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Happy Birthday to US!

This year, Bay Path turned 125 years old. Looking back at our earliest days as a business institute, located on the corner of State and Dwight streets in downtown Springfield, and tracing our ongoing evolution into a residential and online university, educating students throughout the country at bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate levels, this anniversary presented an amazing opportunity to tell a story of epic transformation.

Inspired by a trove of vintage archival photos, we looked to today’s Bay Path students—their fashions, personalities, goals and experiences—to celebrate the ways Bay Path has changed our students’ lives and the ways our students’ lives have changed Bay Path.

1948 New York City Trip / 2022 Washington, D.C., Trip / Capitals of the World

In 1948, “Senior Executives” from the Bay Path Secretarial School boarded a New York City-bound train, putting their best stocking-clad feet forward in hopes of working for Manhattan’s top executives. At the time, courses in bookkeeping, typing and stenography were rounded out with literature, languages and consumer economics classes, along with instruction on fashion, etiquette and entertaining. 

Today, our trips give students broader access to and a deeper understanding of culture, politics, social movements and community in America and beyond. Annual One America and Capitals of the World excursions have allowed our students to immerse themselves in the historical movements and diverse perspectives that shape contemporary life. This year, students traveled to Washington, D.C., to get an up-close view of government, politics and activism. 



1961 Queen and Court / 2022 Bay Path Softball Team

In 1961, the Bay Path custom of selecting a queen and her court was an annual rite, replete with ceremonial pageantry, parade festivities and elaborate choreography. A 1997 booklet published to commemorate Bay Path’s centennial quipped, “As queens were giving way to jeans in the late sixties, Bay Path crowned her last queen in 1970.”

Two years after the last queen took the throne, the passage of Title IX gave women athletes the right to equal opportunity in sports at educational institutions that receive federal funds— from elementary schools to colleges and universities.


1949 The Portico Yearbook Staff / 2022 Network News Staff

According to the 1952 edition, “Each year, The Portico staff members have as their responsibility the creating of a permanent record of the activities of the graduating class at Bay Path.” The pages of The Portico are filled with perfect coifs and sweet smiles, accented with a strand of pearls, all worn by Bay Path students whose participation in Student Council, Glee Club and Junior Executive Clubs was chronicled in the annual book. Also pictured in the 1952 edition of The Portico, the staff of The Hourglass, “a publication that expresses the news, the interests, the problems and the personalities of Bay Path Junior College.”

Seventy years later, the staff of Network News, Bay Path University’s student magazine, published articles and columns reflecting on the evolution of feminism, questioning the gender binary, examining the relevance of women’s colleges and researching the conflict in Ukraine.  Totally online, Network News reflects the changing nature of information.


 Student Government

Participating in student government has always offered Bay Path students a means to directly affect student life, while gaining valuable opportunities for practicing leadership, collaboration and communication skills. Over 125 years, students have challenged—and changed—policies such as dress codes and have helped create clubs and activities that connect action to impact.


STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

From training medical secretaries in the ’50s and ’60s to building the STEM-centric workforce of tomorrow, Bay Path’s science programs have evolved with advances in knowledge, technology and, of course, opportunity. 

Today, an increasing number of our students are majoring in health science degrees. In science programs that include neurobiology, forensic science and biochemistry, they conduct research and take part in hands-on lessons in Carr Hall, with access to a suite of tools and facilities that enable them to analyze DNA, track the behavior of viruses and study irregular properties in tissue samples. Worth noting: Students at women’s colleges are one and a half times more likely to pursue STEM careers than those attending coed institutions.


Bay Path Students

When the Bay Path Institute opened its doors in 1897, we educated men and women from Springfield and the surrounding region. In the 125 years since, our school has undergone a remarkable transformation—in what we teach, where we teach, how we teach and who we teach, moving from Springfield to Longmeadow to everywhere and anywhere, thanks to online learning. Throughout this history, we’ve not only kept pace, but set the pace, in recognizing what new skills and occupations will shape a dynamic, growing, changing workforce, while building programs, connecting to grants and scholarships, and investing in technology that enables more students to access the education that underlies those skills and the prosperous jobs to which they lead. Over 42 percent of students at Bay Path are students of color and 52 percent are first-generation students.

Today, so-called “traditional” college students are 18-23 years old and represent 60 percent of the national undergraduate population. At Bay Path, 44 percent of our undergraduates are 24 years old or older, and we created a specific program to serve them more than 20 years ago, first in our One Day Saturday program and, today, through The American Women’s College.