Sister Jeanne OLaughlin, Barry Universitys president emerita, is seriously ill at Memorial Hospital Miramar, where she underwent emergency surgery July 8 for a perforated duodenal ulcer.
OLaughlin, 83, was Barrys president from 1981 to 2004. A native of Detroit, she belongs to the Michigan-based Adrian Dominican order of nuns.
Under her leadership, Barry quadrupled its student population, amassed a $22 million endowment, and became Floridas fourth-largest private university.
OLaughlin became a respected civic leader, the first woman on the Orange Bowl Committee, and a key figure in the post-Hurricane Andrew We Will Rebuild effort.
She made international headlines in 2001 when she became involved in the highly polarizing Elián González saga, siding with the 6-year-old Cuban boys Miami relatives, who wanted him to stay in the United States after his mother drowned in an effort to escape Cuba.
Elián was eventually returned to his father in Cuba.