History and Vision

Barry University: Engaging the World through Transformative Catholic Higher Education


Saint Dominic was driven by a profound compassion for all human suffering, an unfailing quest for truth and a deep zest for human learning. As followers of Saint Dominic, Dominican institutions are known throughout the world for their excellence in teaching, preaching and dedication to truth, study and service. The Dominican tradition imbues and animates Barry University. Our Dominican charism provides an environment that nurtures our students, supporting them and facilitating the achievement of their educational goals. Our caring colleagues create the transformational moments that help students actualize their potential, encouraging them to become what they dare to be. In this community-oriented atmosphere, we also provide the nourishment that allows us to transform ourselves and our institution, giving us the strength to identify our personal and institutional challenges and to address them.

Barry University was originally founded as Barry College for Women in 1940 in the Judeo-Christian heritage and the tradition of Saint Dominic. It became a university in 1981. Originally conceptualized by the Most Reverend Patrick Barry, Bishop of St. Augustine, and Reverend Mother M. Gerald Barry, Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan, plans for Barry College received enthusiastic support from Reverend William Barry, Pastor of St. Patrick's Church of Miami Beach, and John Thompson, Mayor of Miami Shores, Florida. Today, Barry University enrolls a diverse and multicultural student body of more than 9,000, in over 100 undergraduate and graduate, full-time and part-time academic programs. Barry is governed by an independent, self-perpetuating Board of Trustees and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Dominic of Adrian, Michigan.

In this process of strategic planning we have learned that we are now the demographic microcosm of what the rest of our country will become in the next decades. Therefore, we must become an exemplar for other American colleges and universities as they encounter this phenomenon. We have also learned that our state-wide locations, particularly in South Florida, give us special insights about the future and our responsibilities in this hemisphere. We are perfectly placed to interpret for ourselves and others the intersections between all the cultures of Canada and the United States and all the cultures of Latin American and the Caribbean.

We have always been the model of a spiritual, personal, responsive and transformational learning community, distinguished by academic excellence and caring service. Now, we find ourselves at the crossroads of the Americas and Caribbean, in an increasingly complex and still emerging environment. We shall share our distinctive mission and values throughout our hemisphere. We shall become a university community distinguished by Engaging the World through Transformative Catholic Higher Education.