Longmeadow, MA—May 2021— On May 16, 2021 Bay Path University held its 124th Commencement livestreamed from campus. The virtual event featured two ceremonies: one for the doctoral/master’s candidates and another for the undergraduate candidates. The University awarded 23 doctoral and graduate degrees, as well as 19 bachelor’s and associate degrees. In total, there were 1,046 degrees granted to the Class of 2021, who now join a Bay Path alumni network of over 20,000 strong.
Bay Path University President Sandra J. Doran, J.D., provided salutary remarks to the Class of 2021: “And as you progress in your life, always remember one key component of happiness and fulfillment: follow your heart tempered by your head. Henry David Thoreau, in the closing chapter of Walden, provided this timeless advice: “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Today, I think we can all agree that these words are more relevant than ever. Live your life with purpose and mission. Act with kindness and empathy. Always give it your all, and in the end, you will find the return will far exceed the investment.
Doran also had special advice for the undergraduates of the Class of 2021: “Finally, in all you do, practice courage. The great Greek philosopher Aristotle called courage the first virtue, because it makes all of the other human virtues possible. Courage calls upon us to find and nurture our authentic self, and in turn courage helps us to deal with fear and uncertainty. As a student at Bay Path, you have already been learning and practicing courage by assuming leadership roles, breaking out of your comfort zone with new experiences, and raising your voice to address difficult issues. To be a leader, is to intentionally lift up others around you. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed. Be yourself, always believe in the power of community.”
Dr. Lauren Way, director of the MS in the Higher Education Administration, gave the faculty remarks for master’s and doctoral candidates. She counseled the graduates with these words “…You are a catalyst for change. While you were here, you have equipped yourself with the tools. You’re ready to tackle the challenges. And you can be your true authentic self as you do it. Now go—Carpe that Diem. We, your faculty, will be right here watching, and cheering you on.”
A highlight of the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony was the Community Poem read by Bay Path Professor María Luisa Arroyo, the inaugural Poet Laureate of the city of Springfield, MA. The Community Poem, written, framed, and spoken by Professor Arroyo, was a compilation of the thoughts, experiences, and feelings provided by members of the Class of 2021 as they navigated their way as students during a global pandemic.
Bay Path University also saluted outstanding undergraduate students who have distinguished themselves through scholarship, leadership and service during the ceremony.
Rebekah Walker ’21, a psychology major from Southbridge, MA, received the Eagle Award. Sponsored by Rev. Dr. Enzo V. and Mrs. Mary Lou DiGiacomo, it is presented to a traditional undergraduate student who has had a significant impact on the Bay Path community by exhibiting an overall positive attitude and demonstrating leadership in campus activities and athletics. A member of the softball team for all four years, she was a member of Bay Path’s New England Collegiate Conference Championship team in 2018. As a student-athlete she equally excelled in the classroom. She graduated with a 3.96 GPA, and was inducted into the Maroon Key honor society, among many other honors.
The Pathfinder Award, established by Mr. John H. Davis in honor of his wife, Robyn B. Davis, past Chair of the Bay Path University Board of Trustees, was presented to Clarencia Lawrence ’21, Bloomfield, CT, a graduate of the Bachelor of Science in RN to BSN program. It is bestowed upon a graduating woman from The American Women’s College Online who has achieved academic excellence with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 while balancing family, career, and community service responsibilities. While working as a nurse, Lawrence made the Dean’s List every session and for her academic excellence, she was inducted into the Maroon Key Honor’s Society and is a member of the Beta Zeta at-Large Chapter, an organization dedicated to excellence in nursing.
The Commencement recordings can be found here:
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About Bay Path University
Bay Path University was founded in 1897. Bay Path provides innovative degree programs to students at the traditional undergraduate level; The American Women's College, the first all-women, all-online accredited degree program in the country; and graduate programs for women and men. Bay Path’s goal is to give students confidence in the fundamentals of their chosen field, the curiosity to question the ordinary, the leadership to show initiative, and the desire to make a difference.