By Celine Klosterman
IOWA CITY – A man ordained a deacon in the Diocese of Davenport in 1984 has returned to the diocese as executive director of the Newman Catholic Student Center.
Deacon Tim Barry began work in early July at the center at the University of Iowa. In cooperation with Priest Director Father Ed Fitzpatrick, Deacon Barry oversees the Newman Center’s ministry, staff, facility, finances and relationships with families and donors.
Fr. Fitzpatrick said the position of executive director was introduced to provide continuity and stability for the Newman Center regardless of where diocesan priests are assigned in the future. The priest, who has served at the student center since 1984, will reach retirement age of 70 in two years. “We created this position not only for my retirement, but for subsequent clergy changes,” he said.
A native of Rock Valley, Deacon Barry earned a B.A. from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, and a master’s degree and Doctor of Education degree from Northern Illinois University. From 1974-93, he worked at St. Ambrose University in Davenport in various administrative roles, including in admissions and university relations. During that time, he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Gerald O’Keefe. He was later incardinated as a deacon into the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D.
Deacon Barry has served as an administrator with Avila University in Kansas City, Mo. and People to People International. In 2002, he was named president of Mount Marty College in Yankton, S.D. From 2011-13 he was president of St. Edmond Catholic Schools in Fort Dodge.
He said he’d hoped to return to a college environment, and his respect for the Newman Center and Fr. Fitzpatrick’s ministry drew him to Iowa City. “It’s like coming home.” Deacon Barry looks forward to reacquainting himself with old friends in the area and making new ones, he added.
He and his wife, Ronda, have been married 36 years. They have three grandchildren and two adult children: Liz of Kansas City and Matt, who graduated this spring from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan.