History of Barry University

1980s: ‘Shaking' things up

The beginning of the 1980s was an exciting time at Barry. On November 13, 1981, Barry College officially became Barry University and Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin, OP, PhD, was installed as the school's fifth president and the first president of Barry University. Florida Governor Bob Graham also proclaimed November 13 as Barry University Day.

Working with the Executive Committee of the Administration, Sister Jeanne set ambitious goals for Barry's future, including raising the quality of student life, expanding Barry's commitment to Florida and probing religious issues of the time.

Committed to helping students, faculty and staff live the Barry mission, she devised the “midnight shakes” test. According to her theory, someone could steal into a Barry person's bedroom, shake that person awake and ask, “What is your mission?” thereby eliciting the prompt response, “Our mission is to offer a quality education, ensure a religious dimension and provide community service within a caring environment.”


Growth continued at a brisk pace. In the 1984-1985 year, the Andreas School of Business and a 96-bed residence hall represented the first new construction on campus in 14 years. The School of Podiatric Medicine, which has now graduated nearly 1,000 podiatric physicians, was established the next year.

At the same time, Barry athletics made great strides as the university became a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Division II, built a new outdoor athletic facility, and added a full-time athletic director, six coaches and a trainer to the staff.