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Daily News

LONGMEADOW — The boards of Bay Path University and Cambridge College announced today that Bay Path has entered into a formal agreement to acquire Cambridge College. This move reflects a strategic focus by both institutions on planning for future success providing career-focused education models to a diverse student population.

“The determination and spirit that have guided Bay Path for 127 years pave the way for this next phase in our evolution. We look forward to working with Cambridge College to meet student needs with innovation, market responsiveness, and bold action,” said Sandra Doran, president of Bay Path University.

Cambridge College, a Boston-based, private, nonprofit institution established in 1971, is a leader in providing affordable, career-oriented education to a diverse population of adult learners.

“In planning for the future, Cambridge College’s board and leadership recognized that a larger platform and a like-minded partner would give us the greatest opportunity to advance our mission,” said Stephen Healey, interim president of Cambridge College. “Bay Path University is uniquely suited to integrate Cambridge College’s programs and serve our non-traditional student body. We are excited to come together in a partnership that will provide a promising path forward and a seamless transition for students.”

Bay Path and Cambridge began discussions about a possible relationship in late summer 2023. Each based its decision to join together on the shared mission of the two institutions.

“The promise that both our institutions make to our students is that their dreams of a better career, a richer life, and a brighter future will be realized,” Doran and Headley said. “Bay Path and Cambridge College share core values of access, innovation, excellence, diversity, and collaboration. This relationship will enable us to build upon one another’s strengths. We will be better and stronger together.”

Doran added that “both Bay Path and Cambridge College share a reputation for providing transformative education by responding to changes in the workforce-development needs of the region and creating positive economic opportunities for our graduates. Bringing together Bay Path’s depth and breadth of undergraduate and graduate programs with Cambridge College’s extensive network of programs and partners in Eastern Massachusetts creates tremendous opportunities for our students today and far into the future.”

The two institutions have shared their plans and the greater opportunity created by a combined organization with both the Commonwealth’s Department of Higher Education, which has regulatory purview over both Bay Path and Cambridge, and the New England Commission of Higher Education, which accredits both institutions. Both organizations will be working with Bay Path and Cambridge to ensure the process to combine the institutions meets their respective standards and regulatory requirements.

Throughout this transition, continuity of student experience is a priority for both Cambridge College and Bay Path. Between now and the time that the two institutions are fully integrated (through at least the summer of 2025), they anticipate that programs at Cambridge College will continue at the same cost (maintaining Cambridge College’s tuition and fees), and students completing their programs will receive degrees awarded by Cambridge College. They also anticipate new opportunities to access additional Bay Path programs beginning as early as this summer. Following receipt of regulatory approvals, Cambridge College would be fully integrated into Bay Path University, at which time all Cambridge College students would become students of Bay Path University.

“The Department of Higher Education [DHE] commends Cambridge College and Bay Path for coming together to join their two institutions in a way that prioritizes students,” Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega said. “In any college transition, such as the affiliation announced by Cambridge College and Bay Path, DHE’s top priority is to ensure that students are informed of changes as soon as possible and have ample time to either earn a degree from the institution at which they started or make informed decisions about transferring. The leaders of both institutions have shown a commitment to a smooth transition for current Cambridge College students that gives us confidence that degree completion for these students will continue to be prioritized.”

The acquisition of Cambridge College, designated among the best colleges and universities for Latinos, will nearly double the number of students served by Bay Path and bring total enrollment to more than 5,000, including a growing number of international students. The university’s business-to-business strategy will also be strengthened.

Since 2020, Cambridge has been providing educational solutions throughout Eastern Mass. to businesses and nonprofit organizations as part of its acquisition of the New England College of Business, now known as CC Global, reflecting its commitment to workforce development. Bay Path, through its Office of Partnership Development, provides learning solutions to a growing portfolio of businesses and organizations, including Denny’s Corp., Baystate Health, and PeoplesBank.

The geographies served by Bay Path will also expand to include Cambridge’s Eastern Mass. location as well as its growing Puerto Rico location. Opened in downtown San Juan more than 20 years ago, the campus provides graduate programs in business and technology as well as education and counseling to working professionals.

Bay Path currently operates two locations: its Longmeadow campus, which serves women at the undergraduate level, and the state-of-the-art Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center in East Longmeadow, which provides graduate degrees in education, healthcare, and psychology. The university also grants undergraduate degrees online through the American Women’s College, recently ranked by Forbes as one of the top three online women’s colleges in the nation.

Bay Path’s acquisition of Cambridge College is likely to be complete in June. Full integration of Cambridge College into Bay Path will take 18 to 24 months, pending a series of approvals by accreditors and appropriate state and federal regulators.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University, along with Oakwood University, a historically Black college, have been selected as educational partners by the food franchise Denny’s Corp. to provide college courses to Denny’s employees as part of the company’s Management In Training (MIT) initiative.

