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Excerpt from the Inauguration Speech of President Carol A. Leary

As society has evolved, we can trace the evolution of Bay Path and the role of women in the workforce. Our women have flourished in business, early childhood education, legal studies, criminal justice, psychology, and other critical fields, including our most recent offering – occupational therapy. The faculty and administration of Bay Path have always had an incredible instinct for the needs of society and have crafted superior programs to meet those needs.

But perhaps the soul of Bay Path College has been its commitment to women’s education – without any question, the very core of our existence. All of us at Bay Path are involved in preparing women intellectually, emotionally, and practically for the real world, today’s world. We encourage our women to think for themselves, to appreciate the world of ideas, and to have a true love of learning for a lifetime.

As we approach Bay Path’s centennial year, it is quite fitting that we ask: what do we hope to provide in a Bay Path education that is not only useful, but will make a distinct contribution to the next one hundred years?

Realizing we are part of a constantly changing global economy that relies more and more on technology and offers a special role for women in the diverse work force of the 21st century, I will work with the Board, faculty and staff of the College to continue our emphasis on: professional education...for women in a small community... with close personal attention. And we will provide a co-curricular program that embodies community service, leadership development, physical fitness, and athletics. We will examine our courses of study yearly and use our professional advisory committees to keep current in each of our offerings. We will continue to create new programs to meet the needs of our society and to focus on the special role women can play. We will respond to the ever-increasing diversity of cultures, races, and religions that form a microcosm of the larger community mosaic so evident in greater Springfield; we will celebrate that diversity in our curriculum and in our co-curriculum.

Throughout our quest to achieve this vision, the ultimate reason for the existence of educational institutions must never be forgotten. We must be channels of access and opportunity for both those who can afford higher education and those who cannot.

Yes, inaugural ceremonies are about the people of the academic community; they provide an opportunity to consider the traditions that frame our foundation, celebrate who we are and what we do best, and to explore our next horizon. The Bay Path mission may be unique, but we face the same critical issues as every academic institution. What we have come together to celebrate today is what will secure Bay Path’s future: our ability to be flexible, our willingness to maintain our family atmosphere, and our absolute commitment to women’s education.

Delivered April  22, 1995, at the Inauguration Ceremony in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.