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Honorary and Community Chairs

The 125th Celebration will be a yearlong celebration involving alumni, students, faculty, staff, community partners, and much more.

Meet our Honorary Chairs

Richard E. Neal

Richard E. Neal is the United States Representative from Massachusetts’ First Congressional District (D) who has represented the people of western and central Massachusetts since 1989. Elected by his colleagues to serve as Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means in 2019, Congressman Neal oversees all taxation, tariffs, and other revenue-raising legislation, as well as Social Security, unemployment insurance, healthcare, and worker and family support.

Congressman Neal is the dean of both the Massachusetts Delegation and the New England Congressional Delegation. Congressman Neal is an At-Large Whip for the House Democrats and is the Democratic Leader of the Friends of Ireland Caucus. He is a long-time guest lecturer at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and a National Trustee of John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.

While holding office, he has stood firm in his commitment to support education as a catalyst for improving healthcare and providing opportunities for the underserved. In pursuing those goals, Congressman Neal has found a dedicated ally in Bay Path and the University’s mission. His efforts in securing numerous federal grants for Bay Path, such as the most recent grants to fund the Primary Care Training & Enhancement Program and the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program, has been nothing short of transformational for both the University’s academic programs and the region as a whole.

Prior to his time in Congress, Neal was a high school teacher, member of the Springfield City Council, and served as the Mayor of the City of Springfield from 1984 to 1988.

Ruth E. Carter

Ruth E. Carter, a Springfield (MA) native, is the 2019 Academy Award winner in Costume Design for Marvel’s Black Panther, making history as the first African-American to win in the category. Carter wowed audiences and dazzled critics alike with Afro Future looks that empowered the female form and turned a superhero into an African King.

Inspired by African tribal wear, Carter fuses traditional and contemporary while incorporating technology to deliver fashion and function, and in doing so creates authenticity and ownership for all. It has cemented her reputation as one of the preeminent voices and experts on Afro aesthetics. Carter’s depth of artistry, flowing with her creative instincts, passion for culture and history, empathy for people, capacity for research, eye for detail, and ability to deliver the director’s vision, while infusing her own signature, makes her one of the most sought after and renowned costume designers in the world. Carter’s costumes tell stories so intriguing and unforgettable they influence music, fashion, culture, and filmmaking. They help us to understand ourselves better.

With a career spanning more than three decades in theater, cinema, and television, Carter has teamed up with some of the most prolific directors from Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Ava Duvernay, to Ryan Coogler.

Her extensive body of work includes over forty film credits, two Academy Award nominations for Malcolm X (1993) and Amistad (1998), and an Emmy nomination for the reboot of the television mini-series Roots (2016). Carter became only the second Costume Designer, 60 years after the first, to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2021).

Carter is a member of the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation and co-founder of the Mildred Blount Scholarship Fund created to assist BIPOC costume designers. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts from Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia and an Honorary Doctorate from Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts. In 2022, Ruth Carter will receive an honorary degree at Bay Path University’s 125th Commencement.

Roger W. Crandall

Roger W. Crandall is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), headquartered in Springfield, Mass.

Mr. Crandall first joined MassMutual in 1988 as a real estate investment trainee and spent the first 12 years of his career in the company’s Investment Management Department. In 2000, he joined Babson Capital, a MassMutual subsidiary, which is now part of Barings, where he gradually assumed broader management responsibilities in such areas as public and private bonds, bank loans and private equity investments. In 2005, Mr. Crandall was appointed Chairman of Babson Capital and MassMutual’s Chief Investment Officer, and in 2007, he added the role of Co-Chief Operating Officer. He was named MassMutual’s President and joined the company’s Board of Directors in 2008, and was named CEO in 2010.

During Mr. Crandall’s tenure as CEO, MassMutual has solidified its industry-leading position as a financially strong mutual company run for the benefit of its policy owners and customers. The company has grown to provide more than $800 billion in life insurance protection, strengthened its financial position by more than doubling its total adjusted capital to over $30 billion, and enhanced its customer experience to provide both personal guidance and digital capabilities to meet people on their terms.

Under his leadership, MassMutual and the MassMutual Foundation have invested millions to advance economic opportunity for all. The MassMutual Foundation builds partnerships and collaborates with like-minded organizations and institutions that share the company’s vision for building thriving communities.

Recently, the Foundation launched The Live Mutual Project, bringing together local residents, community leaders and resources, as well as outside expertise, to help people reach their full potential, neighborhood by neighborhood. Through the years, MassMutual has been a major supporter and active partner for education and opportunity throughout the Springfield region and beyond.

Within its employee ranks, MassMutual has nearly 200 Bay Path alumni, helping strengthen the bonds between this Fortune 500 company and the University. Over the years, it has been a steadfast partner in Bay Path’s community outreach, supporting and participating in the annual Women’s Leadership Conference and the President’s Gala, among others.

Mr. Crandall, a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. He earned his MBA with honors from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Charlene H.D. Mazer '67

Charlene H. D. Mazer, a 1967 Bay Path College graduate, has secured her place in the annals of the University’s history having served as both the first alumna and first woman elected to serve as the Chair of the Board of Trustees. A member of the Board of Trustees since 1995, she served as Chair from 2001 to 2004.