The initiative integrates Denny’s MIT program with specific college courses, enabling participants to earn up to 30 transferable credits in business and hospitality courses, such as “Principles of Management,” “Food Systems Management,” “Business Communication,” and “Leadership and Organizational Change.”

The program is part of Denny’s GAIN Program, which provides employees with opportunities for education and career advancement in the key areas of GED accreditation, college credit for learning, life skills, and career pathways for high-school students.

Credits earned through the MIT program will be automatically applied toward a bachelor’s degree for students who elect to attend the American Women’s College, Bay Path’s online program for adult learners.

“Rethinking and prioritizing education will enhance the Denny’s brand by unlocking potential in its people, ensuring they acquire the skills they need to thrive,” said Fasika Melaku Peterson, senior vice president of Human Resources and chief learning officer at Denny’s. “We are proud of the pioneering work with Bay Path University. Creating access to education in this manner is truly innovative work.”

Interdisciplinary education consultant Kim Cliett Long, who worked with Denny’s and the colleges to develop the program, added that “Bay Path and Oakwood are known for serving diverse student populations, providing flexibility and consistent support. I had previous experience working with these universities and knew they would be the right partners on this important initiative.”

Denny’s is one of the largest franchised full-service restaurant brands in the world, based on number of restaurants. As of Dec. 27, 2023, the company included 1,631 restaurants, 1,558 of which are franchised and licensed restaurants and 73 of which are company operated. This includes 165 restaurants in Canada, Costa Rica, Curacao, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

“Bay Path has been providing a pathway to a college degree to non-traditional, adult learners for nearly 25 years, and this partnership increases access, decreases cost, and positions driven workers to continually grow their careers and academic aspirations,” said Jeremy Anderson, the university’s vice president of Learning Innovation, Analytics, and Technology. “We’re extremely proud to be extending these opportunities to Denny’s employees.”

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced its fifth President’s Gala, themed “Breaking Through,” will be held on Saturday, March 23 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

The evening will begin with a 5:30 p.m. VIP reception, followed by dinner, program presentations, and dancing. Tickets can be purchased by visiting baypath.edu/gala or calling (413) 565-1063.

The gala will focus on supporting learners enrolled in healthcare degree programs, recognizing their resilience and dedication.

Like many regions across the country, Western Mass. faces shortages in many healthcare professions, including primary-care physicians, nurses, and mental-health providers. Through its more than 20 undergraduate and graduate healthcare degrees, Bay Path is educating and training future healthcare workers to be on the front line of helping to keep communities safe and healthy.

“We are thrilled to host the fifth President’s Gala with a theme that encapsulates the essence of our learners’ journey: ‘Breaking Through.’ Through incredibly personal and moving stories, we will be celebrating the accomplishments of our learners and healthcare alumni and the impact they have in our communities,” Bay Path President Sandra Doran said.

Proceeds from the gala will directly contribute to scholarships, resources, and initiatives that benefit learners pursuing healthcare degrees, reinforcing Bay Path University’s commitment to fostering excellence in the healthcare field, she added.

“Support of the gala will provide scholarships and needed financial support for our learners to ensure they will have the opportunities that will make an impact on their lives and the lives of patients.”

Both healthcare policy and advocacy play crucial roles in shaping the healthcare landscape in Western Mass. To that end, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Sr. Mary Caritas, SP will be honorary chairs for this event.

“As a learning institution with a long history of uplifting a diverse student body, creating opportunities for first-generation college students, this year’s theme, ‘Breaking Through,’ epitomizes the role Bay Path plays in our community,” Neal said. “Supporting educational initiatives, especially in the healthcare field, is vital for the progress of our region. I am honored to be part of an event that empowers students and champions the future leaders of the healthcare industry.”

Added Sr. Caritas, the former president of Mercy Medical Center, “as someone dedicated to healthcare and education, I am delighted to support Bay Path University’s efforts in empowering learners to make a positive impact in the healthcare sector.”

To view a full list of gala committee members, sponsors, and additional event details, visit baypath.edu/gala.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — The American Women’s College (TAWC), Bay Path University’s online college for adult women, has been recognized by the business-media outlet Forbes as one of the top three online women’s colleges in the nation. The ranking cited TAWC’s strong retention rate and called out Bay Path’s WELL (We Empower Learners and Leaders) program, a three-course leadership curriculum unique to the college, designed to equip women with the leadership skills and experience to excel in any career path.

“We are excited to add this recognition to our growing list of accolades and achievements,” said Maura Devlin, dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation at Bay Path. “The American Women’s College takes an innovative, intentional approach to women’s education that’s designed around the realities faced by women who are looking to advance in their careers, while balancing a full work/life load. It’s a uniquely supportive and empowering educational experience that women thrive in.”

