80 Years of Barry

Updated: Apr 22

By Liz Calvo and Melissa Tumbeiro

In honor of celebrating 80 years of Barry University’s existence, The Buccaneer has chosen to highlight the most notable events that have occurred at the college throughout the years. It was our esteemed honor to interview our two most recent presidents, Sister Linda Bevilacqua and President Allen, as we admire our campus then and now as well as discuss plans for the near future.

The 1940s and 1950s

Reverend Patrick Barry, Bishop of St. Augustine, and his sister, Reverend Mother M. Gerald Barry wanted to open a leading education center for young women in Miami. So, they recruited their brother Monsignor William Barry, John Graves Thompson, and the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan.

Barry women students reading the college newspaper at Adrian

According to Dominique St. Victor, the Barry archivist, “the Cor Jesu Chapel was the first group of original buildings to be built for Barry College of Women, along with Adrian Hall, Lavoie Hall, Farrell Hall, and Kelley House.”

Barry College had several ideologies that still define the school today. Firstly, Barry encouraged the education of young women of diverse backgrounds. So, the campus welcomed women of different religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.

Left-Right: BU Students Liz Calvo, Brianna Lopez, Jimmy Muniz Jr, and Suzannah Young. Photo Credit to Melissa Tumbeiro.

Secondly, Barry made sure to help their students foster the core commitments we still follow today. These core commitments include knowledge and truth, inclusive community, social justice, and collaborative service. These core commitments are meant to resonate with students after graduating to create social leaders who can improve society.

Sister Linda Bevilacqua, former president of Barry University and now President Emerita and Founding Director of the Adrian Dominican Institute for Mission and Leadership, said that “the purpose of our undergraduate degree programs and co-curricular experiences was to create women leaders.”


Barry nursing students studying.

Barry became a member of the College Entrance Examination Board and in 1960 was accepted as one of the original nine members of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida.

Following the passing of Mother Gerald, Mother Genevieve Weber automatically became the second president of Barry.

Sister Linda, who graduated in the class of 1962, mentioned that she “loved being a Barry College undergraduate resident student.”

As the college was growing, Mother Genevieve decided it was time for the president to reside on the campus. She nominated Sister Dorothy Browne, who was an executive vice president, as the first resident president in 1963.

Senior Barry nursing student, Kayla Colon, studying. Photo Credit to Melissa Tumbeiro.

The School of Social Work was later created and accredited. They were admitted