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Barry University Names Michael Allen, Ph.D., as New President
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March 13, 2019, Miami, Florida – Following a national search, Barry University’s Board of Trustees has named Michael Allen, PhD, as the university’s seventh president. Michael, who currently serves as Vice President for Student Affairs at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., will assume the role of president on July 1. 

He will become the first man and lay person to lead Barry University since its founding in 1940. He succeeds Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD, who has served as Barry’s president since 2004 and will become President Emerita effective July 1. Sister Linda announced her upcoming retirement in June 2018. 

"It is with great pride, joy, and excitement that I have the special privilege to introduce to the Barry University and South Florida communities Michael S. Allen, PhD, as Barry's next president,” said John Bussel, Chair of Barry University’s Board of Trustees. “Mike brings all the elements of leadership, character, service, and caring that our board was looking to find in an ideal candidate.”

Michael is a “strategic, visionary and creative thinker,” John continued. “His knowledge of and commitment to Catholic higher education and his engaging and dynamic approach to people and issues will lead and inspire Barry students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends as we strive to better ourselves and each other. Mike is inheriting the extraordinary, mission-driven legacy of Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, Ph.D., and her five Adrian Dominican predecessors.”

A seasoned higher education administrator with more than 25 years of experience, Michael has a deep commitment and proven track record of contributing to students' development, well-being, and success.  

Michael serves as a member of the senior leadership team at the Catholic University, providing guidance and recommendations for all matters related to student experience, with close collaboration on enrollment, academic, fundraising, and capital project initiatives. 

His major accomplishments include:

  • Coordinating an integrated planning effort that led to the anticipated construction of approximately $90 million in capital facility investments. These projects include a new, state-of-the-art dining facility, a new residence hall, and multiple upgrades to athletic and recreation facilities.   

  • Working with faculty and enrollment management to bolster student retention. Specifically, undergraduate retention rates have risen to the highest levels in the university’s recorded history. 

  • Expanding career development and academic advising support through the creation of a new Center for Academic and Career Success. 

  • Launching a new Center for Cultural Engagement in 2016 to support the recruitment and engagement of underrepresented minority students.  

  • Initiating the Our Community, My Responsibility campaign in 2014, with the goal of increasing cultural sensitivity and awareness on campus, while emphasizing the importance of civility, kindness, compassion, and personal responsibility as guiding principles.

Before assuming his current role, Michael served for eight years as the Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics at Catholic University. During this time, Cardinal student-athletes excelled academically and athletically, with 24 teams winning conference championships and multiple teams advancing deep into their NCAA tournaments. He also worked in various roles designing and implementing academic support programs for students at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Connecticut between 1993 and 2005.

Michael holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College and a master’s degree and doctorate from the School of Education at the University of Connecticut, where his dissertation and research focused on the academic socialization and personal development of intercollegiate student-athletes. 

"I am honored to be named the seventh president of Barry University,” Michael said. “During the presidential search process, I have been overwhelmed with appreciation for the values that anchor and define this university community. It is abundantly clear that the students, faculty, staff, and alumni embrace the values associated with the University’s Mission and Core Commitments.” 

Michael pledged that during his time as president he would “continue the inspiring work of Sister Linda, who has led the university to unprecedented levels of growth and success during her tenure. As president, I will always be cognizant that our students are the epicenter of our community. They are the reason we come together in this space and they are our greatest hope for a promising future. I can’t wait to get started.”

Michael will be relocating to South Florida with his wife, Beth, and their two children Maya, 15, and James, 13.

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