Forbes uses 16 data points to evaluate colleges in the categories of credibility, affordability, student outcomes, student experience, and application process. Bay Path, along with Simmons College and Brenau University, made the top three.

“Currently, 74% of all college students have a non-traditional characteristic, meaning they work, have dependents, are transfer students, or are first-generation students. These situations make attending a traditional, four-year, residential college a challenging undertaking,” Devlin noted. “Bay Path was one of the first colleges to recognize this, and we created the American Women’s College to accommodate and support these learners.”

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — The master of science degree in cybersecurity at Bay Path University has received a National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Program of Study Validation from the National Security Agency (NSA). This designation extends through 2028.

The Program of Study Validation confirms that the MS in cybersecurity program has met the rigorous academic standards set by the NSA in curriculum, faculty qualifications, and commitment to continuous improvement.

“The NSA Program of Study Validation for our MS in cybersecurity degree speaks directly to the quality of courses and the experiences we provide to our students,” said Thomas Loper, associate provost and dean of the School of Management and Technology at Bay Path. “We are particularly excited to partner with the Union Station/Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, where CyberTrust Massachusetts will offer to the region and the Commonwealth access to a globally recognized cyber range, a simulation-based platform of technology and networks that offers hands-on, all-in-one training and experiences for beginners to experts to build knowledge and confidence; a security operations center (SOC) for our municipalities; and paid internships for cyber students at the SOC, among other initiatives planned at this state-of-the-art facility.”

In January 2022, Bay Path’s BS in cybersecurity: digital forensics & incident response received Program of Study Validation from the NSA. One month later, the university was designated as a National Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense, resulting in cyber programs at the graduate and undergraduate level earning this recognition.

With the launch of the MS in cybersecurity in 2012, Bay Path was one of the first institutions of higher education and the first women’s college to establish cyber programs that address the critical need for women and diverse candidates for the cyber talent pipeline. According to Statista, there are currently more than 20,000 job openings in Massachusetts for the cybersecurity profession.

Daily News

Natalia Blank

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced that Natalia Blank has been elected to serve as vice president for Academic Affairs, which was effective Jan. 2. Blank will serve on the executive leadership team and work across all divisions at the university.

In her role, she will articulate a clear and compelling vision for the academic enterprise that builds on Bay Path’s innovative approach to higher education, marshals the collective talents of faculty and staff in an environment of collegiality and cooperation, and use data-driven decision making and strategic thinking to optimize the student experience, from access through successful completion, as well as the academic operations of the university.

After a national search, Blank comes to Bay Path from D’Youville University in Buffalo, N.Y., where she served as vice president for Academic Affairs. She joins the leadership team with nearly 20 years working in university administrative roles, including associate provost for Academic Affairs and Assessment at Norwich University in Vermont.

“Natalia has the experience and the ability to lead and envision innovative and results-oriented academic initiatives,” Bay Path President Sandra Doran said. “Her commitment to students, faculty, and staff is apparent, and she will be integral to our university’s work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.”

For more than 20 years, Blank has served in various roles on both the faculty and administrative side in education. As a teacher-scholar, she has been the author of numerous publications, earned several awards and honors for teaching excellence, and has received multiple grants in support of student and faculty research. She received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Nizhegorod State University in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, and went on to receive her doctorate in organic/organometallic chemistry from Dartmouth College.

“Immediately, upon meeting and speaking with members of the Bay Path community, I felt a connection to the mission and vision of the university,” Blank said. “I am excited to join President Doran, her leadership team, faculty, staff, board of trustees, and alumni in helping our students achieve their goals. I believe that innovative and entrepreneurial institutions like Bay Path will change higher education by becoming a model for responsive, successful learning experiences that will transform the futures of students.”

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced that real-estate legend, investor, best-selling author, entrepreneur, producer, and Shark Tank shark Barbara Corcoran will be the keynote speaker at the 27th Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC), taking place at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield on Thursday, April 4.

“Our conference theme this year is ‘Break Through,’ and Barbara Corcoran embodies this powerful concept of digging deep, pushing yourself beyond obstacles, and breaking through,” Bay Path University President Sandra Doran said. “If you’re a fan of Shark Tank, you’ve seen her dynamic blend of business acumen, storytelling, and humor. Her drive, work ethic, and the lessons she’s learned along the way will undoubtedly resonate with our attendees.”

Corcoran has been an investor/shark on ABC’s four-time Emmy award-winning show Shark Tank for 10 seasons, investing in more than 80 businesses to date. She chronicled her rise from waiting tables in a New York diner to heading a $5 billion real-estate company in her bestselling book, Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business! She’ll bring her personal brand of no-nonsense wisdom and supportive advice to the more than 1,600 attendees who are expected to attend this year’s WLC.

