Biography of Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD
Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD returned to her Alma Mater as Barry University's sixth president in July 2004. Her inauguration was truly a homecoming since throughout her diverse and distinguished career in higher education she has always been rooted at Barry.
When Sister Linda began her Barry experience in 1958 as a full-time undergraduate student, her leadership skills quickly emerged. She was a student leader holding various club and class offices, including junior class president. As a senior, she served as Sodality Prefect, an elected position of high honor at Catholic colleges and universities.
After graduating magna cum laude from Barry in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education, she entered the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan, making final profession in 1968. Sister Linda taught first grade for five years and completed her master's degree in guidance and counseling at Siena Heights College (now University) in 1969. She then returned to Barry, her Alma Mater, as assistant dean of students, and was promoted to dean of student affairs in 1970, a position she held until 1978, when she left Barry to pursue doctoral studies.
Sister Linda completed her PhD in higher education administration and leadership at Michigan State University in 1980. She returned to Barry in 1981 as director of alternative programs. The following year, Sister Linda became associate vice president for academic affairs and the first dean of Barry's School of Adult and Continuing Education, then and now Barry's largest school. There she led the creation and administration of degree programs for working adults at various sites throughout the state of Florida.
Sister Linda left Barry in 1986 following election as a member of the leadership team of the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan. She served as administrator of the congregation for six years and was responsible for overseeing the congregation's administrative, financial, legal, corporate and real estate matters.
She also facilitated the movement of the Adrian Dominicans' two hospitals in California and Nevada into a multi-state, multi-institution, co-sponsored health system known as Catholic Healthcare West. She served as a member of CHW's board of directors for seven years and as chairperson of the board from 1990 to 1994.
From 1993 to 2002, Sister Linda was president of Gwynedd-Mercy College in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania. During her term, the College constructed four new buildings, doubled its full-time undergraduate population, and raised $10 million, the largest amount of money ever raised.
Sister Linda is active in numerous professional and community organizations, both nationally and locally. These include:
- American Association of Higher Education (AAHE)
- Board of Directors of the Greater Miami Habitat for Humanity
- Board of Governors of Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
- Board of Directors of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) – currently serving as vice-chairperson
- Executive Committee of Florida Campus Compact
- Florida Association of Colleges and Universities (FACU)
- International Women's Forum – Florida chapter
- National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)
- Orange Bowl Committee
- Presidents' Council of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF)
- Presidents' Council of the Sunshine State Conference/NCAA Division II
- Presidents' Council of the Dominican Higher Education Association
- South Florida Board of the American Heart Association
Sister Linda is also the recipient of various awards, including the Community Service Award from the South Florida International Press Club and the Excellence in Governance Award presented by the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California.
She was the first recipient of the Barry University Distinguished Adrian Dominican Sister Alumna award and the first recipient of the Leadership Award from Barry's School of Education.
In addition to having earned her bachelor's degree from Barry, Sister Linda was awarded the Doctor of Laws degree ("honoris causa") from the University in 1992.
Sister Linda is a member of four national academic honor societies - Delta Epsilon Sigma, Kappa Delta Pi, Kappa Gamma Pi, and Phi Delta Kappa. As an undergraduate, she was elected to lifetime membership in Barry's honor society, Lambda Sigma.
In addition to her Barry roots, Sister Linda also has deep ties to the South Florida community. Her family has lived in Miami-Dade County since 1958 – the same year she began her education at Barry. She was born on March 7, 1941 in Queens, New York.