Mother Genevieve Weber, OP (1962-1963)
Much of the beauty of Barry’s campus can be credited to Mother Genevieve Weber, OP, an avid botanist and Barry’s second president. Long before it was fashionable to use indigenous plants in Florida landscapes, Mother Genevieve would make trips to the Everglades and other natural cites to collect specimens for the Barry campus. She also cultivated specimens not indigenous to South Florida and labeled and catalogued every plant so that a walk around campus could double as a botany lesson.
Mother Genevieve became the president of Barry upon her election as prioress general in 1962. A native of Chelsea, Michigan, she entered the Dominican Order straight out of high school in 1922. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science at De Paul University in Chicago and was a teacher and principal in Michigan, Illinois and Florida. During her years as a high school teacher and administrator, she saw the need for someone to teach drafting, and went to school to master the technique, a skill which she would put to good use later in her career. In 1958, she came to Barry as a botany professor and Mother Superior to the Adrian Dominican sisters.
Although much of the Barry campus’ lush landscaping can be attributed to Mother Genevieve’s influence as president, one of her greatest contributions to Barry’s development was reflected in the brief tenure of her presidency. By separating the role of prioress general and Barry College president, thereby allowing for an on-site president, she made it easier for the college leadership to build stronger community ties and conduct more focused fundraising efforts.
After her six-year term as prioress general, during which she worked to strengthen the programs and facilities of the Adrian Dominican sisters, Mother Genevieve returned to Barry as vice president of building development, overseeing construction of the Edwin L. Wiegand Science Center and a dormitory named for her.