The university bears the name of three of its Founders: Bishop Patrick Barry, Monsignor William Barry, and Mother Mary Gerald Barry. A fourth Founder, John Graves Thompson, for whom Thompson Hall has been named, also had a substantial role in organizing the College. Each Founder, in addition to promoting the standards and a strong liberal arts program for Barry College, made other outstanding contributions to the Church and education in general.
Bishop Patrick Barry
Patrick Barry was born in West Clare, Ireland, in 1860, one of a family of eighteen children. The future Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida was ordained in 1895. After serving approximately twenty-five years as a missionary to the state of Florida, he was consecrated Bishop on February 22, 1922. It was the desire of Bishop Barry that Florida have a Catholic college for women, a dream which was realized through his efforts and those of his co-founders. Bishop Barry officiated at the laying and the blessing of the cornerstone of Cor Jesu Chapel on June 20, 1940 but died August 13, 1940 just prior to the opening of the college.
Mother Mary Gerald Barry, OP
Mother Mary Gerald, a younger sister of Bishop Barry, was born in 1881 and came to America in 1900. After entering the Adrian Dominican community in 1912, she continued her education at Detroit Teachers College. She was elected Mother General in 1933 and served in this capacity for twenty-eight years. Among the institutions built under her direction were two colleges, three hospitals, a home for the aged, and a residence for business women. In 1950 Mother Gerald was awarded the Lateran Cross by Pope Pius XII for distinguished service to the Church. Co-founder and first president of Barry College she died November 20, 1961.
Monsignor William Barry
William Barry, a brother of Bishop Barry and Mother Mary Gerald, was born in West Clare, Ireland, in 1886. He studied for the priesthood in Baltimore, and was ordained there for the Diocese of St. Augustine in 1910. After years of active missionary work in the growing state of Florida, Monsignor Barry was appointed founder-pastor of St. Patrick's Church on Miami Beach. In compliance with the 1938 proposal of his brother, Patrick, and his sister, Mother Mary Gerald, Monsignor chose the location for Barry. He remained one of Barry's greatest benefactors until his death on November 17, 1967.
John Graves Thompson
Mr. Thompson was born in Bement, Illinois is 1906. He moved to Miami as a young boy, studied at the University of Florida, and led an active social and civic life in Miami. As a young lawyer, Mr. Thompson helped Monsignor Barry select the site for Barry and at this time his long friendship began with the founders of the College. Mr. Thompson, friend and legal guide, was fifty-five years old when he died April 12, 1961.