CEDAR FALLS – Two spaces within the University of Northern Iowa’s Van G. Miller Family Charitable Foundation Meeting Room will be named in recognition of donors who have greatly impacted UNI Athletics. The TrueNorth Companies Offensive Meeting Room and the Donna and Eldred Harman Defensive Meeting Room will complete the football team meeting room suite.
Construction of the suite is set to begin this winter and be completed in the fall of 2021.
The donor-funded space will be utilized by the UNI football team as a central meeting location, as well as suites for game days as a revenue generator for the athletic department. The multi-functional room will also serve as a classroom, study space and departmental meeting space. The room will be built in the northeast corner of the UNI-Dome connected to the north endzone office level.
“The facilities we have here at UNI enable us to find success both on and off the field,” said UNI Director of Athletics David Harris. “The TrueNorth Companies Offensive Meeting Room and the Donna and Eldred Harman Defensive Meeting Room provide space for each of the units within the football team to meet independently but come back together in one space. This new space will be an asset for both UNI Football and the athletic department in general.”
TrueNorth Companies is a provider of insurance and risk management services. Headquartered in Cedar Rapids, with a location in Cedar Falls and over 30 offices throughout the state of Iowa and the Midwest, TrueNorth is an employer to numerous UNI alumni.
“We are proud to invest in the communities that have helped mold us, support us and continue to shape our company,” said Duane Smith, executive chairman of TrueNorth Companies and a UNI alum. “As I hand the reins off to the younger generation at TrueNorth, I have had the opportunity to reflect and see how UNI shaped my life and gave me the skills I needed to succeed.”
Eldred and Donna Harman made a lasting impact at UNI by establishing scholarships and providing support to the UNI-Dome, Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center and the McLeod Center, in addition to their support of the football team meeting room. Eldred passed away in September of 2011 and Donna passed away in May of 2020. The gift to the football team meeting room came through a planned gift the couple established to support UNI.
“The names represent more than these two spaces, they represent people who have passionately supported UNI in a variety of ways. The naming of the offensive and defensive meeting rooms is an expression of our appreciation for all that Duane, TrueNorth and the Harmans have done for the University of Northern Iowa,” said Harris.
The football team meeting room project is phase one of the UNI-Dome renovation plan. The remaining plans for the UNI-Dome renovation will be released at a later date. The football team meeting room project is part of Panthers Rising, a strategic plan to achieve unprecedented success for UNI Athletics.
Both gifts were made to UNI Athletics through the UNI Foundation.