After 25 years of serving as the president of Bay Path University, Dr. Carol A. Leary will retire on June 30, 2020.
June 29, 2020, Longmeadow, MA – At its annual meeting held virtually on May 18, 2020, the Board of Trustees of Bay Path University, on behalf of the entire Bay Path community, surprised retiring President Carol Leary with a celebration in her honor.
“Carol Leary led a remarkable transformation of Bay Path during her 25-year tenure. The Board was honored to pay tribute to her and express gratitude for the countless ways she and her husband Noel have impacted Bay Path and the western Massachusetts community,” said Jonathan Besse, chair of the board.
The longest serving president in Bay Path’s history, the Board granted Leary with the title of President Emerita, which will begin July 1, on her first day of retirement. Emeritus status is a special honor given to an individual who has provided distinguished service to an institution or organization. During her tenure, Leary guided the University through a remarkable transformation. The result was an unprecedented number of institutional improvements and initiatives such as strengthening academic offerings, enhancing the student experience, investing in capital projects, and establishing ties with the greater community and cultivating new partnerships.
In addition to electing Leary President Emerita, the Trustees voted to rename the campus’s main administration building, Deepwood Hall, to Leary Hall.
Carol and Noel Leary were also acknowledged for their commitment to diversity and inclusion, and the tremendous impact they have had on all students. As first-generation college students themselves, they have inspired hundreds of women to attain a degree. They are now featured in the University’s I Am Bay Path storytelling campaign that celebrates diverse experiences and perspectives from members of the Bay Path community.
The final tribute from Trustees was a significant surprise to both Learys. In recognition of Noel Leary’s deep commitment to students, as well as his civic activism and volunteerism, the Board awarded him an honorary degree. As stated by Chair Besse, “For this selfless community servant, who without fanfare, has dedicated his life to the betterment of others, we are proud to bestow Bay Path’s highest honor, the doctor of humane letters, honoris causa, upon Noel Leary.”
President Carol Leary’s legacy can be viewed online in a special archival piece, Legacy of Leadership, which highlights and chronicles the impact she has had on the Bay Path community. The front piece is a first glimpse of the official portrait of Leary painted by Doug Brega, a local artist of national renown. It will be unveiled at a later date.
Additionally, citations from Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno, who declared May 18 as “Carol Leary Day” in Springfield, U.S. Congressman Richard Neal, Massachusetts State Senator Eric Lesser, Massachusetts State Representative Brian Ashe, and Longmeadow Town Manager Lyn Simmons were also presented.
Leary officially retires on June 30, 2020. Sandra Doran, sixth president of Bay Path, will assume office on July 1, 2020.
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, the first all-women, all-online accredited bachelor’s degree program in the country; over 40 graduate and doctoral programs for women and men; 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.