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Bay Path University President Dr. Carol A. Leary Announces Plans to Retire in 2020

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LONGMEADOW, Mass. – Dr. Carol A. Leary formally announced today that she plans to retire on June 30, 2020, after 25 years as President of Bay Path University. Dr. Leary assumed her role as the fifth president of the University in 1994.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have served Bay Path and our students for the past 25 years,” said Dr. Leary. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with a talented Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, and alumni whose creativity, courage, and commitment have strengthened the University and positioned it for continued growth and success. I am so grateful to the many people who have supported me over the years and believed in Bay Path’s mission.”

Dr. Leary’s leadership has propelled Bay Path through a series of strategic plans that have transformed the institution. In addition to obtaining University status in 2014, the many accomplishments achieved during her tenure include, but are not limited to, the launch of the Women’s Leadership Conference; the One Day A Week Saturday Program for adult women; the Graduate School, which now offers over 30 degrees including doctoral programs; The American Women's College, the first all-women, all-online baccalaureate program in the nation; construction of the Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center; and establishment of the Strategic Alliances division.

Her entrepreneurial approach to higher education has resulted in the diversification and growth of programs which continue to generate new revenue streams driving solid operating results year over year. Enrollment at Bay Path has grown from fewer than 450 students when she arrived in 1994 to 3,400 students today. Bay Path University was named by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the 20 fastest growing baccalaureate colleges in America, and one of the fastest-growing “private nonprofit master’s institutions” in the United States. The University has also received significant funding during the past decade, including approximately $8 million in federal funding through the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation. Additional funding in support of the University has been awarded by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Foundation and the Mass Technology Collaborative, and most recently a $1.6 million Strada Education Network grant.

Dr. Leary is a mission-driven, nationally recognized thought leader in higher education. She believes in educating women of all ages and stages to maximize their potential. In 2016, Dr. Leary published Achieving the Dream: A How-to Guide for Adult Women Seeking a College Degree. She has been the recipient of many  and community awards, including the 2019 Donna Shavlik Award from the American Council on Education, one of the most prestigious honors in higher education. She has also been the recipient of the BusinessWest Difference Makers and Women of Impact  was included in The Republican’s “The Power of Women”  and received the Pynchon Award for Distinguished Public Service.

Dr. Leary has been a strong advocate of community and professional service. She currently serves as chair of the Association of American Colleges & Universities as well as chair of the Council of Independent College’s New Presidents Program. She also serves on the Board of United Bank and the Board of the Marginal Way Preservation Fund. She is an emerita trustee and former chair of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and previously served as chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts, chair of the WGBY Public Television Board of Tribunes, and on the Board of The Beveridge Family Foundation, 

“My husband Noel and I were embraced by the western Massachusetts community when we arrived here and we reflect with pride and gratitude on the many opportunities we have had to serve and give back to the region. We look forward to the next chapter in our lives, spending retirement in Maine and Florida, enjoying more time with family and friends, and immersing ourselves in the arts, theater travel,” said Leary.

“Bay Path Trustees know Carol as a strong, energetic leader who has assembled an outstanding administrative team. We regard her with the highest respect,” said Patricia Pierce, chair of the Bay Path University Board of Trustees. “We thank her and Noel for their uniquely personal commitment and contributions to the University and  community. Their devotion to the education and well-being of women is the fabric of their lives.”

The Bay Path Board of Trustees is prepared to conduct a national search for the next President of Bay Path University, with more details forthcoming.

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About Bay Path University

Bay Path University was founded in 1897. With locations in Longmeadow (main), East Longmeadow (Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center), Springfield (MA), Sturbridge (MA), and Concord (MA), Bay Path’s innovative program offerings include traditional undergraduate degrees for women, The American Women's College on-ground and online, the first all-women, all-online accredited bachelor’s degree programs in the country; over 30 graduate programs for women and men, including doctoral programs; and Strategic Alliances, offering professional development courses for individuals and organizations. 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.