Skip to Main Content

Bay Path University Announces Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients, including Congressman Richard E. Neal

Share This Story

U.S. Congressman Richard Neal, Ruth Carter, Lynn Pasquerella, and Noel Leary to Receive Honorary Degrees at Bay Path University’s 125th Commencement.

Longmeadow, MA—Bay Path University will be holding its 125th Commencement on Sunday, May 15, at 4:00 p.m. at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA. Approximately 800 students, including members from the classes of 2020 and 2021 who have elected to participate in the in-person ceremony, will be honored before 4,000 plus family and friends.

Bay Path University is also proud to announce that the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees for 2022 will be granted to three outstanding individuals who through their efforts and dedication have had significant impact in the areas of education, the arts, and community service: U.S. Representative Richard E. Neal, Ruth E. Carter, and Lynn C. Pasquerella.

Since 1989, U.S. Representative Richard E. Neal (D) has represented the Massachusetts’ First Congressional District (D). The Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Neal is the dean of both the Massachusetts Delegation and the New England Congressional Delegation, as well as the At-Large Whip for the House Democrats and the Democratic Leader of the Friends of Ireland Caucus. Throughout his years of service, he has stood firm in his commitment to supporting education as a catalyst for improving healthcare and providing opportunities for the underserved. Prior to his time in Congress, Neal was a high school teacher, member of the Springfield City Council, and served as the Mayor of the City of Springfield from 1984 to 1988.

Ruth E. Carter, a Springfield (MA) native, is the 2019 Academy Award winner in Costume Design for Marvel’s Black Panther, making history as the first African-American to win in the category. With a career spanning more than three decades in theater, cinema, and television, Carter has teamed up with some of the most prolific directors from Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Ava Duvernay, to Ryan Coogler.
Her extensive body of work includes over forty film credits, two Academy Award nominations for Malcolm X (1993) and Amistad (1998), and an Emmy nomination for the reboot of the television mini-series Roots (2016). Carter is a member of the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation and co-founder of the Mildred Blount Scholarship Fund created to assist BIPOC costume designers.

Lynn C. Pasquerella has served as President of the American Association of Colleges and Universities since July 2016. A philosopher whose career has combined teaching and scholarship with local and global engagement, she has continuously demonstrated a deep and abiding commitment to ensuring that all students have access to excellence in liberal education, regardless of their socioeconomic background. For nearly four decades, Pasquerella has held leadership positions in higher education administration, including the presidency of Mt. Holyoke College. Pasquerella has written extensively on medical ethics, metaphysics, public policy, and the philosophy of law. She serves as senator and vice president of Phi Beta Kappa, and as host of Northeast Public Radio’s The Academic Minute.

Also to be acknowledged is Noel R. Leary, who was officially presented with an honorary degree by the Board of Trustees in 2020 but was unable to accept it in person due to pandemic restrictions. For over 25 years he provided unwavering support to Dr. Carol A. Leary, president emerita of Bay Path University. Mr. Leary is a consultant concentrating on market research, organizational planning, and project management, primarily for not-for-profit organizations and has served on the boards of numerous organizations, and is currently a member of the board of directors for the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine.

In honor of Bay Path University’s 125th anniversary of its founding in 1897, Jonathan F. Besse, Chair of the Board of Trustees, will give the Commencement address to the 2022 graduating class. Besse joined the board in 2010, and is in the third and final year of his term as chair. He is the managing director at Slalom Consulting, LLC, a global consulting firm.

Information and details on Bay Path’s 125th Commencement.

# # #

About Bay Path University

Bay Path University was founded in 1897. In 2022, the University will be celebrating its 125th anniversary. Today, Bay Path’s enrolled population of over 3,000 includes traditional undergraduates; adult women at The American Women's College, the first all-women, all-online accredited degree program in the country; and women and men master’s and doctoral students. Throughout Bay Path’s history, it has held true to the vision that “Every learner’s dreams of a better career, a richer life, and a brighter future will be realized.”