The WLC will also feature lunchtime speaker Amy Purdy, a three-time Paralympic medalist in snowboarding for Team USA. Throughout her life, Purdy has taken on obstacles and broken through, making her way into the upper echelons of athletics, onto the dance floor of Dancing with the Stars, and onto the New York Times bestseller list as the author of On My Own Two Feet: From Losing My Legs to Learning the Dance of Life. She co-founded Adaptive Action Sports for athletes with disabilities and is the host of the critically acclaimed podcast Bouncing Forward! Her work has led her to be labeled a “hero” by Oprah Winfrey and has made her one of the most in-demand motivational and corporate speakers on the globe.

This year’s conference will also feature breakout sessions led by business experts and authors, including Yvonne Camus, the former COO of SPINCO, Canada’s largest indoor cycling brand and the only female to outperform the Navy Seals in the multi-terrain adventure race known as Eco-Challenge. In addition, the WLC will welcome Sylvia Baffour, an author, podcast host, and emotional-intelligence coach recently ranked by HubSpot among the top 15 female motivational speakers. Additional keynote and breakout session speakers will be announced soon.

Now in its 27th year, Bay Path University’s Women’s Leadership Conference has brought more than 27,000 attendees together, along with prominent speakers such as Barbara Walters, Queen Latifah, Maya Angelou, Robin Roberts, Tyra Banks, and Gloria Estefan. For further information on the 2024 conference, sponsorship information, and ticket sales, visit baypath.edu/wlc.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University recently announced Jacquida Mars has been appointed the new director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), which serves as a cultural resource for students, faculty, and staff, as well as providing direction and services for current and prospective students from underrepresented populations. Through creative and innovative programs, the office enhances cultural knowledge and produces a deeper appreciation for diversity and inclusion throughout the campus community.

“I am honored and overjoyed to hold such an important role at the university,” Mars said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to impact and change the lives and futures of our students through mentoring, advocacy, social-justice education, and programming. In particular, I want students of color and first-generation students to feel that OMA will be a valuable resource for them in their academic journey from the moment they step on campus until graduation.”

Before joining Bay Path, Mars served as assistant director of Alumni & Parent Engagement for Affinity & Identity Programs at Connecticut College, where she successfully developed a mentoring program for BIPOC students and alumni. Prior to her time at Connecticut College, she contributed to the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts as the Career Programming manager/GA DEI at Trinity College.

Mars earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and crime, law & justice from the University of Connecticut, and a master’s degree in public policy from Trinity College. She is currently enrolled in a doctorate program in educational leadership for social justice at the University of Hartford.

Women of Impact 2023

President, Bay Path University

She Helps Empower Women for the ‘Long and Winding Road’

Sandra Doran

Sandra Doran

As she talked about the transition in her professional life — from being a lawyer to serving as an administrator in higher education — Sandra Doran summed it up simply and quite effectively by saying, “careers are not a straight line.”

“You don’t enter a profession or a job now and just do it for 50 years; it’s a long and winding road,” she went on, using her own story as just one example, before quickly noting that, for today’s college graduates, the road will be even more winding, and probably longer as well.

“I think that’s what our students are experiencing now — and our alums, frankly,” she went on. “Many of the people who are graduating from college today will have seven careers. So how are we, as educators, preparing them for this, giving them the skill sets, giving them the growth mindset that says, ‘I can do this, I can learn this, I’m prepared for this — I have the skill set to learn?’”

Preparing and empowering individuals, and especially women, to navigate this winding road and have the confidence and competence to take on, and succeed in, seven or more careers might be an effective job description for Doran, the sixth president of Bay Path University.

Or at least part of that job description. There are many elements to that document, obviously, and she has embodied all of them with a lengthy list of accomplishments during her career, and especially since coming to Bay Path.

At the Longmeadow campus, where she arrived just a few months after the pandemic did, she has brought about change and progress on several fronts, from health education, where she spearheaded a transformation of the school’s master’s in public health program, to cybersecurity — the school’s program is now ranked third nationally by Forbes magazine; from the creation of new programs, such as a master of science in nursing degree, to investments in infrastructure, including new science laboratories; from the establishment of a food pantry to combat food insecurity to a firm commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Meanwhile, she has been a strong supporter of, and advocate for, mentorship, forging a collaborative at Bay Path with the Mentor Collective, a platform that structures mentorships and connects students — those in traditional, on-campus programs as well as online students enrolled in the American Women’s College — with a vast network of alums who can serve as mentors.

She has also, over those three years, become heavily involved in the community, serving on the board of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, as chair of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council’s education subcommittee, and as a corporate ambassador at Glenmeadow, where she engages with and supports a life-plan community designed for older adults.

