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Thank you, 2017 Team Peacock Riders!

Each of the team members below selected a UIU project, fund or program they are most passionate about in order to fulfill their fundraising goal. Read their bios below to hear their stories!

Collectively our team raised over $36,000 for Upper Iowa! Over the last 12 years Team Peacock has raised over one million dollars to support UIU students and other University initiatives.


Checks made payable to "Upper Iowa University" may also be mailed to:

UIU Alumni Office 
P.O. Box 1857
Fayette, IA, 52142

*Include the rider's name you wish to support in the memo line.

To stay current on the team's activity, be sure to like them on Facebook at facebook.com/teampeacock


Ashley Althoff
UIU in 3D – Sculpture & Ceramics Studio
$278.66 / $500

I am a junior at UIU pursuing Studio Art and Arts Administration. I currently live in Volga so I have a daily commute (which is a beautiful drive). My hobbies include spending time in the outdoors - camping, fishing, hiking, biking, etc., spending a lot of time with my family and friends, and creating art of course! I am most excited to meet new friends with Team Peacock as this is my first year with the team, along with my first year of RAGBRAI. I am also excited to raise money for the UIU 3D Art Department!

 Graeme Armstrong

Graeme Armstrong
Betty’s Team Fund (Andres School of Education)
$761.91 / $750

I am counting the days until my first ride with Team Peacock! I serve as an Associate Professor of Education for the Andres School of Education, so I will proudly raise money for Betty’s Team Fund. 

 Naomi Aziz

Naomi Aziz '13
Alpha Nu Omega Scholarship
$750 / $750

Team Peacock Rocks! Years ago I volunteered to help Team Peacock Support Crew and I couldn't be more excited to hop on a bicycle and ride with the team this year. I am the UIU Director of Annual Giving and I am riding this year for the Alpha Nu Omega Scholarship which directly supports UIU students. 


Drew & Kimberlea Baker
Student Scholarships
$1,500 / $1,500

There's no greater cause than education. We are stoked to ride once again with Team Peacock and support UIU students. Please show your support of student scholarships by making a gift to our fundraiser. Go Peacocks!


Jake Bass '14
UIU Student Activities
$529.27 / $750

 I am the Coordinator of Student Activities at Upper Iowa University. I graduated from UIU with a degree in Elementary Education in 2014. After completing two years as a Graduate Assistant for First Year Experience, I have found I really enjoy working with college students outside of the classroom. Go Peacocks!


Jill Buchan '02
Betty's Team Fund (Andres School of Education)
$215 / $450

I am a first time Team Peacock RAGBRAI rider. I have completed numerous full and half marathons, but I am ready for a new and different challenge. I serve as an Assistant Professor of Education at the UIU Des Moines location. I am very excited to raise money for Betty's Team Fund - Andres School of Education. 


Crystal Chapman '11
Student Scholarships
$501.83 / $500

This is my 6th year riding RAGBRAI with UIU. I LOVE riding with the Peacocks because I get to raise money for a cause that I believe in--student scholarships! It was because of the scholarships that I received from UIU that I was able to be the first in my family to obtain a bachelor's degree. Now I am just payin' it forward :)


Danielle Rosario Cushion
Peacock Athletic Fund
$451.83 / $750

I knew I was going to ride RAGBRAI for the Peacock Athletic Fund because of how dedicated the student-athletes, coaches and staff are to UIU. We’re proud to be Peacocks and we’re committed to the student-athletes. During one of our monthly meetings several coaches brought up the fact that our antiquated washers and driers were not cleaning and drying the student-athlete uniforms very well. Looking good helps one feel good. It’s important that our student-athletes have gleaming uniforms because they will wear them with pride and pride is contagious. Someone may think “it’s just a washer and drier,” but it’s about excellence and pride in all that we do. Our student-athletes are the face of UIU as they travel all over for competitions. It’s important that they look good and feel good.

We have two industrial size washers and driers. We were able to purchase one industrial washer and one industrial drier with the money I raised riding RAGBRAI last year so this year I’m going to raise money to go towards the purchase of another new washer and drier. This way our laundry facilities are set for the next 10-15 years and our student-athletes are looking sharp in their uniforms and standing proud.

 chas daker

Chas Daker '72
UIU Wrestling
$1,438.95 / $2,000

I'm looking forward to another amazing ride with my Peacock family! I am dedicating this year's ride to UIU wrestling. I was a former UIU wrestler myself and my coaches and the overall experience made an huge impact on my life. I love Team Peacock and I love giving back to UIU!

 henrique donati

Henrique Donati '16
Alpha Nu Omega Scholarship
$750 / $750

I am UIU's Student Life Systems Analyst, Upper Iowa Alumni and proud Alpha Nu Omega Brother. RAGBRAI is the perfect opportunity to fundraise for my fraternity, as well as, have some fun with some of my brothers that are partially riding it. I have never participated in it so it will be a great experience!


