Class Notes
Students First Logo112 million dollars raised for UNI, Response to Students First Campaign tops 100 million goal

In 2000, fundraising consultants recommended the UNI Foundation set a goal of $50-$75 million for its upcoming campaign. “The consultants actually thought $75 million might be too high,” explained Bill Calhoun, vice president for advancement. “But after further discussion, our board said we have great projects that deserve this funding and we think we can do it. Within two years, we increased the goal to $100 million.”

Photo of Construction

That vision paid off for both UNI and the Cedar Valley in a big way. With more than $112 million raised during the seven-year campaign, the outcomes are tangible. From capital projects like the new McLeod Center and Freeburg Early Childhood Center to program and scholarship support, generous gifts from donors are helping UNI fulfill its mission to offer a world-class university education, with personalized experiences that create a lifetime of opportunities.

The Students First campaign projects included:
  • Programs ($38.9 million)
  • Scholarships ($34.6 million)
  • Capital projects ($31.1 million)
  • McLeod Center, home of the Robert J. McCoy Court
  • Human Performance Complex
  • Freeburg Early Childhood Program
  • Russell Hall renovation
  • McCollum Science Hall equipment
  • Lang Hall renovation
  • Unrestricted and undesignated gifts ($7.3 million)



Photo of Mcleod Center
The McLeod Center, home of the Robert J. McCoy Court
  • 100,000 square-foot sports and entertainment arena
  • Home to UNI men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and a competition venue for wrestling
  • Will host community events such as athletic tournaments, concerts, and trade shows
  • Will free the UNI-Dome for additional events
  • McLeod Center and the UNI-Dome together will draw an additional 250,000-275,000 visitors per year, producing an economic impact of $15-20 million per year
  • Construction began summer 2004; completion expected November 2006
  • Visit to view the progress of the McLeod Center construction project.
  • Total cost: $26 million


Photo of musician in Russel Hall
Russell Hall Renovation
  • Extensive renovations to improve student practice rooms
  • Remodeling of the existing auditorium
  • Improved facilities for UNI’s world-renowned Jazz program
  • Private fund-raising will supplement $7.8 million in state appropriations
  • Projected cost: $9.8 million
Photo of Joe MurphyJoe Murphy
Economics major
Student body president

“We celebrate the success of UNI’s Student First Campaign. With a goal of $100 million it was the largest campaign in UNI’s history. By the time it ended on June 30, 2005, the Students First Campaign had received gifts and pledges of over $112 million. Forty thousand alumni, friends, and organizations contributed to the Students First Campaign. We’d just like to say thanks to each of you. And thanks for helping the University of Northern Iowa keep students first.”

Photo of Tarek FahmyTarek Fahmy
Business Management major
Student body vice president

“The Students First Campaign at UNI accomplished many great things for the students here on campus. It created 330 new scholarship endowments and raised close to $39 million for academic program support. Gifts to the Student’s First Campaign also supported several capital projects including the construction of an Early Childhood Education Center, a Human Performance Center, and new sports arena, renovations of Russell and Lang Halls and new equipment for the McCollum Science Hall.”

Photo of Grant Erwin
Grant Erwin
Family and Community Services, Criminology majors

“Scholarships allow me to come here for the full four years of my college career. I have been really involved in student government, Relay for Life and Colleges Against Cancer here at UNI. Those experiences have taught me just as much as any academic experience. Without the scholarships I would have had no choice but to work more and not be as involved in those activities.”

Photo of Lauren Pelleymounter
Lauren Pelleymounter
Communications major

“I really liked hearing Thomas Friedman speak about current world issues. Hearing others’ views on different topics helps paint a clearer picture of the problems the world is facing at this time.”

Photo of Human Performance Complex Design
Human Performance Complex
  • 23,000 square-foot addition to the Wellness Recreation Center
  • Home to Athletic Training Education, Global Health Corps, National Program for Playground Safety, Institute for Youth Fitness and Obesity and Camp Adventure Youth Services
  • Will include offices and treatment facilities for orthopedists and physical therapists, working closely with UNI’s athletic training students
  • Construction will begin spring 2006; completion expected fall 2007
  • Total cost: $7 million
Photo of Freeburg Program
Freeburg Early Childhood Program, housed in R. J. McElroy Hall
  • 13,000 square-foot building in Waterloo
  • McElroy Hall was specially designed for early education
  • Models the best practices in early education for children in preschool, kindergarten and grades 1-2
  • Serves children in Waterloo and gives UNI students valuable field experience
  • Construction began summer 2000; completed in Sept. 2001
  • Total raised: $2.8 million

Students First included more than $38 million for program support, including the UNI Annual Fund, Deans’ Funds for Excellence, Athletic Club, and Friends of the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, as well as those programs featured here.

Photo of David Wilson Chair in Business

David W. Wilson Chair in Business Ethics
Photo of Donna Wilson

Donna Wood, David W. Wilson Chair in Business Ethics, and a distinguished panel of guests at UNI’s first business ethics conference.

Joy Cole Corning Distinguished Leadership Lecture SeriesPhotos of Madeline Albright, Sally Ride, and Thomas Friedman
Photo of Russell Hotchkiss and Randy Pilkington
John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

Russell Hotchkiss, 2005 Student Entrepreneur of the Year, with Randy Pilkington, executive director, UNI Business and Community Services.


Photo of Students at McCollum Hall
McCollum Science Hall Equipment
  • Equipment for chemistry and biology programs in expanded McCollum Science Hall
  • McCollum total raised: $1.2 million


Photo of Lang Auditorium
Lang Hall Renovation
  • Renovated Lang Hall Auditorium and electronic media classrooms
  • Lang Hall total raised: $407,000