About Founders' Week

Founders’ Week Celebrations at Barry University

Every November, we set time aside as a University community to:

  • recall Barry’s founding as Barry College in 1940
  • pay tribute to Barry’s four original founders
    • Mother Mary Gerald Barry, OP, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters
    • The Most Reverend Patrick Barry, Bishop of the Diocese of St Augustine, Florida
    • Monsignor William Barry, Pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish on Miami Beach
    • Mr. John (Jack) Graves Thompson, Esq., Mayor of Miami Shores
  • honor the Adrian Dominican Sisters who have been our religious sponsors and most significant benefactors since 1940
  • reflect on contemporary expressions of Barry’s Mission Statement and Core Commitments.

Historical facts about each tradition include:

  • Founders’ Day was first celebrated on November 15, 1941 to honor Bishop Patrick Barry, for whom Barry College was named. November 15 was his birthday. Over time, the day was set aside to honor Barry’s four historic founders.
  • Founders’ Week, as we now celebrate it, was re-fashioned in 2008 to include celebratory, recreational and scholarly activities that highlight the many ways that our university community expresses and exemplifies Barry’s identity, mission and core commitments.
  • Founders’ Week Mass has always been held as part of our Founders’ celebration on the closest day to Bishop Patrick Barry’s birthday. For many years, a cake cutting ceremony held in his honor followed the Mass. Today, we cut the cake on Community Fest so that more students are in attendance. Through the years, we have also dedicated two campus statues following the mass: Mary, Bearer of Good News, inspired by a similar sculpture at the Dominican Motherhouse in Adrian, Michigan was unveiled in 2010; and the Saint Dominic Statue was dedicated in 2015 as part of our special 75th anniversary celebrations.
  • Founders’ Week Distinguished Lecture was established in 2008 to provide our community of learners and scholars an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the nature of Catholic higher education and how our Dominican heritage informs life and learning at Barry. Over the years, we have hosted scholars from a variety of backgrounds, including Adrian Dominican Sisters, to challenge us with considering some of the most timely and important topics facing our world.
  • Arbor Day, first celebrated in 1941, called for every class of freshmen to plant a tree to symbolize their growth over the years. This tradition honors that while classes will come and go, the tree will remain as a commemoration of their contribution. The Arbor Day pledge and Hymn were also sung at the planting site. Throughout the years the Barry community has honored Arbor Day by planting community gardens and sustainable foliage. The orchid planting tradition has honored Sister John Karen Frei, OP, PhD, who served at Barry for over 48 years and who died on October 19, 2012. This tradition beautifies our campus and honors our Core Commitment to recognize the sacredness of Earth.
  • Community Fest, formerly Barry Pride Day, was re-named Community Fest in 2007 to combine the fun of the traditional birthday cake-cutting celebration with spirited competition among teams of students, faculty and staff who all strive to earn the coveted Community Fest trophy. Each year’s theme and special activities are chosen by our students.
  • Core Commitments Luncheon, inaugurated in 2009, highlights student projects that reflect Barry’s Core Commitments. Each year, a different College or School is chosen to present accomplishments and programs that further Barry’s Mission.
  • Athletic events, such as Basketball games and the Founders’ 5 K are regularly included in our Founders’ Week celebrations. This honors our student athletes and their commitment to academic excellence and service.

Whether you are living a Barry life in Miami Shores, Orlando, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, St Croix, or the Bahamas, we encourage to you to commemorate our founding with our students and colleagues. Founders’ Week highlights our institutional faithfulness to our heritage, Mission and Core Commitments. We are all a part of taking this legacy forward for future generations.