Patrons' Hancher habits started in college

Terry Abernathy and his wife, Dr. Johanna Abernathy, have been Hancher Auditorium patrons and donors since the facility opened in 1972 during their days as University of Iowa students.

"I think our huge contribution was $25, which allowed you to buy tickets ahead of the general public," Abernathy, 64, of Cedar Rapids, said about their first donation to Hancher. "We (donated) because we wanted to buy tickets."

They’re now Hancher Partners, giving, he estimates, between $5,000 and $10,000 a year to support programming, from performances to free educational activities.

"They’ve always brought such quality entertainment to the area, and I think the best quality entertainment," Abernathy said.

He and his wife brought their two daughters to Hancher shows over the years, and the couple continue to attend not only the shows that pique their interest, but some by artists they don’t know.

John Oliver’s comedy show was a perfect example, Abernathy said. "We bought tickets to that when the tickets came out. We didn’t know who John Oliver was. We had a fabulous time, a lot of fun. That kind of exposure that Hancher provides — that’s what we’ve always enjoyed."

They also attended shows for the first time at the Riverside Casino Event Center and The Mill restaurant in downtown Iowa City.

"We had no idea that space existed," he said of The Mill.

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