Dr. Hamid Shirvani announced as 10th president of Briar Cliff University

New Briar Cliff President Dr. Hamid Shirvani is greeted by students, faculty and community members during a welcoming ceremony on Thursday, April 7.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Briar Cliff University is excited to announce today the hiring of Dr. Hamid “Ham” Shirvani as its next university president. Shirvani will assume official duties on July 1, replacing outgoing President Beverly A. Wharton, who announced her retirement in 2015.

Shirvani, Hamid


“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Shirvani to Briar Cliff University,” said Sister Kate Katoski, chair of the Briar Cliff Board of Trustees. “His experience leading higher education institutions throughout the country, combined with his rich academic background and strong Catholic roots, will be an enormous asset to our university.”

Currently a senior fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Dr. Shirvani has an extensive educational background. He earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University, as well as degrees from Harvard University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Pratt Institute and Polytechnic of Central London.

"I am very honored to have been given the opportunity to lead this highly respected University to the next level of success and excellence," said Dr. Shirvani. “My deep gratitude to the Board and the Briar Cliff Community for the faith and confidence they have placed in me by making this important appointment.”

I am very honored to have been given the opportunity to lead this highly respected University to the next level of success and excellence.

— Dr. Hamid Shirvani, 
10th President
of Briar Cliff University

Shirvani has 37 years of experience in academics at leading universities across the country, with more than two decades in leadership, including as president of California State University Stanislaus and chancellor of schools for the North Dakota University System.

Throughout his career, Shirvani has raised more than $700 million in development and fundraising activities, as well as more than $1 million in research grant funding for the institutions he served. He has also published several books and dozens of articles.

He comes highly recommended from education leaders around the country.

“I cannot think of anyone more qualified, experienced and committed than Dr. Shirvani.” said The Most Reverend George Niederauer, Ph.D., Archbishop Emeritus of San Francisco/Archbishop Emeritus of Salt Lake City. “His manners, humility and communication skills enable him to relate to the many constituencies that are so critical to the health of an institution. I am confident that Dr. Shirvani will be an outstanding President for Briar Cliff University. He is a good listener and confident builder of a collegial and engaging work environment.”

Shirvani was the unanimous selection of the Board of Trustees and the search committee as the candidate who best exemplified Briar Cliff’s mission to educate students in the Catholic, Franciscan tradition of service, caring and openness to all. “This is an important, but challenging time in higher education,” Katoski said. “As we focus on continued growth, student and faculty retention, community outreach and expanded service opportunities, Dr. Shirvani is uniquely qualified to build on our successes under President Wharton, and to help Briar Cliff reach the next level of excellence.”

Tags: Campus, Alumni, Academics, Admissions, BCU, President, Dr. Hamid Shirvani