About the House System 

To help enable students to feel a sense of belonging from day one, Briar Cliff University has established the House System. The House System provides more continuity in the student experience, helping all students create a link between learning and living. Life on The Cliff goes beyond where you eat, sleep, and play. It’s the place where you’ll find a network of people to support you and make the memories that will last a lifetime.

Everyone has a Home

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When you are registered at Briar Cliff, every student is placed in a House, regardless if you live on or off-campus. Each House is comprised of a variety of students at all different backgrounds or stages of their educational journey - from first-time freshmen to fifth-year seniors and from off-campus commuters to transfers and remote learners. 

These Houses help create connections, develop programming, and provide leadership opportunities for all students. As a House member, you are invited, welcomed, and encouraged to participate and take an active role in helping plan all programs and activities in your House. The Briar Cliff University House System is not just a physical location, it is a community and an outlet to get involved at Briar Cliff from day one.

4 Halls

8 Houses

+ Memories Made

Welcome to Our Houses

Briar Cliff currently has nine Houses, each named after the foundresses who started Briar Cliff College nearly a century ago in 1930. Use the dropdowns below to learn a little more about each house at The Cliff. 

 

 Greenen-Wagner House

House Colors: TBD

House Motto: TBD

House Logo: TBD

More About Our Foundresses:

Sister Mary Servatius Greenen: Sister Greenen, OSFwas born in Streator, IL. to John Baptist and Elizabeth Weber Greenen. She entered the congregation of the Sister of St. Francis from St. Joseph's Parish of Le Mars, IA on February 5, 1900. She was on the faculty of the Immaculate Conception Academy in Dubuque for 21 years, serving as a principal for the last nine years. In 1930, she became the first President of Briar Cliff College serving until 1943, then taught as a member of the faculty from 1948 to her death on April 28, 1958. At the time of her death, she was survived by two sisters (Lena and Rose Greenen).

Sister Lucille Wagner: Little is known about Sister Lucille except that she was one of the twelve Sisters who founded Briar Cliff College in 1930. 

 

 McLaughlin House

House Colors: TBD

House Motto: TBD

House Logo: TBD

More About Our Foundress:

Sister Mary Aquinas McLaughlin, OSF: In 1884, she was born to Thomas and Lucy Handiboe McLaughlin of Bevington, IA. She entered Mount St. Francis Novitiate from Sacred Heart Parish, Pocahontas, IA in August 28, 1902. She made her first profession of vows, July 21, 1905. She taught in the parish schools of Temple Hill, Holy Cross, LaMotte, and at the Immaculate Conception Academy, Dubuque for 11 years. She was the dean and head of the philosophy and psychology department of Briar Cliff College, Sioux City IA for 21 years. Since 1951, she had been professor of philosophy and psychology at the Briar Cliff College branch at Mount St. Francis. She died on June 16, 1964 at the age of 80 in the Holy Family Infirmary at Mount St. Francis. 

 Manternach House

House Colors: TBD

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House Logo: TBD

More About Our Foundress: 

Mother Mary Irmina Manternach:  The youngest of 11 childrenJulie Irmia was born February 25, 1888 in Moesdorf, Luxembourg. When she was two years old her parent came to the United States and settled at Cascare, there she attended St. Mary's School. On Aug. 15, 1905, she entered the convent, receiving the Franciscan habit the following June. She taught at Xavier High School, in Dyersville, and later Briar Cliff College. From 1934 to 1938 she was Mistress of Novices and then became first assistant to the Mother General. After six years, she became Mother General, holding that office from 1944 to 1950. 

The former mother general of the Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque died on December 16, 1950 in Xavier Hospital at age 70. At the time of her death, she was survived by a brother (Father Manternach,) a sister (Margaret), several nieces, and a nephew. Two of the nieces (Sister M. Albert and Sister M. Janann) are members of the Franciscan community in Dubuque. Today, she is at rest in the Sister Annex of Mt. Calvary Cemetery. 

 Pint House

House Colors: TBD

House Motto: TBD

House Logo: TBD

More About Our Foundress:

Sister Mary Elise (Elizabeth) Pint: Elizabeth Pint was born on August 20, 1901 to Leonard and Rose Weber Pint of Independence, IA. She was the eldest of 10 children and she graduated from St. John's High School in 1919. From there she entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Francis in August of 1919, and professed at Mount St. Francis on June 21, 1922. Sister Mary Elise Pint, OSF,  graduated from Loras College, in 1929 from Creighton University of Omaha, NE in 1929, and The State University of Iowa in 1933.  Sister Mary Elise taught at St. Mary's High School in Waterloo, IA and Immaculate Conception High School in North Washington, IA before becoming Head of the Commerce Department and Treasurer of the Briar Cliff College from September 1920 to July 1949. She died at the young age of 48 in Xavier hospital and now rests in Calvary Cemetery. At the time of her death, she was survived by her eight of her nine siblings (Sister Mary Venetta, OSF, also of Briar Cliff College ,, Joseph Pint, Herman Pint,  Catherine Pint of Independence, IA,  Hilda Pint, and  Joseph Houlahan of Waterloo, IA,  Ben Werner of Aurora, IA and  Lawrence Kane of Oelwein, IA).