Bill Duffy
Military Family Fund & Univeristy President's Home
$3,503.20 / $3,000

Bring on another year! I always look forward to being part of Team Peacock and raising money for our incredible University! I am directing my fundraising efforts to the Military Family Fund, which is always near and dear to my heart, as well as the University President's Home. Last year major progress was made on this beautiful home and we would like to continue making improvements for all to enjoy. We've hosted several University events since we moved in last fall and my wife, Sharon, and I have happily hosted numerous alumni guests. This home is intended for all to enjoy!


Bob Firth '89
Firth Family Scholarship Fund
$1,541.70 / $1,000

My wife Betty and I set up the Firth Family Endowed Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships to students attending UIU through the various modalities available; including Fayette, centers, online and self-paced Programs.

The Firth Family has a legacy of lifelong learning for the numerous family members of ours who have attended UIU. I graduated with two degrees, a BS in Business (89) and an MS in Business Leadership (00): my sons, Matt with an MBA (2009): Kevin with a BS in Finance (2011) and Philip with an MBA (2015).  Also, Betty was inducted as an honorary alum in 2007 for her work as a Board of Trustee member and for her service as an Adjunct Instructor.

Scholarships will be awarded annually by the Firth family to UIU students who demonstrate the academic desire to succeed as well as showing their need for financial assistance.


Phillip '75 & Diane Gassman
UIU Men's Basketball
$1,550 / $1,500

Diane and I will be riding in our first RAGBRAI on a tandem as part of Team Peacock. I am a 1975 graduate of Upper Iowa University and Diane is a 1982 graduate of Illinois State University. We are excited to ride for Team Peacock and directing our fund raising efforts towards the Men's basketball program. Go Peacocks!!

 Brad Gast

Brad Gast '10
Wausau Center Student Scholarship
$846.14 / $500

I am a first time RAGBRAI rider and very excited to tackle this challenge!   It is an honor to not only get the opportunity to ride, but also to support a great cause.  I am raising funds for who attend the Wausau campus, providing much needed financial support to help these students reach their dreams.  Looking forward to this amazing week!

 Daryl Grove

Daryl Grove 
Outdoor Pursuits
$866 / $1,000

I am the Assistant Dean of Student Life at Upper Iowa University.  I love traveling, kayaking, being outdoors, RAGBRAI and spending time with friends and family. I'm an original member of Team Peacock with thirteen years of sweat and fun in the books. 

I dedicated my ride this year to the UIU Outdoor Pursuits program which exists to serve UIU students by providing outlets of outdoor recreation that engages both individuals and groups in adventure, fellowship, environmental stewardship, leadership development and outdoor education.  Please consider making a pledge – no gift is too small. Thank you for your consideration!

 jackson hayek

Jackson Hayek '02
Arneson Family Annual Scholarship
$766.14 / $750

It’s an honor to be riding this year to help a UIU student athlete receive a scholarship through my good friend and former teammate Steve '00 (Arnie) Arneson’s Annual Scholarship. As a former student-athlete myself, I know what a difference this makes. I wholeheartedly want to do all I can to raise as much as possible toward this cause.

Thank you Arnie for starting this, you bleed blue. Together we will make a difference in future Peacocks.  


Jerry Hensley
School of Science and Mathematics Churbuck Dean's Fund
$1,535.98 / $1,000

I'm one of the newest members of Team Peacock. I was recruited to join the team by my good friend and UIU Board of Trustee member, Bob Firth, and I'm so glad I said "yes!" It's been a wonderful experience and I definitely feel like part of the Peacock family. I'm happy to support this great university and I look forward to another fun year. I am dedicating my ride to the School of Science and Mathematics. Wish me luck!


Michelle Jacobsen '03, '08
Betty's Team Fund (Andres School of Education)
$751.14 / $750

I could not be more excited to ride once again with Team Peacock. I am a proud '02 and '08 graduate of UIU as well as an adjunct professor of education at the UIU-Quad Cities Center. Let the countdown begin. Go Peacocks!

 amanda jellings2

Amanda Jellings '14
Betty's Team Fund (Andres School of Education)
$551.14 / $500

This will be my 3rd year riding with Team Peacock. Let's say excited is an understatement for how much I am looking forward to riding this year! I enjoy being able to see everything Iowa has to offer, along with raising money to support a great cause! 


Rick Knipper '73
UIU Baseball
$350 / $300

It's been a few years since I last rode with Team Peacock and I could not be more excited to dust off my bike and hit the road with Team Peacock. I love UIU and this is just one great way for me to support an awesome cause, hang out with some wonderful people, and spread the word about UIU along the route. Go Peacocks!  

 chris and tiff

Chris Kragnes
UIU Mock Trial Program
$538.97 / $750

I'm looking forward to another fun-filled adventure with Team Peacock. This year I am raising money to support the UIU Mock Trial Program. Thanks for supporting my ride. Go Peacocks!

 tiffany bike

Tiffany Kragnes
UIU Mock Trial Program
$896.25 / $750

This will be my fourth year on Team Peacock and I look forward to raising money for the new UIU Mock Trial Program! The favorite part of RAGBRAI is seeing all of the UIU Alumni!  Go Team Peacock! 

 gina in paris

Gina Kuker
London and Paris Study Aboard (Betty's Team Fund)
$600 / $750

I'm a proud member of Team Peacock and am excited to dedicate this year's ride to the London and Paris Study Abroad program. This is a wonderful opportunity for UIU students to expand learning to all parts of the world. I've had the great fortune of traveling with past groups and we're excited to raise money to keep this program running strong. Thank you very much for considering a gift to this great cause!

 carol langerman-aten

Carol Langerman-Aten
School of Business Dean's Fund
$2,195.03 / $2,000

This will be my twelfth year as a Team member and I am dedicating my fundraising efforts to the UIU School of Business Dean’s Fund. In 2014 I graduated with an Associate’s Degree in General Business and in 2016 a BS in Marketing, so I am very passionate about the School’s program. Please consider supporting my efforts by making a pledge today. Go Peacocks!


Brenda Luzum
Colorado Alumni Chapter Fund 
$870 / $750

I look forward to checking RAGBRAI off my bucket list. (I better go buy a bicycle first!) I am the UIU Director of Alumni Relations, Stewardship & Communications and I selected "The Future" Colorado Alumni Chapter Fund as my fundraiser. Chapters are a wonderful way for alumni volunteers to get involved and help the Alumni Office expand its reach and build relationships with fellow Peacocks around the world! The chapter funds are used for student scholarships and for the group's outreach efforts. There is much excitement from our amazing alumni living in Colorado to officially launch this brand new chapter and I am hoping my fundraiser will be a great "kick-starter."  

 Justin Marchant

Justin Marchant '12
Team Peacock Marketing Expansion
$948.57 / $2,500

This year I will be riding to help expand the impact of Team Peacock by working to increase awareness of UIU and the causes we ride for. This effort will specifically rebrand our team and make our University’s new logos well known throughout the state. As we expand our efforts, we want to engage new donors to support all kinds of causes from scholarships to new programs and initiatives. Your contributions will directly help UIU’s continual effort to provide a quality and affordable education experience to all types of learners. 


Roberto Mardones-Cruz '15
UIU Alternative Spring Break 
$175 / $500

Let the fun begin! I am a first-timer with Team Peacock but I couldn't be more excited for this journey across Iowa. I've had the great fortune of traveling to some pretty amazing places because of UIU's Alternative Spring Break program. We have completed services projects that have made an incredible impact on the lives of those who we have helped. Please show your support of my fundraiser with a gift of any size. Thank you!


Donn Marvin '75
UIU Women's Tennis
$731.20 / $500

This will be my first RAGBRAI after many years of wanting to be a part of this event!  I am a proud Upper Iowa University graduate, Class of 1975, who is honored to ride with Team Peacock in support of UIU Women’s Tennis. Please join me in showing your support for this incredible program. Go Peacocks! 


Kata McCarville
Environmental Leadership Scholarship
$1,016.55 / $1,000

It's my pleasure to be the Team Peacock Captain! I've helped organize this wonderful team for years and it's an incredible project that I love leading. I am directing my fundraising efforts to support the Environmental Leadership Scholarship, which is awarded each year to a UIU student who is pursuing a career in environmental sustainability and solutions. Preference is given to students majoring in environmental science.  


LaVerne McCoy '98 & Stella Payne
McCoy Endowed Scholarship in Honor of Martha Weatherspoon
$500 / $500

I'm excited to be a part of Team Peacock this summer! My good friend, Stella Payne, and I are not able to make it to Iowa during RAGBRAI but we have promised to bike each day around Milwaukee and rack up our miles that way. The fundraiser we selected to support is a scholarship fund my family and I have established to honor our mother, Martha Weatherspoon. This new scholarship, established in 2016, is awarded to a deserving female who exemplifies what it means to work hard and earn a degree, despite all challenges that may come their way.

I am an an extremely proud Peacock and it is my honor to give back to a University who has made an incredible impact on my life. Go Peacocks!


