You see her at BUC Stop, at basketball games and just about everywhere on campus. She is the headmaster, the boss lady, the one who runs the school. She is always ready to say hello with a wave and a smile on her face. Everyone has seen her at least once — our President Sister Linda Bevilacqua.
But, as of next school year, we will no longer be seeing her as regularly because she will be retiring from her post as school president.
Sister Linda Bevilacqua was born on March 7, 1941. She studied in Long Island and at Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica, New York. She graduated from Barry University in 1962 and soon after entered the congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan.
Afterwards, she returned to Barry in 1969 to become the assistant dean for the then-president sister Helen Duggan. From 1970 to 1978, she was dean of students at Barry.
Before becoming president of Barry, she was president of Gwynedd Mercy College in Pennsylvania.
Since 2004, Sister Linda Bevilacqua has been the president of her Alma Mater, making her the sixth president but the first alumna president. She has since been guiding and transforming the school into an urban, multi-cultural, and multi-ethnic university.
She has made an impact with students and faculty alike.
“Sister Linda has an extensive history with our university and has served as a guiding force for Barry’s positive transformation over the years, so it is bittersweet to see her go,” said Britania Cameron, sophomore philosophy major and minoring in political science.
One of the biggest and first changes she made was when she was dean of students was removing the dress code in 1970. Before then, Barry students were only allowed to wear skirts and blouses due to the fact it was an all-women school prior to the 1970s.
Sister Linda has also been at the helm of erecting new buildings around campus. She oversaw the construction of administrative offices for the School of Podiatric Medicine, four other law school facilities and the signature Sylvester Tower, which was constructed in 2006.
She will be retiring from her presidency at the end of this school year, yet students will miss spotting her at her usual spots.
“Sister Linda is always present on campus and while I personally do not talk to her a lot, I always see her at the cafeteria eating or around campus and she’s always saying hi to the students and fellow faculty members,” said Edgar Marcano, junior and forensic psychology major.
Barry students don’t know what to expect from the new president, but they know some qualities they’d like the person have.
Felix Vega-Pagan, a criminology student, said that he hopes “our next president is a male, we need more male representation...someone who’s a representation of the student body.”
Throughout the history of Barry as an institution, we’ve only had women-sister presidents to complement our original all-female school.
Cameron adds that she expects the new president will play an integral role in the developing Barry as “an urban and multicultural university, while upholding our core commitments.”
Faculty members have different expectations of the new president and they pertain to making Barry more financially stable.
“I hope the next president is someone who’s good at fundraising, more of a people person and will continue to help grow the school out further,” said Professor Vladimir Lescouflair.
But will the new president also be a clergy member or will Barry go more modern by taking on a layperson as president?
“It doesn’t matter if the next president is a nun or not, as long as they do a good job and keep expanding the university,” said Marcano.
Many people say they won’t be surprised if it is another nun or a member of the church, but most don’t have a preference.
Sister Linda told The Buccaneer she is not quite ready to be interviewed about her leaving/retiring from the presidency at Barry University. However, she will offer the newspaper an interview in the spring semester.