Briar Cliff Honors an Alumni Father-Daughter Pair at Toast to the Tassel

May 9, 2024

(Sioux City, Iowa – May 9, 2024) Father-daughter pair, Dennis and Sidney Marks, are honored alumni of Briar Cliff University, at the Toast to the Tassel event. Dennis was named as a Distinguished Alumni, and Sidney received the GOLD (Graduate Of the Last Decade) Award. 


Distinguished Alumni - Dennis Marks 

Dennis Marks holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Briar Clif University in 1983 and a Juris Doctorate degree from Creighton University School of Law in 1986. During his time at Briar Clif, Dennis enjoyed learning from his English department professors, particularly James Redmond and Phil Hey, and developed skills critical to his success in the practice of law. 

He has been representing juveniles in adult, juvenile and appellate courts since September 1996 as a Deputy Public Defender for Sarpy County, Nebraska. During this time, he has also been a member of numerous local, state, regional and national boards, committees, subcommittees and task forces dedicated to juvenile justice. Mr. Marks has spoken at numerous conferences nationwide and has testified before the Nebraska Senate Judiciary Committee on several legislative bills involving criminal justice reform. He has also authored articles for the Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorney Association publication, The Nebraska Lawyer published by the Nebraska Bar Association and contributed a chapter in a yet to be published book by the Cambridge University Press entitled The Handbook of Psychology and Legal Decision Making. 

Mr. Marks has been an Admiral in the Nebraska Navy since 2002. 


GOLD Award - Sidney Marks 

Originally from Omaha, Sidney came to Sioux City following in the footsteps of her father in attending Briar Cliff University (Go Chargers!) During her time at Briar Cliff, she was involved in Student Government, PALs, Cliff News, Res Life and the Campus Activities Board. One of her most cherished experiences was participating in the Honduras mission trip where she gained perspective on her beliefs and the value of her education.  

After graduating with her degree in Mass Communications in 2018, she worked for her alma mater’s marketing department for 4 years until closing the yearbook and going to work for the Food Bank of Siouxland as the Development Associate, assisting in promoting the services the Food Bank provides to the community. She has since grown into the role of External Development and Communications Associate, taking lead on events, public relations projects and every other “duty as assigned.”  

Sidney joined Siouxland GO in May of 2022, becoming the Community Engagement Chair starting January 2023 and beginning her term as President in January 2024. She has grown to love Sioux City as her home, finding some of her absolute favorite people out here.  If you’re looking, you can probably spot her eating some truffle fries at Diving Elk, playing sand volleyball/intramurals at the Ickey Nickel and Long Lines, attending shows at the Hard Rock, throwing some axes at Axe to Grind, or just taking a walk at Bacon Creek. Her motto on living here: “Sioux City is a trap in the best way possible. Once you find your people here, you’ll never want to leave.” 

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