Friends of the Gallagher Bluedorn announces $1.5 million gift to renovation and expansion

The Gallagher Bluedorn at University of Northern Iowa has received a $1 million gift from the Friends of the Gallagher Bluedorn to put toward the theater’s $14.9 million expansion project. 

The gift was announced last month by Friends of the Gallagher Bluedorn President, Robert Frederick, at Jay Leno’s sold-out show at the Gallagher Bluedorn. 

Friends, which formed more than 20 years ago, has a mission to support Gallagher Bluedorn’s programming and operations. Since its inception, they have given nearly $1.3 million to Gallagher Bluedorn through annual support to infrastructure, equipment, performances and the beloved Kaleidoscope Series for Youth.  

On April 9, at the Friends’ annual meeting and dinner, Frederick announced a second major gift.

“We understand that not everyone is in a position to give, but if you are able and you are a patron of the Gallagher Bluedorn, now is the time to step up,” he told attendees. “We are committed to doubling new donations, dollar for dollar, up to an additional $500,000.”

The two gifts, totaling $1.5 million, brings the total amount raised for the project to $11.9 million.

The group is hoping its initial gift and additional match challenge will assist the Gallagher Bluedorn in achieving its full fundraising goal.

The Gallagher Bluedorn’s renovation and expansion plan will modernize the space and elevate the patron experience. Originally built to host 140 events and serve up to 14,000 guests annually, the center currently hosts nearly 600 events and more than 115,000 guests each year – operating at ten times its expected capacity. 

The project is slated to include expansion of the lobby, ticketing and concessions areas, as well as the addition of the Marquee Lounge, along with renovations of existing amenities, such as seating in the Great Hall and restroom upgrades.

The Friends of the Gallagher Bluedorn gift was made to the University of Northern Iowa through the UNI Foundation. 

For more information about the Gallagher Bluedorn renovation or to make your gift, visit

People on dark Gallagher Bluedorn stage clap as gift is announced

With questions, contact:

Nate Clapham
Assistant VP of Collegiate Development & Annual Giving