 Rohret-Hoxmeier House

House Colors: TBD

House Motto: TBD

House Logo: TBD

More About Our Foundresses:

Sister (Julia) De Lourdes Rohret- Julia Rohret was one of two daughters born on January 31, 1897 to Henry and Julia (Eckrich) Rohret of Cosgrove, IA. She was raised with her sister Mabel Rohret (now Schnoebelen). She entered the Sisters of St. Francis on December 21, 1915, and made her profession of vows on June 26, 1921. She received her bachelor's degree from Loras College and Master degrees in Education/English from Creighton University, Omaha, NE and Latin/Greek from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA. Sister DeLourdes taught Latin and General Science from 1918-1922 and 1926-1930 at the former Immaculate Conception Academy in Dubuque, IA. She taught elementary school in Portland, OR and high school at Remsen, IA in the years in between. She was invited to teach at the University of Iowa but declined saying "it wasn't the thing to do in those days."  She instead went on to teach at Briar Cliff College as one of its founding Sisters. For 36 years she taught Greek, Latin, and education, and was librarian at Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, IA. She is the last of the founding Sister faculty to have survived. In 1956, she was selected to the general Council of the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, a position she held for six years. During that time, she taught Latin, and so much more to those members of the novitiate at the time. Si Camilla recalled learning all the constellations. After that time in 1962, she went back to Briar Cliff as superior. She then cooked and cleaned at the archbishop's residence in Dubuque until 1970 when she retired to Mount St. Francis. In 1987, she moved to holy Family Hall infirmary where she died on Friday, January 28. 

Sister Mary Claire (Elizabeth) Hoxmeier: The steep slopes of Briar Cliff College grounds were alternatively dust and mud when Sister Mary Claire Hoxmeier  was one of the twelve pioneer Sisters to go to Sioux City in 1930. She stayed at Briar Cliff, teaching biology in the Science Department for thirty-seven years. The Cliff grew green and building after building went up at the college. Yet when it was time to retire, she was able to let go, writing to Mother Matilda Adams at that time that she would like "living at the Motherhouse and visiting the sick of our institutions, and the opportunities for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, and the advantages of the library." In her retirement days, she was responsible for identification and labeling of more than one hundred varieties of trees and shrubs on the Mount St. Francis grounds, as directed by Sister Mary Claire. To this day, one can stroll about the lawn and read the aluminum tags on the tree trunks. 

Of her earlier life, she wrote some years ago; "I, Sister Mary Claire (Elizabeth Hoxmeier), am the 12th child of fifteen born to Mr. and Mrs. Theo Hoxmeier. My Mother was born at St. Donatus, IA, September 6, 1857. My father taught school for some years after his marriage and then moved to Alton, where I was born. I received my education from the Sisters of St. Francis at St. Mary's Academy in Alton. After graduation, in 1913, I taught with the Sisters at Alton until 1916. During the school year 1916-17, I taught at a country school five miles from home. In the fall of 1917, I entered the State University of Iowa, which I attended for two years. On September 10, 1919 I entered the convent. I was then 24 years old. My reception day was June 9, 1920 and my profession day was June 21, 1922. In just 1922, I received my bachelor’s degree from Columbia College. My first Mission was at La Motte, Where I taught in the high school four years. In summer of 1924, I went to Notre Dame University, where I received an M. Am. degree in 1927. In 1926, I was missioned to Immaculate Conception Academy where I taught science for four years. Since the opening of Briar Cliff College, I have been teaching in the Science Department. The year 1932-33 I studied at the State University of Iowa where I received a M.S. degree in August 1933." 

At the time of her death, her sister, Sister Mary Jeanne, was the sole survivor in her immediate family and had several nephews and nieces in California. 

 De Sotel House

House Colors: TBD

House Motto: TBD

House Logo: TBD

More About Our Foundress:

Sister Mary Irma De Sotel: Sister De Sotel was born on September 7, 1881 to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. De Stoal of Millville, IA. She was educated at Holy Cross and entered the Mount St. Francis Community on September 21, 1908. For many years, she was head of the sewing department at Immaculate Conception Academy, Dubuque. She also served at Briar Cliff College and St. Anthony's Home in Sioux City and At St. Francis in Dyersville, IA. Sister De Sotel died at Sacred Heart Hospital in Le Mars, IA on July 2, 1948 and now rests in Calvary Cemetery. At the time of her death, she was survived by two sisters (Elizabeth Le Page of Peoria, IL, and Emma Nimmo of San Francisco, CA), one brother (Edward De Sotel of Postville, IA) and many nieces and nephews (including Leo Frommelt, Eldon De Sotel, Clarence De Stoal, John Pass, Harlen De Stoel, and Clarence Mcmillen).