“Dr. Doran’s journey to the helm of Bay Path University is marked by a profound dedication to women’s education,” wrote Crystal Neuhauser, vice president of Institutional Advancement at Bay Path, as she nominated Doran for the Woman of Impact honor. “She is a tireless advocate for empowering women to emerge as catalysts for change.”

This advocacy, and this work to empower women, are among the many reasons why Doran can add another accomplishment to her long track record of success — being named a Woman of Impact for 2023.

Course of Action

When BusinessWest first talked with Doran, it was at a small table with a few chairs arranged around it (six feet apart) on the lawn behind Deepwood Hall, the main administration building on the Bay Path campus.

“Many of the people who are graduating from college today will have seven careers. So how are we, as educators, preparing them for this, giving them the skill sets, giving them the growth mindset that says, ‘I can do this, I can learn this, I’m prepared for this — I have the skill set to learn?’”

This was the only way to do an in-person interview in June 2020, the very height of COVID, and the scene was symbolic of the extreme challenge and duress that marked the start of her tenure at the university. It was symbolic of something else as well — her strong leadership during that time of turmoil.

Indeed, Doran was one of very few people on campus those days, with Zoom being the preferred method to meet and collaborate. And she made sure those she met with online saw her in her office, specifically in front of a painting on loan from the Springfield Museums, created by Rosa Ibarra, chosen to reflect her commitment to diversity.

Sandy Doran, center, seen here with Bay Path students

Sandy Doran, center, seen here with Bay Path students, faculty, and staff, has become a mentor to many young women.

“It was important for me to be in my office so people could see me,” she recalled, adding that she started staging, via Zoom, what she called “Conversations with the President,” so people — in the college community and beyond — would get the opportunity to know her and she could get to know them.

These are conversations she continues to this day, she went on, because they provide invaluable information and input on what those in the community are thinking about, what opportunities exist for the university and all those it serves, and much more — feedback that has directly shaped some of the leadership initiatives undertaken at the school.

It was, indeed, a long and winding road that Doran took to Bay Path, that interview at the table under the tree outside Deepwood Hall, and those online community conversations. It began, as noted earlier, in roles where Doran put to work the juris doctorate she earned at Syracuse University College of Law.

Going back further, she said she was perhaps destined for a career in both the law and education — what she called the “intersection of things I love.” Her great-grandfather founded a one-room schoolhouse in Colorado, her grandfather was the superintendent of a school system, and her mother was a music teacher.

She can find many common threads among the two professions.

“It was a very natural transition from being a lawyer to being an educator because being a lawyer, if you’re a good one, is a lot about educating clients.”

“Being a lawyer is a lot like being an educator,” she told BusinessWest. “Law is about helping clients understand what their options are and educating them about the law. So for me, it was a very natural transition from being a lawyer to being an educator because being a lawyer, if you’re a good one, is a lot about educating clients.”

After serving as vice president, general counsel, and secretary at Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc. and then as senior counsel at Holland & Knight LLP in Boston, then the fifth-largest law firm in the country, Doran’s transition to higher education began at Lesley University in Cambridge, where she served as chief of staff, vice president, and general counsel from 2004 to 2011.

It continued at the American College of Education in Indianapolis and then Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. and, most recently, Salem Academy and College in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she served as president before arriving at Bay Path to step into the rather large shoes of longtime president — and now fellow Woman of Impact — Carol Leary.

Leading by Example

Getting back to her thoughts on how a career is most definitely not a straight line, Doran said the primary focus of higher education, and one of the “foundational aspects” at Bay Path, is preparing students to learn — in every way possible.

“Whether it’s online, on the ground, from each other, from faculty and staff, from mentors, from alums — that is one of our core aspirations here,” she said, adding that this has been the primary thrust of her leadership efforts at the school.

Sandy Doran, left, with student speaker Diane Almonte Arias

Sandy Doran, left, with student speaker Diane Almonte Arias at Bay Path’s 2023 commencement ceremonies.

Put another way, she said the school works to “build confidence through competence,” and that both are attained in the classroom, as well as outside it, in all the ways students can learn.

And this brings her back to the broad subject of mentorship, which is a key component of a program at Bay Path called WELL (We Empower Learners and Leaders), as well as the school’s curriculum as a whole, and the heart of Doran’s philosophy about how people (and especially women) learn, lead, and prepare for that long, winding road.

“I have benefited from a tremendous number of mentors — not just family members, who are great mentors, but in every position and every role I’ve been in,” she went on. “I’ve had the benefit of working with great mentors, not just on how to be successful in terms of the work, but in how you build relationships and how you think about that network that’s going to be so important to being successful, because, as we all know, it’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it.

