Getting Personal: President Sandra Doran, JD
In February 2020, you were introduced to the Bay Path University community. What stood out most for you?
When Steve and I arrived at Bay Path, there was a wonderful sense of being part of a village. It was very clear to me that our community is focused on our mission and our students. This mission, this commitment to the success of our students by our faculty, staff, alumni, and broader community, is the heartbeat of the Bay Path experience. Now, more than ever, the critical importance of maintaining and strengthening a vibrant community is central to our students thriving, whether in person or online.
You have a diverse background—from lawyer to president of a women’s college. What compelled you to enter the field of higher education?
I have witnessed first-hand the power of higher education for women. It has particular significance to me as my grandmother graduated from Barnard, a women’s college, and my mother returned to school to earn her teaching degree at a women’s college as an adult learner. During my professional life, I have discovered that work is either a job, a career, or a calling. Working as general counsel at a large retailer and as CEO at a software company were stages in my career. However, leading Bay Path University is my calling. I have found that my work in higher education provides me with the opportunity to develop a strong connection between my core personal values of creativity, respect, kindness, courage, tenacity, and transparency and the work at Bay Path.
What is your definition of leadership?
I believe in the axiom attributed to John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
Who has influenced you or been a mentor in your career?
Everyone I have met—students, colleagues, my family—has influenced me. Along the way, the people I have met have introduced me to new ways of learning and new ways of thinking, and allowed me to imagine a future of possibilities.
As president, you are constantly reading about what is happening in the industry or keeping up with developments in education. What was the last book(s) you read for enjoyment?
I recommend Erik Larsen’s book, The Splendid and the Vile. It is a wonderful examination of what it means to lead during difficult times. In World War II, Winston Churchill’s eloquence, courage, humanity, and perseverance bound a country together.
What is your favorite pastime when you have a free moment?
Without a doubt, I like to spend time with family and friends in the great outdoors. I find that sailing is restorative, as are hiking and skiing. They are all ways for me to achieve clarity, which is a critical aspect of my position as president. I believe it is imperative that everyone should take the time to feel renewed.
Is there a saying or a quote that you live by?
It is from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” Mark Twain’s quote is a constant reminder for me to never cease exploring. And, of course, Carpe Diem!