CEDAR FALLS – The campaign to transform the UNI-Dome for the next generation has received a major lift thanks to the largest private gift in UNI Athletics’ history.
Marilyn Bohl, a 1962 UNI graduate (then known as the State College of Iowa), has invested $5 million in the UNI-Dome renovation project. The former software developer and executive said the gift honors the education she received at the university and will support tomorrow’s student-athletes.
“The significance of the UNI-Dome renovation to the University of Northern Iowa and to the community cannot be overstated,” said Bohl. “I’d have a hard time identifying a project that has the potential for greater impact on the students of today – but also students 10, 20, 30 years from now.
“I’m absolutely convinced that what I’ve been able to achieve today is based on the foundation built at UNI,” Bohl added. “And I’m just really thankful to get an opportunity to participate in this project.”
Over Homecoming weekend, the UNI Foundation and UNI Athletics announced a campaign to raise $50 million to support a three-phased renovation of the UNI-Dome facility, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2026.
UNI Athletics director David Harris said Bohl’s generosity will resound for the next generation of student-athletes and visitors to the UNI-Dome, and he hopes the gift will spur additional support for the project.
“We are so grateful for the way that Marilyn has stepped up to make this lead gift toward the future of the UNI-Dome,” Harris said. “Her belief in our vision is very meaningful because it gives us significant momentum as we move forward with this project. Marilyn is truly a special person who wants to leave an impact on UNI, our student-athletes and our community. The impact of her gift will reverberate for decades. We can’t thank Marilyn enough for this generous investment in renewing a truly iconic venue.”
Growing up in small-town Iowa in the 1950’s, Marilyn and her identical twin, Arline, were known as the stars of their high-school girls’ basketball team, and Marilyn dreamed of being a sportswriter. But after being told that sports reporting was only open to men, Marilyn considered becoming a school teacher. She earned a teaching certificate at Luther College before enrolling at UNI and graduating with a degree in math and a minor in history.
Bohl started her computing career as a software developer with Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids in 1964. She joined IBM in 1968 and spent 20 years there, rising to become a rare female senior executive and software industry leader at the time. While climbing the career ladder in software development and marketing, Marilyn launched her second career writing college textbooks in computing. She is the author of nine college computing texts, many of which have appeared in multiple editions and been translated into multiple languages, including German, Portuguese and Chinese.
Now living in Long Beach, CA, Bohl has donated to athletics programs at Long Beach State, Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, and the University Nevada, Reno. She made her first gift to UNI Athletics in 2020 to support the program and its student-athletes through financial hardships brought on by the pandemic.
In recognition of Bohl’s gift, a premier space in the UNI-Dome will be named in her honor. For more information about the UNI-Dome renovation project or to give, go to unidomerenovation.com.