“And the data bears this out,” she continued. “Students who have mentors are more likely to be successful in the workplace, so students who have mentors in college are more likely to be successful in the workforce, particularly first-generation students who might not have that social capital and understand, the way more experienced people do, the real value of that network.”

Elaborating, she said mentorships have become a huge part of the landscape and the operating philosophy at Bay Path, with students enjoying mentoring relationships with alums, employers, faculty, and staff.

Many of these mentoring relationships, not to mention potential career opportunities, take root during internships, Doran noted, adding that these have become another huge point of emphasis at Bay Path.

“A great internship also includes a great mentoring experience,” she said. “And one of the things we know about internships is that, if a student has at least one internship during their undergraduate experience, they are more likely to secure a position, and a higher-paying position, than if they had not had that internship experience. So for us, it’s really fundamental to the education that we offer here.”

And while she still relies on others to mentor her — “there’s always someone who sees things through a different lens or different perspective” — she also mentors many of those around her, whether they are students, staff members, or other members of the community.

And when asked what her best piece of advice is to those who seek her counsel, she said simply, “to ask for advice.”

“That’s because we cannot know all the answers ourselves,” she told BusinessWest. “So getting multiple perpectives, whether it’s on life goals or even weekly goals … that’s important.”


Bottom Line

It’s also important to remember, as her own story makes clear, that careers are not a straight line. There are curves, and many of them.

Handling these curves requires not simply college degrees, although they’re essential in most cases, but the ability to learn, not just in the classroom, but from experiences and from fellow travelers along the journey.

This couldn’t be clearer to both Doran the lawyer and Doran the college president. Helping others understand, and then empowering them to make it happen, is what makes her a Woman of Impact.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University has been awarded a federal grant totaling $1,201,833 from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs to train special-education teachers.

The grant, to be applied over five years, will help Bay Path fund scholarships for graduate students and help the university create and offer professional-development opportunities to faculty and teachers at partnering school districts, which include Holyoke Public Schools, Worcester Public Schools, and the Center for Applied Behavioral Instruction, based in Worcester.

“As a result of this award, 40 scholars will successfully obtain educator licenses in both Massachusetts severe disabilities and moderate disabilities, combined with a master of science degree in education. We’ll be able to support them through high-quality mentoring and supervision, both during the program and for two years after graduating,” said Kristen Lech, program director of Bay Path’s graduate program in Special Education and English as a Second Language, as well as a professor of Special Education and the project director of this initiative.

Through this project, Bay Path will prepare for accreditation from the Council of Exceptional Children, the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.

“This grant will help us increase the number of highly qualified and dually licensed diverse educators in the field of special education,” said Ellen Rustico, assistant dean of Education and Licensure Programs at Bay Path’s School of Education, Psychology & Humanities.

Bay Path is one of 41 colleges and universities nationally to receive funding through this grant competition. The grant comes at a time when Massachusetts has adjusted its licensing requirements as a means of streamlining the process by which an educator becomes qualified to teach special education.

In 2019, it was reported that 118,867 students in Massachusetts had complex or challenging special-education needs, up from 62,660 in 2004, representing the majority of the state’s entire special-education student population of nearly 174,000.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University is the safest college in Massachusetts and the third-safest in America, according to a recent list compiled by niche.com, which reviewed 1,400 schools and ranked the safest campuses in America for 2024.

The website’s 2024 Safest College Campuses ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using U.S. Department of Education data.

The site states that these top-ranked colleges offer a safe and healthy environment with little or no campus crime, drugs, or alcohol usage. Specific factors considered include campus crime rate, local crime grade, student surveys on safety, residence-hall date violence rate, residence-hall rape rate, alcohol-related arrests, and drug-related arrests.

“Campus safety is a priority for us,” said John Stankiewicz, Bay Path’s director of Public Safety. “We work very hard to make our on-campus population, which is quite small and tight-knit, feel like this is a protected, comfortable, and safe place to be. It’s part of Bay Path’s culture.

“From a facilities perspective, our main campus in Longmeadow and the Philip H. Ryan Center in East Longmeadow are well-lit and equipped with emergency call boxes and security cameras,” he added. “Our Public Safety staff performs routine patrols of our facilities 24/7, and we maintain an excellent relationship with the local fire and police departments. And we’ve recently implemented a new communications system, which, in addition to fostering a close, connected community, allows us to more efficiently and immediately share important safety messages with all students, staff, and faculty.”

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University has been ranked third in the nation for its online cybersecurity master’s degree program by Fortune magazine, up from last year’s position at number 11.

Rankings were determined by a program’s selectivity score, which measures the undergraduate GPAs and years of work experience of its students, along with the program’s acceptance rate. In addition, Fortune evaluated retention and graduation rates, as well as the size of each graduating class.