 Dreckman-Schmitz House

House Colors: TBD

House Motto: TBD

House Logo: TBD

More About Our Foundresses:

Sister Esther (Anna Susan) Schmitz: Anna Susan Schmitz was born on August 22, 1895 in Independence, IA, the oldest of 12 children of John B. and May Kayswer Schmitz. She was baptized on August 25 in St. Joseph's Church and was confirmed November 16, 1915. After her elementary schooling, Ana helped at home until she entered Mount St. Francis on August 15, 1917. As one of the older girls in a larger family, Sister Esther was responsible for the care of the younger children, but she still found time to practice piano, ride a motorcycle, and enjoy movies featuring Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish. At reception, she received the name Mary Esther. She was perpetually professed on June 22, 1923.

Her lifetime ministry of music was spent in the following schools; Sacred Heart (Sioux City), Briar Cliff College (Sioux City), St. Edward's and St. Mary's (Waterloo), Keota, St. Mary's (Remsen), St. Christopher's (Midlothian). While in Midlothian, Sister also ministered to the sick and elderly in Oak Forest Hospital and served there as organist for their liturgies. In 1978, she retired to Holy Family Hall. During her many years in school music, Sister taught piano and violin and enjoyed providing the music for such productions as "Hansel and Gretel" and "Jack and the Beanstalk."

Like all true Franciscans, Sister realized that the Spirit of God is revealed and encountered in ordinary, everyday events of life. Sister enjoyed life, laughed a lot, loved her family and her community. Hospitable always, she delighted in small, intimate lunches with her Sisters or fellow teachers. "Coffee Klatches" usually feature her favorite cookies and ice cream. If joy and laughter are the gifts of living in the presence of God, Sister Esther certainly had open doors to the Kingdom. 

Sister Leota (Rose Mary) Dreckman: Rose Mary Dreckman was born in Le Mars, IA on May 14, 1899, the second oldest of 11 children. After attending St. Joseph School in Le Mars, she remained at home to help with the household duties for several years. On October 14, 1921, Rose Mary entered Mount St. Francis taking the name Sister Mary Leota at Reception in 1922. Teaching sewing at Immaculate Conception Academy and at Dyersville were Sister Leota's first assignments. Later, she served at LaMotte, Briar Cliff College, Petersburg, and at St. Mary's Orphan Home. As one of the 12 pioneer Sisters who opened Briar Cliff College in 1930, Sister Leota had the responsibility of the College Kitchen and of overseeing the work of the students on contracts. Having great rapport with students, Sister Leota, smiling easily, gave corrections in a gentle, humorous way. 

Sister spent 1942-1957 at Loras College, believing like Saint Francis "that to serve a priest is to serve Christ Himself." Her last assignment was the Sewing Room at Mount St. Francis. During her last assignment Sister wrote in her biography: "I found my work a great source of happiness, although as head of the Sewing Department, I at times found some of the changes difficult. However, by doing what I was asking to do, all things worked out for the best." Again, she wrote: "I have always been particularly proud of having been a member of a family of 11 children and have the most wonderful parents in the world. I believe that I owe my vocation to the great faith of my parents, who after a hard day's work prayed the rosary with us children during lent, advent, and my...and what a great joy it was for me to have three of my sisters join me in religious life!" 

Sister is survived by her sisters, Cecilia Mayrose, Sister Theona, and Sister Margaret Clare; and by one brother, Conrad Dreckman; several cousins and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers and two sisters, one of whom was Sister Angelora. 

 Lieb-Veit House

House Colors: TBD

House Motto: TBD

House Logo: TBD

More About Our Foundresses:

Sister Mary (Louise) De Chantal Lieb: Louise Lieb was one of seven daughters and two sons born to William and Helen Halder Lieb in Pocahontas, IA. She entered the congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis October 2, 1903 and was received into the Novitia on June 17, 1904. Two year later, she made profession of vows. Sister Mary De Chantal spent the majority of her teaching career instructing at St. Mary's High School in Remsen, IA. In 1930, Sister was appointed as Briar Cliff College faculty, but after two months she was transferred to Sacred Heart Hospital in Le Mars, IA. She died on March 5, 1952, in the infirmary at Mount St. Francis.

