Briar Cliff announces 2019 department ceremonies and commencement plans | Briar Cliff University

Briar Cliff announces 2019 department ceremonies and commencement plans

Sioux City, Iowa – Briar Cliff University is pleased to announce its plans to honor the University’s 2019 candidates for bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees.

On Thursday, May 2, Briar Cliff will host an Honors Convocation in the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace at 3:30 p.m. with a reception to follow in the Heelan Hall Atrium from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The University’s Department of Nursing will honor its graduates during a pinning and hooding ceremony on Thursday, May 9, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace.

The Department of Physical Therapy will host a hooding ceremony at 3 p.m. in the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace on Friday, May 10. Briar Cliff’s Baccalaureate Mass will also take place on May 10 at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Epiphany, located at 10th and Douglas in Sioux City.

The University’s 88th commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 11 at the Newman Flanagan Center on Briar Cliff’s campus, located at 3303 Rebecca Street in Sioux City. Additional accommodations for commencement guests will be located in the Briar Cliff Theater on campus.

Kaitlin Pauls, a Manchester, Iowa native, is Briar Cliff's 2019 valedictorian. Pauls is graduating with a major in nursing and minors in psychology and Spanish. During her time at Briar Cliff, Pauls was involved in the Honors Club, Spanish Club, Psychology Club, Cliff Singers, Chamber Choir, Student Government, Cross Country, Track, Cheer, BCU Student Nursing Association, Ambassadors and Charger Team. In addition, she served as the assistant hall director of Noonan Hall, as an ENVOY for international students and as an academic advisor to students for anatomy, physiology and psychology. Throughout her four years at The Cliff, Pauls traveled to Honduras with campus ministry, South America with the Spanish department and Europe with the nursing department.

The 2019 salutatorian is Olivia Matz. A native of Altoona, Iowa, Matz is a biology and Spanish double major with a chemistry minor. During her time at Briar Cliff, Matz served as a teaching assistant for general biology, physiology and microbiology and presented biology research at six different conferences and Spanish research at four different conferences. Matz also studied abroad in Yucatán where she shadowed a physician in an inner-city hospital. She is a member of the Briar Cliff Dance team, Briar Cliff Singers, plays flute at weekly mass and is learning to play the harp. Matz received the Department of Biology’s award for Outstanding and Scholarly Achievement and the Outstanding Student of Excellence award for biology and Spanish, and she is a member of the Delta Epsilon Sigma National Scholarship Honor Society and Catholic Daughters. She will be pursuing a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri in fall 2019 with the goal of becoming a geriatric physician.

Chosen by a Briar Cliff selection panel, this year’s student commencement speakers are Eduardo Valencia, a business administration major and history minor from Quito, Ecuador, and Kenneth Trezvant, a digital communications major from Modesto, California.

While at Briar Cliff, Valencia played classical guitar for the Briar Cliff Jazz Ensemble, sang with the Cliff Singers, served as president of the Spanish Club and on the Briar Cliff Student Government, helped organize the first intramural soccer tournament, served as a Business Administration Ambassador, worked as a teaching assistant for the Spanish department and was involved with the Men of Color student organization and on the ENACTUS presentation team. Valencia served as a translator for a mission trip to Honduras in 2017 and had internships at the Sioux City Public Museum of History, Bankers Trust in Des Moines and LaunchPAD Children's Museum. After graduating, he plans to work in the financial industry in Des Moines before pursuing his Master of Finance and Economics.

During his time at Briar Cliff, Trezvant played on the Briar Cliff football team where earned all-conference two years in a row and was selected to play in an All-Star game. He was a member of the Men of Color student organization, served as the media coordinator for Men of Color and Women of Color, and was an academic peer liaison. After graduation, Trezvant plans to move back to California and work towards creating his own marketing and media company.

For additional information on Briar Cliff’s commencement, visit

Tags: Campus, Graduation, BCU, Commencement