Bay Path University Names Sandra Doran as New President
Sandra J. Doran, J.D., has been unanimously elected by the Bay Path Board of Trustees to serve as the University’s sixth president, effective June 30, 2020, Chair Jonathan Besse announced today. She will succeed Dr. Carol Leary, who retires in June following her 25-year presidency of Bay Path.
President-elect Doran’s appointment is the culmination of a comprehensive ten-month national search process to recruit, in Chair Besse’s words, “the candidate whose experience, energy, and vision will build on the mission-driven and innovative legacy of Bay Path and propel our University into the future.”
“Sandy Doran is a charismatic leader who cares deeply about women’s education and is passionate about access to education and student success,” said Besse. “She has an impressive and broad background in a variety of complex organizations, all of which flourished greatly under her leadership.”
Sandy Doran is a charismatic leader who cares deeply about women’s education and is passionate about access to education and student success." - Jonathan Besse, Chair of the Bay Path University Board of Trustees
Doran currently serves as president of Salem Academy and College in North Carolina, the oldest educational institution for girls and women in the United States. She possesses a deep professional and personal commitment to women’s education, concentrating on empowering women to succeed, and to be change agents in their work, families and communities. As president, she led an inclusive and aggressive strategic planning process that resulted in a transformation of the College as evidenced by unprecedented growth in enrollment and fundraising.
“I am humbled by the trust the board has placed in me to continue the spirit of innovation here at Bay Path,” said Doran. “The visionary nature of President Leary is inspiring and unprecedented in higher education and I look forward to working with the Bay Path faculty and staff to build on her legacy. Serving our students, providing them with a superior learning experience, gives us all great joy. I look forward to engaging with all members of our community, students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and our business and philanthropic partners.”
I look forward to engaging with all members of our community, students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and our business and philanthropic partners." - President-elect Sandra Doran, J.D.
She will join Bay Path at an exciting time in the University’s history. In 1994, when Carol Leary assumed the presidency of Bay Path College, as it was then known, fewer than 500 students, entirely undergraduate, were enrolled. Today, over 3,300 Bay Path students are enrolled on-ground and online in a variety of unique programs including co-educational master’s and doctoral degrees. The launch in 2013 of The American Women’s College, the first all-women, all-online bachelor’s degree program in the country, further established Bay Path as a national leader in innovative education. Early in Leary’s tenure she and her team introduced the Women’s Leadership Conference, the largest annual gathering of professional women and men in western New England, featuring prominent speakers.
Similar to Bay Path, Salem serves a diverse population of students: 45 percent of students are women of color, 50 percent are first generation students, and 50 percent are Pell grant recipients. According to Besse, a deep commitment to women’s education, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice was a top priority in seeking a candidate. Doran’s championing of values that are also fundamental to Bay Path’s mission factored into the Board’s decision.
Before serving at Salem, Doran was Chief Executive Officer at Castle Point Learning Systems (CPLS), a company that develops innovative teaching and learning technologies incorporating artificial intelligence and adaptive learning algorithms to provide better student outcomes in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She had been recruited to this position by the Provost and the Office of Entrepreneurship at Stevens Institute of Technology where she served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Prior to her position at CPLS, she was president of the American College of Education in Indianapolis, a progressive institution dedicated to serving teachers pursuing doctoral and master’s degrees in education disciplines. While there, she re-energized the college and expanded its reach into new markets, growing it into the fifth largest graduate school of education in the country, serving more than 5,000 working adult students.
She also served as National Policy Director for the New England Board of Higher Education. In this role she provided leadership and promoted regional dialogue among institutions, government entities, industry leaders and foundations on key higher education issues facing the region and the nation. Doran currently serves as chair of the Board for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation and on the Board of the Online Learning Consortium. She was named the Triad Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO, and Power Player of 2019.
According to Patricia Pierce, immediate past-chair of Bay Path and co-chair, along with Besse, of the presidential search committee, Doran’s involvement with national organizations and her entrepreneurial leadership give her a first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by higher education. “Sandy is drawn to Bay Path for all the right reasons, and she is the right candidate to forge an exciting and leading-edge strategy for the University’s future.”
Sandy is drawn to Bay Path for all the right reasons, and she is the right candidate to forge an exciting and leading-edge strategy for the University’s future." - Patricia J. Pierce, Co-chair, Presidential Search Committee
Doran holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Syracuse University College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Southern Methodist University. She transitioned from an early legal career into higher education, joining Lesley University in Cambridge, MA in 2004 as Chief of Staff, Vice President, and General Counsel. Her responsibilities in this role included strategic planning; facilities acquisition and development; and financial and institutional stability and growth.
She and her husband, Steve, a marketing executive who works extensively with start-ups in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, will be residing in the president’s house in Longmeadow. The couple has two children, a son Adrian, who resides in Providence, RI, with his wife Elizabeth Howland, and a daughter Dana, who lives in Washington D.C.