Sister Mary Clara (Anna) Veit: Anna Veit was the second youngest of the eight children of John and Elizabeth Walters Veit and was born on a farm near Odebolt, IA. She attended St. Martin's School through ninth grade. "My parents were both converts," she wrote later, "and my three oldest brothers were all baptized at the same time. My parents owe their conversion to a cousin of my mother's, a Franciscan Priest, who was also a convert. We drove to school in a horse and buggy, and my mother always saw to it that we got there in time for the eight o'clock mass. The last words she would say as she handed us our lunch pail were to be good to the Father and the Sisters. The result was two Priests and a Sister in the family. I always thank God all my life for the gift of faith. It seems so precious to me." (The two priests to whom she referred were Father William Veit of the Sioux City Diocese and Father Charles Veit of ID.) 

Anna entered the convent, with a recommendation that said, "one of the best girls of my parish," on September 7, 1927, at age 29.  She was received with the name Sister Mary Clara on June 21, 1928. Her first profession took place on June 20, 1930. "As a Senior Novice, I spent six months at Sacred Heart, Dubuque," she wrote. " After profession, I was sent to take charge of the laundry at Briar Cliff College." Her two assignments to Briar Cliff Laundry totaled 25 years, between she spent 15 years at Loras College Laundry in Dubuque. She was not a teacher, but in her 40 years in college laundry gave her an influence on students' lives that cannot be measured. "She was a great person, a big lift for people," says Monica Hennessy Krebsbach, who worked in Briar Cliff's laundry room as a student. "Working with her didn't seem like work." Part of Sister Clara's bright outlook, caught by students and Sisters alike, was shown in her sense of humor. Years after her Loras College Laundry days, she was given a touch of the former laundry area, now a college bar. "Oh," she observed, "I see they still have the suds!" 

In 1971, she retired to Immaculate Conception Convent; in 1977, to holy Family Hall. Where she wrote her "last wish" in June, she ended with "Goodbye, and may the good God always bless you all."

House Resources

 

Each House's personality depends on the people who make that community. We are all unique people who bring our own experiences, perspectives, and talents to the communities we are part of. Your House's structure and goals are meant to evolve and grow slowly over time, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Below are some general information, guidelines, and resources to help you start to develop your House community. 

 

House Assignments

 

The goal of the Housing System is that your 'House community' will remain the same throughout your time at Briar Cliff.

This means,  similar to sorority and fraternity models found at other universities, while the House will have a physical location and as part of the House you are more than welcome to live there throughout your time on The Cliff, not all of the community members will live within their physical House. 

Briar Cliff Residence Life will assign all new students their housing placement before the beginning of each academic year. Students have the option to select their roommate and are then placed in a House with a community of students representing all aspects of our vibrant and diverse student body. After each year, returning students have the opportunity to remain in their current room or physical House community or to enter the housing lottery process.

Please note: As we look to transition to this model on our campus, for this first year, residence life will also assign all current and existing students a House community during the spring 2022 housing process. Keep an eye on your Briar Cliff email to find out your House.

Keep an eye on your Briar Cliff University email to find out which House you will be part of this coming year. 

 

Apply for Housing

House Requirements

 

The primary requirement of all House requirements is all standards, positions, and practices established within the community must be in line with Briar Cliff University’s Mission and Values and in compliance with all university policies.

 

Establishing Position and Roles

 

All community structure, roles, and elections can be established, defined by the members of the community.

In general, the Houses are meant to led by the House President, three House Officers, community RAs. We recommend establishing/electing the following positions within your community each spring. The final Officer position is to be appointed in the fall, to allow for transfer and first-year students to engage in House leadership. 

 

  • House President
  • House Officer 
  • House Officer
  • House Officer
  • House Treasurer / RA 

 

The positions collaborate owning leading the following responsibilities for each House:

  • Hosting and organizing regular all-House meetings
  •  Establishing and maintaining regular communication
  • Hosting monthly House community events
  • Leading and maintaining any other concerns or initiatives brought forth by the House community
  • Managing each semester's House budget to support the House goals
  • Creating and maintaining an open, caring, and supportive community within your House

 

 

**House Budgets** All students pay an activity fee which is allotted to different groups on campus responsible for programming for students. At the beginning of each semester, each House will receive a budget based on the percentage awarded to the housing system and the headcount of the number of students in that community. Your House is responsible for managing these funds in compliance with university standards. The RA within your House will work with their residence life coordinator to access to these for your community events and initiatives.

 

House Activities

All members can participate in all House activities. Activities may include intramural teams, service, academic goals, and more. Being a member of a House isn’t a replacement for any other campus activities or athletics, instead it’s a way to bring all parts of your BCU student experience together.

Other Ways to Get Involved 

 

You’ll feel the BCU difference from your first step on campus. It’s a sense you belong - that you matter. You’ll find it hard to explain and even more impossible to forget.