Briar Cliff University

Briar Cliff University

Coordinates: 42°31′47″N 96°25′24″W / 42.529601°N 96.423227°W / 42.529601; -96.423227

This is about the university in Sioux City, Iowa. For the university in Long Island City, New York, see Briarcliffe College.
Briar Cliff University
Established 1930
Type Private Roman Catholic
Endowment $7.2 million[1]
President Beverly A. Wharton
Students 1150+
Location Sioux City, Iowa, USA
Campus Urban

Blue and Gold

Nickname Chargers
Affiliations Great Plains Athletic Conference
Website Official website

Briar Cliff University is a private, Franciscan Roman Catholic liberal arts university located in Sioux City, Iowa, United States.



In March 1929, Mother Mary Dominica Wieneke, Major Superior of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Dubuque, along with the Most Rev. Edmond Heelan, Bishop of the Sioux City Diocese, co-founded Briar Cliff College after meeting with members of the Sioux City community, who committed to raising $25,000 to support the establishment of a Catholic women's college in Sioux City. The twelve foundresses of the College were carefully chosen by Mother Dominica. They were led by Sister Mary Servatius Greenen, who was named the first president.[2]

On September 18, 1930, the college, named Briar Cliff after the hill on which it is located, was dedicated. Four days later, 25 women started classes in Heelan Hall, the only building on campus at the time. In 1937, the university’s two-year program was extended to four years. Fifty-five men were admitted to Briar Cliff in 1965 and co-education was formalized in 1966 with the admission of 150 full-time male students.

A Master of Arts in Education program was added in 2001. Briar Cliff College officially became Briar Cliff University on June 1, 2001.[3]


Briar Cliff offers four-year academic programs and pre-professional programs in over 30 fields of study, culminating in a Bachelor's degree. Two-year Associate of Arts degrees are also available in two areas. A Master of Arts program in education is also available. The academic year consists of three 10-week terms, September through May. The University also offers one one-week intensive and two five-week summer sessions. The average class size is 19 students. [3]


Briar Cliff offers nine intercollegiate athletic programs for men and nine for women. Its teams, nicknamed the Chargers, compete in the Great Plains Athletic Conference and are nationally affiliated with the NAIA. The school colors are royal blue and gold.[3]

The Panama Pipeline

During the late 1970s and continuing into the 1980s, the Briar Cliff men's basketball head coach Ray Nacke was able to recruit players from Panama to play basketball for him. These players, known as the Panama Pipeline, included several players who played for the Panama national team, such as Eddie Warren, Mario Butler, Ernesto "Tito" Malcolm, Mario Galvez, Reggie Grenald, and, fan favorite, Rolando Frazer. The Pipeline helped Nacke's squad to a number of NAIA Regional Championships, a number of berths in the NAIA National Tournament, and, in 1981, earned a #1 national ranking for the first, and only, time in Charger history.


Briar Cliff University is accredited as a degree-granting institution by Higher Learning Commission. It is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. It is licensed by the Iowa Department of Education to certify teachers. The social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The nursing program is accredited by the National League for Nursing. [3]


Briar Cliff University is situated on a scenic hilltop campus on the outskirts of Sioux City, a few minutes from downtown. Sioux City (which has a population of about 90,000) is located on the Missouri River and is the principal city of a three-state metropolitan area. Directly across the river are the states of South Dakota and Nebraska [3]

See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  2. ^ Wieneke family genealogy site
  3. ^ a b c d e Official website re background of Briar Cliff University

External links

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