LONGMEADOW — At its recent annual meeting, held virtually, 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, board chair.
The longest-serving president in Bay Path’s history, the board granted Leary the title of president emerita, which will begin July 1, 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, resulting in 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 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.
Also, 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 Besse noted, “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.”
Sandra Doran, the sixth president of Bay Path, will assume office on July 1.