Psychology professor goes gold and blue for a good cause

Debra Knealing dyes the hair of husband and BCU professor Todd Knealing — an extreme makeover that was the result of a fundraiser for mental illness. Photo by Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Todd Knealing has a hair-raising way of showing his school spirit.

The Briar Cliff University associate professor of psychology dyed his medium-brown hair into a mane of blue and gold, the school's colors.


NAMI WHAT: Psychology Club Fundraiser for the April 26 NAMIWalk in Iowa City.
WHEN: 4-8:30 p.m.,
March 27
WHERE: Pizza Ranch, 3116 Floyd Blvd, Sioux City

Knealing's extreme makeover was the result of Briar Cliff Psychology Club students collected money for NAMIWalk, a National Alliance of Mental Illness charity walk April 26 in Iowa City.

"NAMI is a great organization that raises awareness and combats stigma on mental illness," Knealing said. "I promised my students if they raised $100, I'd dye my hair blue and gold until April 26. If they raised $1,000, I'd keep it until the senior commencement ceremonies on May 17."

Club member Jordan Ahrenstorff said students were inspired by other professors dying their hair for charity. They’ve raised about $800 so far, and expect to hit $1,000 after a March 27 fundraiser at Pizza Ranch, 3116 Floyd Blvd. in Sioux City.

Which means Knealing, who has been at Briar Cliff since 2006, is preparing to have blue and gold hair for the next 10 weeks.

On Wednesday, his wife, Debra Knealing, bleached and colored her husband's hair in the kitchen of their Morningside home.

"I've colored my own hair in the past," she said. "I've never tried to color the hair of anybody else."

Read the entire Sioux City Journal article »

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