Sioux City, IA - Briar Cliff's 87th commencement ceremony took place on Saturday, May 12 at 10 a.m. in the Newman Flanagan Center on the BCU campus. The ceremony celebrated the graduation of the class of 2018 and recognized the Sisters of St. Francis and Dr. Robert Olson as distinguished award winners.
Approximately 290 students undergraduates and graduate students had their degrees conferred this year, including the first graduating class of the Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. Samuel Sneed, a Malvern, Iowa native, was Briar Cliff’s 2018 valedictorian. A double major in business administration and accounting, Sneed has been working as an auditor for Deloitte & Touche in Omaha, Nebraska, since completing his degrees in December. The 2018 salutatorian is Brandy Trucke. A native of Bronson, Iowa, Trucke is a music major, studying voice, oboe, English horn and piano. She will be pursuing a master’s degree in oboe performance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Chosen by a Briar Cliff selection panel, this year’s student commencement speaker is Jamie Jacobsen. A social work and English major and native of Omaha, Nebraska, Jacobsen plans to work as a social worker in Sioux City next year before starting an advanced placement master of social work program at Boston College in 2019.
The Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, IA were honored as this year's Briar Cliff University Medal recipients. "Briar Cliff University stands here today because of the vision of the Sisters of St. Francis, a vision that began in 1929: a Catholic college for women," said Interim President Rachelle Karstens. "The Sisters’ leadership has continued to have a significant influence on the day-to-day education, service and sense of community that occurs here on The Cliff."
Dr. Robert Olson, Emeriti professor of biology, received the Spirit of St. Francis award. He was recognized for his contribution to the BCU biology department as well as the university and Siouxland community. "It has been said that remarkable educators instill a love of learning. You did that through your vision for Briar Cliff and your passion for giving students a one-of-a-kind education that inspired their thirst for more knowledge," said Karstens. "Because of your efforts and innovation, the University’s human cadaver laboratory remains one of the region’s only educational cadaver labs. Many graduates attest to the profound influence the lab – and your instruction – had on their professional success."
The commencement address was delivered by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. Governor Reynolds discussed her dedication to education at all levels in Iowa and her own journey to graduation, a journey that saw her complete her degree during her time as Lieutenant Governor. "Be fearless. Never give up. Be true to yourself," Governor Reynolds encouraged the new graduates.
Congratulations to the class of 2018!