“We’ve known for a long time that cybersecurity is an important and in-demand professional niche, and we have consistently developed our program to fill that niche,” said Matt Smith, director of Bay Path’s cybersecurity program. “There’s such a tremendous incentive for businesses and organizations to enhance the security of their operations, and this creates jobs that offer ongoing opportunities for growth and advancement, especially for women, who are underrepresented in this segment of the workforce.”

In addition to its cybersecurity graduate program for men and women, Bay Path offers an NSA- approved bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity to undergraduate women.

Bay Path was recognized in 2023 as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Education (CAE).

“Cybersecurity is a fast-growing, highly paid profession that delivers upon the promise Bay Path has been making to students since our earliest days: in-demand skills that lead to growth-oriented jobs and the economic determinism that comes with those jobs,” Bay Path President Sandra Doran said. “It’s an exciting arena to be in, and we’re hoping to promote the amazing opportunities that exist in cyber to even more students.”

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for cybersecurity professionals is expected to grow by 35% over the next decade, more than four times faster than the average for all occupations. In 2022, the median annual salary for cybersecurity analysts in the U.S. was approximately $135,000.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Following a national search, Bay Path University announced that Ruth Lahti was selected to be the inaugural dean of the School of Education, Psychology & Humanities.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Lahti to the Bay Path community,” said Dr. John Caron, interim vice president of Academic Affairs. “Dr. Lahti has vast experience as an educator and administrator and possesses extensive knowledge of online learning platforms and strategies. She is a creative and entrepreneurial, student-focused leader whose background will be integral as the university looks at new ways to expand and deliver our academic portfolio in the School of Education, Psychology & Humanities that benefit both our students and the marketplace.”

In her previous position, Lahti served as the associate vice president of Academics at Southern New Hampshire University, Global Campus Online. In that role, she led a team of 70 full-time administrators and faculty while overseeing 22 online programs; spearheaded the development of a career-oriented master of fine arts program in creative writing that is now the largest MFA program in the country; oversaw DEI strategies that produced positive, measurable results; and implemented data-driven decision making to foster student success, grow online programs in both enrollment and revenue, and launch a suite of career-focused embedded certificates.

“Dr. Lahti clearly shares Bay Path’s values that are reflected in our mission and career-focused education: innovation, diversity, equity, the pursuit of excellence, inclusiveness, collaboration, and social responsibility,” President Sandra Doran said. “As the inaugural dean, she will bring a new vision that will enable the university to expand and evolve our offerings and provide an even richer and more engaging experience for our students.”

As dean of the of the School of Education, Psychology & Humanities, Lahti is responsible for leading and coordinating the operations of department chairs and program directors to support student and faculty success. Through collaboration with cross-university departments, she will be a member of teams that develop strategic external partnerships, implement ongoing processes for the development of and scanning for new curricular ideas and initiatives, and identify and assist in obtaining new revenue streams to support the expansion of school programs and infrastructure.

Lahti earned her Ph.D. and master’s degree in English from UMass Amherst and her bachelor’s degree in English from James Madison University.

Healthcare News

‘I Always Wanted to Help People’

Jane Marozzi

Even after many fulfilling years in nursing, Jane Marozzi’s dream was to earn a BSN, so she did.


When Jane Marozzi says she’s been looking forward to earning a bachelor of science in nursing degree for a long time, she means it.

Because in her case, the BSN isn’t just the culmination of four years of college, but a highlight of a career that has spanned almost four decades.

Still, like other, more traditional graduates of area programs, her interest in a nursing career started early.

“I have a picture of me with a stethoscope at Christmas time when I was little,” Marozzi recalled. “I felt a natural draw to the field.”

So, after high school, she enrolled in a three-year diploma program at St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing in Hartford, Conn. and started her nursing career at its affiliate hospital, now operated by Trinity Health Of New England, in 1985.

Thirty-eight years later, she is celebrating earning her BSN at Bay Path University.

“I always wanted to help people,” she said of her long career, spent exclusively at St. Francis, first on the cardiac floor and then in maternity.

“Throughout that time, I got married and had children,” she said, but throughout her career, “I always wanted to get my BSN. After my parents had passed in 2018, I said, ‘I’m going to do it.’ Bay Path gave me such great flexibility, to be able to do it online five days a week. It was a lot, but it was doable.”

While nothing could replace a lifetime of caring for patients, “the nursing program taught me so much about wellness, diversity, nursing research, and community health, which was huge because I did not get that in my diploma program. I became a better writer. My leadership skills grew.”

Marozzi graduated in December 2022, and on Jan. 1, BSN in hand, she was offered the nurse manager position in the maternity unit at St. Francis.

With a few months in that role under her belt, and just a few months short of her 60th birthday, she’s glad she made the effort to earn that degree.

