Alumni recognized for ‘Peacock Spirit’

Upper Iowa University honored four alumni as part of the recent Alumni and Awards Luncheon held during the University’s “Peacock Pride Ignited…It’s Lit” Homecoming celebration. In addition to paying tribute to the classes of ’58, ’78, ’88, ‘93 and ’98, special recognition was provided to the UIU Class of 1968 as its alumni members returned to Fayette Campus for their 50th reunion.

President William R. Duffy presented the 2018 alumni awards to the following honorees for their accomplishments either professionally, as an emerging alumni or through service to the University, community or country:

Service to University Award
LaVerne McCoy – Class of 1998

LaVerne McCoy remains incredibly passionate about the UIU-Milwaukee Center, where she earned her public administration degree. Now retired, McCoy served in the United States Air Force Reserves for 28 years. She credits her Upper Iowa degree for pushing her to achieve the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. Soon after earning her UIU degree, she was also promoted as police sergeant for the City of Milwaukee.

Upper Iowa University President William R. Duffy presented LaVerne McCoy with the Service to University Award.

McCoy has served on the UIU Milwaukee Center advisory board for nearly a decade. She serves as a UIU Leadership Series speaker and established the LaVerne McCoy Scholarship which is awarded to deserving students representing ethnic minority populations at the UIU Milwaukee Center. In addition, she created the McCoy Endowed Scholarship in honor of her mother, Martha Weatherspoon, to support UIU students representing ethnic minority populations at the University’s Fayette, Iowa, campus.

McCoy regularly participates in the UIU Honors & Awards Banquet, Senior Receptions, and other student and alumni events. Last year, she asked to be an honorary member of Team Peacock. Although she wasn’t able to participate in the annual bike ride across Iowa, McCoy still raised money for UIU and proudly wore her Team Peacock jersey during walks and bike rides with her friends in Milwaukee.

McCoy continuously shares her stories of how UIU impacted her life and that is why it is an easy decision for her to help current and future UIU students exceed in and out of the classroom.

Professional Accomplishment Award
Kathleen Horstmeyer – Class of 1966

Kathleen (Kerrigan) Horstmeyer graduated from Upper Iowa University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education is 1966 before later receiving a master’s degree from Temple University. During a 37-year teaching career, she has impacted the lives of young people at various grade levels and locations throughout the United States.

Upper Iowa University President William R. Duffy presented Kathleen Horstmeyer with the Professional Accomplishment Award.

Horstmeyer created a multi-age class of first, second, and third graders early in the 70’s while earning her master’s degree. During the latter years of her career, she led a thematic project-based and student-focused STEM classroom at the first-grade level. Opportunities derived from the Open STEM classroom proved to be exciting, creative and challenging, with a strong focus on global understanding. She lived in the Rainforest in Peru, mingled with Soviet Union educators, worked with NASA scientists, served as the coordinator of the JPL and Dryden Flight Centers, lived with a Japan family, experienced an African safari, traveled on the Siberian Express, and participated in a US/Soviet Conference.

In addition to serving on many national, state, and local boards and committees, Horstmeyer has been the recipient of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Fellow Award and Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Kathleen and her husband, Edward ‘64, reside in Chester, Connecticut.


Service to Community Award
Cheryl Hand – Class of 1971

Cheryl (Dale) Hand is a proud Upper Iowa University alum, who continues to follow UIU activities and is strongly committed to her hometown community of which she lives – Independence, Iowa. Over the years, Hand has immersed herself in projects that are extremely important to the economic and social development of

Upper Iowa University President William R. Duffy presented Cheryl Hand with the Service to Community Award.

Independence. Most are volunteer positions, with the exception being her 10-year service as a councilwoman on the city council. She has served on committees that raised funds for the community’s new library and renovation to Independence’s landmark structure, the Wapsipinicon Mill.

The many organizations of which she is or was an active member, include Buchanan County Historical Society,

Heartland Agribition Center, Independence Library Board and Building Committee, Buchanan County Health Center Auxiliary, Build for the Future (High School Construction Project), Kidsville Childcare Center, Mini Mustang Bank (elementary student-run bank), Wapsipinicon Golf Club, St. John Catholic Church, Jaycee-Ettes and American Association of University Women.

Cheryl and her husband, Doug ’71, have two children and four grandchildren.

Service to Country Award
Robert King – Class of 1987

Colonel Robert King (Ret.) has played key leadership roles as the public affairs officer for the Iowa National Guard at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa, and later as director of the Iowa Veterans Cemetery and executive director of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs. As a tribute to his service and dedication to promoting the Iowa National Guard, Colonel King was a 2004 Iowa Broadcaster’s Association Hall of Fame inductee.

Upper Iowa University President William R. Duffy presented Robert King with the Service to Country Award

King enlisted in the 186th Military Police Company on November 27, 1968. His enlisted assignments were military policeman, military police squad leader, and unit supply sergeant. Upon graduation from Iowa Military Academy Officer Candidate School at Camp Dodge, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Military Police Corps.

King’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit Award, Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, Iowa National Guard Meritorious Service Medal, and Outstanding Unit Award with three oak clusters.

A Perry, Iowa, native, King received a bachelor’s degree in business administration at UIU. He and his wife, Joy, live in Urbandale. They have five children and 10 grandchildren.

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