Through the years, Charlene has been a loyal ambassador and a generous supporter of the University. She served as a co-chair of the Seize the Day, Seize the Dream Campaign that raised over $9.6 million; inspired others by becoming one of the first members of the Millennium Society; and has given to the BOLD Women Scholarship Fund. Moreover, through a generous gift by the Edward L. Mazer family, the Charlene H. D. Mazer '67 Technology Classroom was named in honor of her tenure as first alumna Chair of the Board of Trustees.

For her devotion and tireless efforts on behalf of Bay Path, Charlene has been saluted on two different occasions at Reunion ceremonies. She was recognized with the Service Award in 1996, and in 2017 was the recipient of The BOLD Woman Award.

After graduating from Bay Path, Charlene earned a master of arts from Springfield College and a master of science from the University of Massachusetts. She began her career as a teacher in the Westfield School System. She retired as vice president of STANPAK Systems, Inc., a software development firm founded by her husband, Edward Mazer, located in Suffield, Connecticut.

Meet our Honorary Community Chair

Domenic Sarno

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, a native son of the City of Springfield and the longest serving Mayor in the City’s history, has earned a reputation for his commitment to economic development, financial stewardship, and community-based programs to address quality-of-life issues, education and public safety.

A former four-term City Councilor who served as City Council President and as a member of the Springfield Finance Control Board, Sarno was elected to his first term as Mayor on November 6, 2007 and won reelection in both 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2019.

Now in his fifth term, Sarno, above all, is an enthusiastic cheerleader for all things Springfield. Supported by a dedicated staff, he has redefined the relationship between City Hall and the residents from the “City of Homes.” His administration has focused on open-door policies, such as a proactive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative for hiring and leadership within City Hall that reflects the multicultural neighborhoods of the City; as well as the Springfield Flex Squad, so named in order to quickly respond and directly address citizen concerns on a case-by-case basis.

Among his administration’s many accomplishments and priorities, education is preeminent. Under his leadership, the collaboration between his administration, educators and parents has resulted in monumental changes in the Springfield Public Schools, including decreased dropout rates and increased graduation rates.

Education has also been the link between Bay Path, the City of Springfield, and Mayor Sarno. From his jubilant greetings at Bay Path’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference to his support of the University’s mission, he has welcomed Bay Path students and alumni as volunteers, interns, and employees to the City in a variety of capacities. An ally, friend, and unwavering supporter for the advancement of women, Sarno fittingly personifies the University’s motto: Carpe Diem. Seize the Day.

Dr. Judith A. Matt

Dr. Judith A. Matt is the President of the Spirit of Springfield, co-founder of Bright Nights at Forest Park, and served for 14 years on the Bay Path University Board of Trustees. In 2013, she was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Bay Path University.

An enthusiastic cheerleader for all things Springfield, she brings the community together in celebration with large-scale quality events like the World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast, Star Spangled Springfield, the City of Bright Nights Ball, and Bright Nights at Forest Park, which has welcomed more than six million visitors during its 27 seasons.

Dr. Matt has raised more than $1 million in corporate contributions, and donated products and services to fulfill the Spirit of Springfield’s mission to create and produce events that enhance the quality of life in the city of Springfield by providing people with a sense of community and civic pride through opportunities for celebration. She prides herself on the relationships she has built and fostered.

She has also shared her talents to assist others with events including MGM Springfield’s opening procession and Red Sox Winter Weekend, Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremonies, the opening ceremony for the Dr. Seuss Museum, Mayoral Inaugurations, and countless other municipal events. She also served as co-chair of Bath Path’s 100th anniversary in 1997.

One of her proudest moments was seeing the completion and dedication of Springfield’s September 11th Monument in Springfield’s Riverfront Park. It includes an artifact from the World Trade Center, and the names of the 498 first responders who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. It was 18 years in the making.

In addition to her role on the Bay Path Board of Trustees, Dr. Matt was also the Vice President of the Urban League of Springfield and Camp Atwater for 17 years. Currently, she serves the Horace Smith Foundation as a Corporator, the Springfield Chamber of Commerce as a Director, Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau as a member, and as a Director of the Mattoon Street Association. During her distinguished career, she has received numerous awards and accolades.

Prior to the creation of the Spirit of Springfield, Dr. Matt served as the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs and was appointed to the position by U. S. Congressman Richard E. Neal during his tenure as Mayor of the City of Springfield.

Lyn N. Simmons

Lyn N. Simmons began her tenure as the Town Manager for the Town of Longmeadow in November 2019. In this role, she serves as chief administrative officer overseeing the work of the town departments to provide services to the residents. Prior to joining the Town of Longmeadow, Lyn was the Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Northampton for six years. Her career in Northampton spanned fifteen years serving a variety of roles, from starting as the Clerk to the City Council and License Commission (2004-2008), to Assistant City Clerk (2008-2011), and Mayoral Aide (2011-2014). Lyn received her bachelor’s degree in legal studies from Bay Path University and a master’s degree in public administration from Westfield State University. She resides in Northampton, MA, with her husband and two kids.