Vladimir Horowitz and the première of the Joffrey’s Ballet Billboards with music by Prince. She said those moments stood out because of the “sheer electricity in the hall.”

Besides Hancher, other areas that Scott and Fluck donated to were the UI Center for the Book and the Wynn Institute for Vision Research.

Fluck said the donation to the Center for the Book was inspired by a tour of Timothy Barrett’s papermaking facility that he and Scott took.

“I admired the work being done at the facility and the products they were creating,” Fluck said. “Later, we acquired copies of some of the handmade books coming out of the Center for the Book, and again appreciating the craftsmanship and the determination to preserve or recreate historical techniques.”

Scott said her parents, who were both UIHC ophthalmology patients over the years, inspired the donation to the Wynn Institute.

“In particular, my mother’s life was negatively impacted by macular degeneration,” Scott said. “My legacy gift to the Wynn Institute is a way that I can honor my parents.”

Hancher Executive Director Charles Swanson said he worked with both Fluck and Scott for more than 20 years, and they both put their hearts and souls into Hancher.

Swanson said Fluck and Scott donated specifically to support building a new Hancher.

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