Former Panther gifts $5 million



Bohl’s donation was announced during the Homecoming football game on Oct. 8. Bohl graduated from UNI in 1962 with a degree in mathematics before starting a career in the computer field with IBM.


‘62 alum Marilyn Bohl gives largest gift in UNI Athletics’ history to Dome Renovations

Marilyn Bohl graduated from UNI in 1962 armed with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a minor in history and a passion for writing. Sixty years after her graduation, Bohl has made the largest monetary contribution in UNI athletics history, giving $5 million dollars for UNI-Dome renovations.

“I’m very strong in the concept of giving back,” Bohl said. “When I graduated, practically the next day I packed up and went to Chicago and then I lived in Boston and California. But in the back of my mind I’ve had this thought that [UNI] helped equip me for what I’ve been able to achieve.”

During her time at UNI, her advisor suggested she interview for a job in Chicago with a company wanting to publish a new math book series. Bohl got the job, and moved to Chicago after graduating.

“I would walk past IBM everyday and I decided I wanted to go into the computer field. One thing led to another,” Bohl said.

In 1968 Bohl joined IBM and worked for the company for 25 years. She was also Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for two computer startup companies – Ingres and Dynasty. In the midst of her career within software development, Bohl launched another career in writing, eventually writing nine college textbooks.

Bohl first reached out to UNI’s Athletic Director David Harris two years ago concerning the UNI Fight initiative, which aimed to raise money making up for the lost revenue UNI Athletics had experienced from the COVID-19 pandemic. From that initial interaction, Harris and Bohl began chatting regularly. 

“I love Marilyn, she is fantastic,” Harris said. “She has great energy, wisdom and wit. She says what she means, and she is not afraid to speak her mind. But mostly you can tell she wants to leave an impact. She is trying to find ways to create and leave an impact, and she wants that impact to be on students athletes.”

In 2021, Harris along with the President of the UNI Foundation and Vice President of the Advancement Division Jim Jermier visited Bohl in her home at Long Beach, where the topic of the UNI-Dome renovations came up.

“We decided to make an ask of her for the UNI-Dome as it is the most significant project we had in front of us,” Harris said. “She made the decision, fortunately for us, to support the project. This lead donation gives us significant momentum moving forward. We can come out of the gates with someone who is willing to make this kind of investment, it sets the table for us moving forward.”

Bohl’s $5 million donation will go towards Phase One of the UNI-Dome renovations. According to the Jermier, Phase One involves the replacement of the UNI-Dome’s fabric roof, the construction of a new main grand entrance and the addition of suites, elevator and restrooms. These improvements will double the width of the concourse, which will alleviate congestion during games and other events held within the Dome. Phase One is estimated to be around $20 million, and $50 million is estimated for the entire renovation.

“$50 million is a lot of money for us to raise, and it’s going to take the entire Panther Family in order to make that happen,” Harris said. “But what Marilyn has done we feel like gives us momentum in the beginning that will help our project be successful.”

The UNI-Dome generates an annual $17 million in annual economic impact, and receives on average 500,000 visitors each year. In addition to sporting events like football games and wrestling tournaments, the Dome also hosts concerts, art shows, STEM festivals, Special Olympics and various other events.

“Whether or not you are a student athlete at UNI, the Dome impacts so many of our students,” Jermier said. “It’s hard to imagine the Cedar Valley without the UNI-Dome. We need to make these improvements for the Dome to stay an attractive venue option for those events and concerts outside the realm of athletics. Marilyn’s investment is a great step forward into making that into a reality.”

Jermier continued, “We’re just so very thankful. We remain grateful for Marilyn’s leadership and passion for the project. It says a lot about her. She really embodies the joy of giving.”

Bohl continues to leave a legacy of generosity on UNI’s campus and beyond.

“Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way,” Bohl said. “Value your education. There’s no bigger gift I can think of than giving a young student the opportunity and resources to go to college and get an education because that is the door to opportunity. Every student should make the most of every opportunity. Understand the value of the education you are getting, and make the most of everyday.”

For more information regarding the UNI-Dome renovations, visit