Dr. Carol A. Leary became president of Bay Path University, located in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, in December, 1994. During her tenure, Bay Path has enriched and enlarged the curriculum with new baccalaureate programs and professional certificates; established 20 graduate and post-graduate degrees; introduced the innovative One-Day-A-Week Saturday College for adult women and created two additional campus locations in Sturbridge and Burlington, Massachusetts; launched The American Women's College Online, the first all-women, all-online baccalaureate program in the nation; and expanded and renovated major campus buildings, including the most recent construction, the Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center for allied health programs.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Boston University, she earned her master of science degree at the State University of New York at Albany and her doctorate of philosophy degree at The American University - Washington, D.C. She previously served as vice president for administration and assistant to the president at Simmons College and held administrative positions at Siena College, Boston University, and the Washington Campus Organization located in Washington, D.C.
A strong advocate of community and professional service, Dr. Leary has served on the boards of numerous state and national organizations. An emerita trustee and former chair of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, she currently serves on the boards of The Beveridge Family Foundation, Inc., and United Bank. Dr. Leary also previously served as the treasurer of the Women’s College Coalition, chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts, and chair of the WGBY Public Television Board of Tribunes. In addition, she served as the 2009 Honorary Chair of Habitat for Humanity’s All Women build project in Springfield, Massachusetts and is invited to speak on a regular basis at corporations and non-profit organizations on a variety of topics.
In December 2014, Dr. Leary was selected to join President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden, along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders, at the 2nd White House College Opportunity Day of Action held in Washington, D.C. This distinction was a result of Bay Path receiving a $3.5 Million U.S. Department of Education First in the World Grant, the largest in the University’s history. The grant supports Bay Path’s efforts to revolutionize online learning for adult women through The American Women’s College Online.
Also under her leadership, Bay Path launched the Women’s Leadership Conference in 1995. Through the years, the Conference, with an annual attendance of over 2,000 professional women and men, have featured such prominent speakers as Barbara Walters; Lady Margaret Thatcher; former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Dr. Maya Angelou; Queen Latifah; and Cokie Roberts, to name just a few.
Among Dr. Leary’s awards are: the Woman of Distinction Award from the Pioneer Valley Girl Scout Council; the Women of Achievement from the YWCA of Springfield; the Woman of the Year Award from the Women’s Partnership of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield; the District I Chief Executive Leadership Award from CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education); and the Heart of Gold Award from the Greater Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Heart Association. She was honored by the U.S. Postal Service with the National Women’s History Month Award saluting “Women: Builders of Communities and Dreams” and was the recipient of the Pynchon Award for Distinguished Public Service from the Springfield, Massachusetts Advertising Club.
Dr. Leary was also recognized for her innovative leadership and support of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center, Incorporated; awarded the Senior Leadership Award sponsored by the Massachusetts Network American Council on Education National Network of Women Leaders (ACE-NNWL); honored as a Leader by Example by the Unity First News of Springfield, Massachusetts; and received the Springfield, Massachusetts Human Services Forum Award.