Gail Moorman Behrens
Betty's Team Fund (Andres School of Education)
$3,100 / $4,000

I am proud to be a veteran Team Peacock rider and I'm so honored to be dedicating my ride to Betty's Team Fund for the Andres School of Education. Each day I work hard to make a difference in the lives of UIU students and it's my privilege to serve as Dean for this school. Please consider making a gift to this incredible cause! Go Team Peacock!


Matthew Ricci
Greenhouse / Botanical Research (School of Science and Mathematics Churbuck Dean's Fund)
$233.20 / $750

This is my first ride with Team Peacock and I'm beyond excited for the journey to begin! I am the UIU Advancement Systems and Prospect Research Administrator and it gives me great pleasure to help support my University with this incredible cause. Here's more info about my fundraising initiative: 

As the outside temperatures drop below freezing, the UIU Greenhouse stays warm at 92F, to simulate tropical temperatures. Located on the east side of the Baker-Hebron Hall which is the home of the School of Science and Mathematics, students in the biology program commit to botany research utilizing the year round warm temperatures. As of 2016, this greenhouse has been in need of mechanical updates to existing ventilation systems. By supporting UIU Greenhouse initiative, you are also supporting the students who are committed to plant and environmental research. (UIU Dept. of Biology and Chemistry)

Thanks for considering a donation to this great cause! Go Peacocks!



Mariea Schnor '89
School of Business Dean's Fund
$500 / $500

I'm gearing up for another great ride with Team Peacock. I am happy to support the School of Business, where I am proud to make a difference in the lives of UIU students each day, serving as an adjunct instructor. Beginning this fall, I will be an Assistant Professor of Accounting. My students mean the world to me and I'm happy to raise money to support their needs. Thanks for considering a donation to my ride! Go Peacocks!

 doug schumacher

Doug Schumacher
Student Scholarships
$930 / $750

This will be my first time completing the entire RAGBRAI route so I am looking forward to the challenge. This isn’t my first rodeo on a bike though; I frequently complete century rides or longer and race cyclocross in the fall (ask me about this; one race and you’ll be hooked)! I am riding to support student scholarships at UIU. Thank you for considering supporting my ride and this cause. 


Paul Skrade
Thomas Parker Goebel and Helen Goebel Scholarship
$750 / $750

I’m an Assistant Professor of Wildlife Biology and RAGBRAI was my New Year’s Resolution for 2017. What better way to bike across Iowa than with Team Peacock!?!? And I’m raising money for UIU science scholarships too!


Morgan Thias
Military & Veterans Service Center
$389.34 / $500

I am so excited to ride RAGBRAI with Team Peacock – this year will be my first year as a rider and I am looking forward to all the positive things this ride has to offer. I am the Communications and Outreach Coordinator in the Alumni Office at UIU and love everything UIU has to offer. I have decided to dedicate my fundraising efforts to the Military and Veteran Service Center (MVSC). Today, nearly 16% of the UIU student population are active military and this center helps support peer-to-peer networking, technology and specialized training for these military students and veterans. Help me support the MVSC and spread Peacock pride throughout Northern Iowa!

 Andrew Wenthe

Andrew Wenthe '12
UIU Annual Fund
$1,510.53 / $1,500

It's been 3 years since I last rode with Team Peacock and I'm baaaaaaack! I serve as UIU Vice President for External Affairs and I look forward to promoting UIU all across Iowa. This year I am riding for the UIU Annual Fund. Thanks for considering supporting my ride.

 timandholly wolff

Tim '16 & Holly Wolff '10
William Prochaska Endowed Scholarship
$2,361.20 / $1,500

The Wolff's have been proud members of Team Peacock for ten years and enjoy the 400+ mile trek on a tandem. Holly is the captain and Tim is the stoker. Holly has been with UIU since 2005; she is the Executive Assistant to the President and graduated in 2010 with a degree in Communications. Tim has been with UIU for five years as the UIU Print Shop Coordinator and is a 2016 alum with a degree in Graphic Design. Both enjoy kayaking, camping, riding their motorcycle, home remodeling projects and spending time with family and friends.

Tim and Holly will donate $10 for every $50 donated to their fundraising goal. Any amount is appreciated!

The Wolff's dedicated their 2017 Team Peacock ride to: The William (Bill) Prochaska Endowed Scholarship

Bill or Coach Pro, is a proud ’63 peacock alumni and a pillar at UIU and in the Fayette Community. His 50 plus year history at UIU as an alum, coach, athletic director, faculty member and friend has left a lasting legacy for past, present and future students. Pro is also passionate about UIU’s rich history and the importance of preserving and displaying for those affiliated with UIU.

We appreciate your support and assisting to make a difference to UIU students. Thank you!