Briar Cliff Announces 2022 Community Awards

May 14, 2022

Briar Cliff University hosted their 91st Commencement Ceremony at the Sioux City Orpheum on Saturday, May 14. During the ceremony, community members were recognized for their contributions to the university through the following awards:

The Briar Cliff University Medal was awarded to a 1969 graduate of Briar Cliff, Steve Freeman. This award is 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. 
In March of 2022, Freeman completed 12 years of service to the university as a member of the Board of Trustees. Most recently, he served as the university’s first layperson Chair for the past five years. Steve’s passion for Catholic education, Franciscan values, and commitment to serving his alma matter and the Siouxland community has been a historic milestone for the university. He has given generously of his time, talent, and treasure to Briar Cliff University.


The Spirit of St. Francis Award was presented to the frontline health care workers of MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center and UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s. This award is to honor individuals who exemplify the Franciscan spirit of service and concern for others through contributions to society and a value-centered professional and/or family life. 
At the height of the global pandemic, Sioux City and the surrounding Woodbury County were one of the nation’s long-term hot spots for the coronavirus, with local hospitals and health care providers reporting a continual flow of patients infected with the virus. At the peak of the outbreak, the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 in Woodbury County was more than double the national rate. Physicians, nurses, and other heath care professionals risked their lives daily while enduring extreme mental fatigue combined with physical exhaustion and increased stress from treating patients. These professionals were honored for their compassionate, life-saving care to our Siouxland community.


The Presidential Distinguished Leadership Award was presented to Sterling. This award recognizes distinguished service to the University that has resulted in significant achievement and advancement of the Briar Cliff philosophy, goals, and programs. 
Over the past several years, Sterling has partnered with Briar Cliff University to ensure employees have the most reliable IT-solution hardware to assist in serving students. Recently, Sterling became a lead partner for the university’s new Esports Arena, home to the newest co-ed athletic sport. The addition of Esports also supports growth strategies in STEM majors and complement the Computer Science programs. In additional to their financial resource support, Sterling’s partnership also provides invaluable in-kind technical and creative design assistance. 

In addition to these notable awards, approximately 220 candidates received their degree during the 91st Commencement Ceremony.

Briar Cliff Honors Presidential Distinguished Leadership Award Winner

Briar Cliff Honors the Spirit of St. Francis Award Winner - Larry Obermeyer

Dr. Joe Liewer is Awarded the Briar Cliff University Medal