Briar Cliff University Recognizes Most Reverend R. Bishop Walker Nickless at Commencement

Briar Cliff University Recognizes Most Reverend R. Bishop Walker Nickless at Commencement

Briar Cliff proudly announced University awards at the 92nd Commencement Ceremony. 


The Briar Cliff University Medal is an award given to recognize human service by persons who have made great contributions to Briar Cliff or individuals whose contributions to education, religion, or government have been significant. The 2023 Briar Cliff University Medal recipient is Most Reverend R. Bishop Walker Nickless, Diocese of Sioux City, and Briar Cliff University Board of Trustee.

Bishop R. Walker Nickless was named the 7th Bishop in the 121-year history of the Diocese of Sioux City in November of 2005. He was formally installed and ordained as Bishop on January 20, 2006.  Last year in May, he submitted his resignation to Pope Francis ahead of his 75th birthday, a requirement of Bishops. Fortunately, Briar Cliff will benefit from Bishop Nickless’ leadership and participation until a new Bishop is named.


“Bishop Nickless has been an incredibly valuable member of Briar Cliff University’s Board of Trustees. He began serving on the Board in 2006 and has been a steadfast advisor, fearless leader, and advocate of our Catholic faith,” said Dr. Todd Knealing, Provost/Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Briar Cliff University. “During his time as a Trustee, the University has successfully completed several campus improvements – such as the addition to Heelan Hall, renovations to the cafeteria, and recent announcements of the new College of Health and Equity and fundraising for the Charger Dome. He was also involved in the approval of numerous new academic and co-curricular offerings. He has made a profound impact through his service to Briar Cliff University.”


Bishop Nickless also assisted in the growth of the Bishop’s Scholarship, established under Bishop Daniel DiNardo in 2000. The Bishop’s Scholarship has provided financial awards to more than 40 Catholic students in northwest Iowa who wanted to continue their post-high school education at a Catholic University.


“We have also valued Bishop Nickless’ passion to uphold Catholic teachings and traditions at Briar Cliff University. Emboldening and broadening the reach of our faith is a primary focus, and he continues to guide the University to fulfill this commitment for our students and our community,” said Knealing.