SIOUX CITY | 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 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."
"I've never had bleach is my hair," Todd Knealing responded. "It tingles."
After bleach came blue and yellow dye, then the big reveal.
"I look like a punk rocker!" Todd Knealing said.
His look has been a hit on campus.
"Some of the faculty who weren't aware of the bet asked me if I was going through a mid-life crisis," Knealing said with a smile.
"I think Todd looks great," said Psychology Club member James Merryfield. "He looks like one of the students instead of one of the professors."
Despite of his colorful hairdo, Knealing refuses to wear a cap.
"I'll get a few strange looks when I'm at the grocery store or at the mall," he said. "But when I do something, I go all in and own it."
Knealing said he just wants to motivate his students so they meet the fundraising goal.
"Hair dye will fade, but my students will remember me with my blue-and-gold hair long after they graduate from Briar Cliff," he said.