History of Barry University

1990s: The world takes notice

By the time Barry University marked its 50th anniversary in 1990, the ratio of faculty to students remained 14 to 1, but everything else had changed. The past decade alone had brought enormous changes to Barry's campus. Enrollment had soared from 1,750 in 1981 to 5,900. Undergraduate majors had doubled from 25 to 50. In 1981, Barry University had awarded 475 degrees and in 1990, the number awarded was 1,316. In 1981, there had been no doctoral candidates; in 1990 Barry University graduated 46. To accommodate the growing student population, buildings on campus increased from 16 to 40.

In fact, not only was the student population growing, it was also diversifying. Barry was now serving more international and minority students. Students were older and males accounted for 38 percent of the enrollment.


Led by Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin, the 1990s was also a time when Barry raised its profile in South Florida and across the nation. Sister Jeanne became the first woman ever appointed to the Orange Bowl Committee and brought nationwide publicity to Barry University when she was profiled on the CBS Evening News in “The Best People” segment.

During this time Barry also continued to advance its mission to serve its neighbors and the community. When Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida on August 24, 1992, everyone pitched in from the campus ministry office to the maintenance department. The Barry Hurricane Andrew Relief Fund and the daycare center were established. The university also offered room and board to the military personnel brought in to provide security and to assist with the rebuilding.