In 1971 the house at 103 NE 115th Street was willed to the University by Mrs. Helen Perrault. The stipulation was that her brother could live in the house until he died. This occurred around 1971, when the University received notice about the surprise and generous donation. This was the time when the sisters who were ministering at the University were first given the option to live off campus.
The stipulation was given by the then president, Sister M. Dorothy Browne, that whoever decided to live there had to get it cleaned up. Mrs. Perrault’s brother was elderly and not well, and lived there alone for about seven years; during which time it appeared nothing had been cleaned in the house. Several sisters looked at it but decided they were not interested—perhaps because the place was such a mess. The bathroom sink and tub were encrusted with dirt, the plants in the planter circling the Florida Room were growing out the windows, the walls were lined with tobacco juice (he had to feel his way around the rooms), and worms were crawling out of the cans in the kitchen. Several Adrian Dominicans took a deep breath and started to clean: Sisters Carla Atkins, Bernadette Pelland, Marie Madonna, Clare Beaubien, and Mary Tindel were the first sister-residents; many other sisters helped with the cleanup. When the house emerged from the dust and dirt, it was a lovely sturdy place. However, the colors on the walls were deep green and mauve (the 50’s). So, painting was in order. The outside of the home was a light green, and the house was often referred to as the Green House. Barry soon changed the color to beige to match its other buildings and it then became known as the Perrault House.
The following year Sister Carla moved out and Sister Myra Jackson moved in. Sisters continued to come and go like this until 1981 when Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin became President and decided to live there. Major renovations took place in the house and Sister Jeanne stayed there until the Katzentine family donated a home to the University on Miami Beach in 1987 that Sister Jeanne moved to. This home became a place of many presidential meetings and social events.
When Sister Jeanne moved to Miami Beach, Sisters Yolanda Pomante and Andrea Balconis moved into Perrault House. They stayed there for approximately 6 years, when they moved on and the Perrault House became the Vivian A. Decker Alumni House. Even though the Alumni House is now the edifice of the administrative offices of the Alumni Relations department, the original charm and grandeur has been maintained throughout the house. Please stop by and visit the staff when you are on campus.
Directions to Barry University
Vivian Decker Alumni House
103 NE 115th Street
Miami Shores, Florida 33161
From the North:
I-95 South to NW 125 Street - Exit 10A (old exit 13).
Turn left (east) at the light onto NW 125 Street.
Turn right (south) onto NW Second Avenue.
Turn left onto NE 115th Street, the Alumni House is located directly across from the main campus and is on the corner of NE 1st Ave and NE 115th Street
From the south:
I-95 North to NW 103 Street
Turn right (east) at the light onto NW 103 Street.
Turn left (North) onto North Miami Avenue.
Turn right onto NE 115th Street, the Alumni House is located directly across from the main campus and is on the corner of NE 1st Ave and NE 115th Street