Upper Iowa University will celebrate “Peacock Spirit 101” during its 2017 Homecoming celebration Thursday-Saturday, October 26-28, and among those leading the way in exhibiting the Peacock spirit will be Homecoming Parade grand marshal Kent McElvania.
McElvania retired after 32 years of service to the University in September 2017. A Waterloo, Iowa, native, he first served as the head of admissions and financial aid at UIU. In 2003, McElvania assumed the duties of assistant athletic director for compliance. Prior to his retirement, he also served as the University’s interim athletic director.
“I felt honored and humbled to be selected as this year’s grand marshal,” McElvania said. “A large number of quality faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University have served as Homecoming Grand Marshal – people who made a big difference in the lives of Upper Iowa students. I am honored to follow in their footsteps. I plan to take in all the festivities and enjoy the first of many UIU homecomings as a spectator.”
McElvania commented that the best thing about his job was working with students, coaches and staff. On a normal day, the West Union man wouldn’t be able to walk across Campus from point A to point B without a string of students and coaches greeting him with smiles and kind words along the way.
“We really have great students here at Upper Iowa.” McElvania said. “You will see the student-athletes studying on the road and in their hotel rooms during away games. It is a blast to work with each and every one of them. They have a strong work ethic and they follow our 80-20 rule, which is to focus on the 20 percent of the things that will produce 80 percent of your results.”
With over three decades of memories to cherish, one wonders if McElvania was reluctant to retire, but the longtime UIU employee admits that he knew that the time was right.
“I wasn’t counting down the days, but on the other hand I wasn’t lamenting them either,” McElvania said. “I just felt like it was the right time to leave. It was time to take the next step in my life.”
With a smile beaming across his face, he explained his immediate plans are to spend more time with his wife, Lois, and family, including babysitting his three grandchildren. However, McElvania insists that Upper Iowa University will remain a large part of his life.
“Lois and I will be doing a lot of traveling and watching Upper Iowa games,” McElvania said. “Anytime we are in town, we will definitely be found cheering at a Peacock games.”
The Peacock Spirit 101 Homecoming Parade takes to Main Street Fayette at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 28. Anyone wishing to submit a parade entry may contact Naomi Aziz, UIU director of annual giving, at 563-425-5966 or firstname.lastname@example.org.