Barry University names Mike Allen, Ph.D., as new president

Barry University names Mike Allen, Ph.D., as new president

MIAMI (March 11, 2019) – Following a national search, Barry University’s Board of Trustees has named Mike Allen, Ph.D., as the university’s seventh president. Allen, 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.

Allen will become the first man and lay person to lead Barry University since its founding in 1940. Featuring two colleges and six schools, the university has a student enrollment of more than 7,000. He succeeds Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, Ph.D., who has served as Barry’s president since 2004 and will become President Emerita effective July 1. Bevilacqua announced her 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, Ph.D., as Barry's next president. Mike brings all the elements of leadership, character, service, and caring that our board was looking to find in an ideal candidate,” said John Bussel, chair of Barry’s Board of Trustees. “Known as a strategic, visionary and creative thinker, Mike's 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. 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."

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

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

Some of his major accomplishments include:

  • Coordinated an integrated planning effort that led to the anticipated construction of approximately $90 million in capital facility investments in close conjunction with the launch of an institutional capital campaign. These projects include a new, state-of-the-art dining facility, a new residence hall, and multiple upgrades to athletic and recreation facilities.  
  • As chair of the University Retention Committee, led a collaborative effort with faculty and Enrollment Management to significantly bolster student retention from matriculation through graduation. Specifically, undergraduate student retention rates have risen to the highest levels in the university’s recorded history.  
  • Worked collaboratively with University Advancement to secure several multi-million-dollar donations for support of capital projects and initiatives. 
  • As co-chair of the University Strategic Plan Steering Committee, Allen co-led an effort to assess and modify the existing Strategic Plan to set the course for the university over the next five years. 
  • Expanded career development and academic advising support through the creation of a new Center for Academic and Career Success.
  • Launched a new Center for Cultural Engagement in 2016 to support the recruitment and engagement of underrepresented minority students. 
  • Initiated 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.
  • Significantly expanded co-curricular engagement for students through new student orientation and residential programming, faculty and religious in-residence programs, student activities, athletic and recreation programs, and opportunities to embrace Washington, D.C. 

Prior to his role as vice president of student affairs, Allen 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 the NCAA tournament. 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.

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

“I pledge during my time as president to 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.”

Allen holds a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College, and a Master of Arts and doctoral degree 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. 

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

About Barry University

Founded in 1940 by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Barry University offers more than 100 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. Based in Miami, Fla., the University is composed of two colleges and six schools in the areas of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Law, Nursing and Health Sciences, Podiatry, Professional and Career Education (PACE), and Social Work. The University enrolls approximately 7,500 students from nearly all 50 states and 80 countries and has more than 65,000 alumni worldwide.