Ann Bailey Hammer ’62 ’13 is a testament to the goal of The American Women’s College of creating a pathway for adult women to complete or earn their bachelor’s degree. Ann graduated from Bay Path in 1962, and immediately went to work. In time, she met her future husband, Bob, and soon her life followed a familiar pattern of balancing children and family. Fast forward to 2009, and Ann joined the Bay Path Board of Trustees. At the time, we were working on migrating our hugely successful One Day A Week Saturday program to an online delivery platform. When we finally announced our new Online Degree Completion program, Ann was one of the first to enroll. Like so many women, Ann wanted to finish what she started and earn her bachelor’s degree. More important, it was something she could own. Over and over again, I have heard the same phrase from so many adult women, “Now, it is my time.” Ann graduated in 2013, with her degree in hand and with an insider’s perspective on the program. In recognition of Ann’s accomplishment and with the knowledge of the joys and challenges of the women in her cohort, Bob established the Ann B. Hammer ’62 ’13 Endowed Scholarship for Adult Women, which over time reached $500,000. At our recent 20th anniversary One Day to Today event held on October 26, 2019, the Hammers enhanced the scholarship with an additional $500,000, creating the largest scholarship in support of adult women at Bay Path and The American Women’s College. Their generosity will establish a legacy of helping adult women for generations, and their impact will be timeless.
Could you share a bit about your life journey and career?
I was born Ann Louise Bailey in Springfield, MA, and raised in Wellesley. I enrolled at Bay Path and earned an associate’s degree in secretarial sciences with a minor in art/English in 1962. As an undergraduate, I was honored with the Faculty Award that recognized a student who excelled academically, and also was accomplished in the area of leadership (I was editor-in-chief of Bay Path’s newspaper, The Hour Glass) and community service (I volunteered as a candy striper at the Springfield Memorial Hospital). After graduation, I settled in New York City and, ironically, worked as a secretary at the Ford Foundation. At the same time, I was enrolled part-time at Columbia University, where I met my future husband. Two years later, we were married, and soon began a family. Little did I know that the support of nonprofits and philanthropy would be a huge part of my life—in 1999, my husband and I established the Hammer Family Foundation.
What are you most proud of in your career?
My biggest accomplishment, aside from raising three independent, functioning children, was joining the Bay Path University Board of Trustees in 2009. From this position, in the next ten years I would learn much about the workings of a vibrant, female-oriented educational institution. When the Online Degree Completion Program was announced—it was the precursor to The American Women’s College—I enrolled. I became the first trustee to complete my bachelor’s degree online in the very first cohort. At Commencement, Bob, my husband, surprised me by establishing a scholarship in my name for The American Woman's College: the Ann B. Hammer ’62 ’13 Endowed Scholarship for Adult Women.
What is one regret that you have in your career?
I have no regrets in any of the milestones of my life!
What advice would you give to students at Bay Path who are setting out on their own life journey?
Just remember if a job is too easy, you should push yourself to reach further. You will find you will achieve more in life. I believe that women of today are realizing that they can do anything once they set their minds to it.