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President Leary Announces Retirement

For the last 25 years, Noel and I have called Bay Path home. When we moved here in December 1994, we had no idea that this would be the start of an incredible journey that allowed us to be part of the remarkable transformation of this great University. But the time has come to move on to the next chapter in our lives, and in partnership with the Board of Trustees, I have announced my retirement as President, effective June 30, 2020.

From the moment I set foot on campus, I was warmly welcomed by the Board, students, faculty, staff, and our alumni. During my tenure as the fifth president of Bay Path, I was privileged to have met and been encouraged by every generation of Bay Path alumni, from graduates of the co-ed Bay Path Institute—many people do not know that our original charter accepted both men and women as students until 1944 when we became a women’s college—to the present-day University. I have not just been a witness to this institution’s 122-year history embodied by the stories and accomplishments of our alumni, but I am honored to have made personal connections with so many of you that I will cherish in the days ahead.

I will never forget our Bay Path Institute luncheons, “Evening Under the Stars” events, and being introduced to Irving Bashevkin ’43, Connie Breck ’41, Robert Sullivan ’41, Betty Sweeney ’39, Pat Jacobson ’39, Bess Jex ’39, and Venessa O’Brien ’38, who just celebrated her 100th birthday and is profiled in this issue, and James McGill ’35. Receiving their unwavering commitment to Bay Path was a blessing. Their presence is still felt and seen on campus with names on buildings, lounges, and classrooms. Yet, they would be the first to say it was our mission, one that is as relevant today as it was over a century ago, that made all the difference. At Bay Path, they received a quality educational experience that led to productive and satisfying careers and lives. I believe this is the thread that links decades of our alumni, and I am proud to state that we still provide our undergraduates and graduates with the same promise. It has been the foundation of our success as an institution, and the thousands of women and men who received their undergraduate and graduate degrees from Bay Path are the lasting legacy of that promise.

Since 1897, the ultimate DNA of Bay Path has been its entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude. One defining moment during my presidency was the establishment of the One Day A Week Saturday program for adult women in 1999. This new, accelerated model of learning for working adults eventually became the springboard for The American Women's College. This year, we will be celebrating 20 years of educating adult women at our One Day to Today event on October 26, 2019. I hope you will join me at the celebration, so please mark your calendars for the big day. 

The quality education experience received at Bay Path is the thread that links our alumni and is the foundation of our success as an institution. 

Immediately following the launch of the One Day program, innovative graduate education became a centerpiece of the institution’s vision and is evident today in our over 32 graduate programs from the master’s through the doctoral level within our University status that was attained in 2014. I congratulate our creative and dedicated faculty and staff in their determination to develop unique, committed faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the University who have worked tirelessly to ensure our mission and vision plans were executed successfully, and who supported our students in so many powerful ways. We have continually raised the bar, not just for a brighter future for Bay Path, but for the thousands of students, who through education, have been given wings to soar.


For media inquiries, please contact Director of Communications Kathleen Wroblewski at or 413-565-1233.