For the first time in its history, Barry University will have a man at its helm

Mike Allen
Mike Allen Barry University

For the first time in the Catholic university’s nearly 80 years, a man will take the helm of Barry University, the Miami Shores school announced Monday.

Mike Allen, who is the vice president for student affairs at The Catholic University of America in Washington, and has 25 years of experience in higher education, will take over as president on July 1, when Sister Linda Bevilacqua, the current president, will retire.

He is the university’s first lay person as president.

“My goal is to continue the outstanding work of Sister Linda and be relentless in our pursuit to provide Barry University students with a world class education grounded in our Dominican values,” Allen said Monday.

Allen, who was selected by the university’s Board of Trustees after a national search, will be Barry’s seventh president since its founding in 1940.

Barry, which has more than 7,000 students enrolled in its two colleges and six schools, always had a sister from the Adrian Dominican Sisters as president. Bevilacqua, who announced her retirement in June, became president in 2004.

“Mike is inheriting the extraordinary, mission-driven legacy of Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, Ph.D., and her five Adrian Dominican predecessors,” John Bussel, chair of Barry’s Board of Trustees, said in a news release. “His demonstrated commitment to a culture of concern for others and his inclusive and welcoming nature will ensure that Barry’s commitment to learn, reflect and serve will forever remain at our core.”

Allen, who holds a bachelor‘s degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the School of Education at the University of Connecticut, will be relocating to South Florida with his wife, Beth, and their two children — Maya, 15, and James, 13 — over the next several months.

“One of the things that excited me about this job is that the values that are important to my predecessors are equally as important to me and I look forward to living out those values every day,” said Allen. The values, he said, are: Social justice, the search for truth and knowledge, inclusiveness and a deep commitment to giving back to your community.

“The students can expect a highly energized, motivated leader who will come to work every day to work tirelessly on their behalf.”

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.