“I said to my husband, ‘why am I doing this? I’m 59.’ And he said, ‘you wanted this. Keep going.’ So there were professional reasons, but a lot of personal ones too.”

“I felt like the BSN nurse was looked at a little differently. It became my personal goal to strive for this, and as I got close to the end, I saw I had an opportunity to become a nurse manager,” she said. “I said to my husband, ‘why am I doing this? I’m 59.’ And he said, ‘you wanted this. Keep going.’ So there were professional reasons, but a lot of personal ones too.”

In both the cardiac unit early in her career and the maternity unit later on, she had opportunities to learn and grow into leadership roles; her last position before becoming nurse manager was senior clinical advisor, which was a mix of bedside and office duties.

As for that bedside role, she said it has changed a great deal over the years.

“The amount of computer charting, I think, has removed the nurse from the bedside. When I was first a bedside nurse, we gave backrubs — there was so much care we did. Now that kind of care is either missing or is in a nursing assistant role. There’s so much documentation now.”

She is intrigued by a ‘virtual nurse’ technology being introduced by Trinity Health at St. Francis later this summer, through which patients can be observed via a TV screen by a remote nurse, who can respond to needs right away and summon the right personnel into the room.

“I still jump out there if the staff needs me, to keep up on my bedside skills. I don’t want to forget what it’s like to be at the bedside.”

“I find that fascinating,” Marozzi said, but responding to patients’ needs has always been the heart of the nursing life for her. “I still jump out there if the staff needs me, to keep up on my bedside skills. I don’t want to forget what it’s like to be at the bedside.”

And her hospital, like so many others, needs nurses at the bedside.

“We’re getting graduate nurses, and we have a great training program here,” she added. “We try to bring them in early in their careers — student nurses, interns … we get them in, get them some skills, and maybe they will be interested in becoming a nurse.”

With nurse shortages a national concern, Marozzi is intrigued by the fact that hospitals are even bringing in LPNs for roles that previously required an RN.

“They don’t have the amount of nursing candidates that they need; it’s quite a different world right now. They’re looking for nurses,” she said. “Hospitals, we were told 10 years ago, didn’t take anyone unless they had the BSN. My whole capstone project was on how LPNs and team nursing are coming back. You need a team to get it done. And the LPNs have been just fabulous, giving medications, doing treatments, taking the pressure off registered nurses.”

Clearly, career possibilities abound in nursing — no matter one’s age.

“It’s definitely a great time to be a nurse,” Marozzi said. “There are so many opportunities for growth, and hospitals need so many nurses.”


—Joseph Bednar

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced that Eric Lesser — attorney, educator, and former four-term state senator — has been elected to its board of trustees.

“Eric Lesser has been a loyal and longtime supporter of Bay Path University, and he has a strong commitment to our mission and our students,” Bay Path University President Sandra Doran said. “His many years of public service at both the state and the national level have given him incredible knowledge and insight on government and policy that will add significant value to both our board and in furthering our initiatives at the university.”

Lesser was one of the original members of President Obama’s White House team. From January 2009 to July 2011, he served as special assistant to the president’s senior advisor, David Axelrod. Later, he served as the Council of Economic Advisers’ director of Strategic Planning. In 2014, Lesser was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate, representing the First Hampden and Hampshire district.

As a state senator, Lesser led and served on numerous committees and commissions. He chaired the Joint Committee on Economic Development & Emerging Technologies; the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development, and the Senate Committee on Ethics. He also was vice chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation and co-chaired the Massachusetts Commission on the Future of Work. Among his many priorities, he was a key proponent of east-west rail, a leading advocate for civics education, a champion for alleviating student debt, and a national leader on the future of work.

“Bay Path University is an anchor institution for the Greater Springfield area and has been on the vanguard of training a new generation of professionals in health sciences, technology, and business,” Lesser said. “I am especially grateful for their leadership opening new pathways for women from underrepresented communities, their continued dedication to serving the diverse people of Western Massachusetts, and the leadership role they’ve taken in life sciences, online and adult education, and other emerging trends in higher education. I look forward to joining the inspiring group of leaders who make up their board and helping to support their students and alumni.”

Lesser is currently a senior counsel at WilmerHale, a Boston-based law firm, where he is a member of the Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs Group. He earned his juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 2015 and his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 2007.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — In response to the growing demand for nurse practioners, educators, and administrators, Bay Path University has announced its fully online, new master of science in nursing (MSN) program, which will begin accepting nursing candidates for the fall 2023 semester.

For many patients, one of the more than 4 million nurses who currently practice in the U.S. will be at their side during their healthcare journey. Their importance is further magnified as they make up the largest group of healthcare professionals in our nation. However, across the U.S., there is a shortage of nurses. Even before the pandemic, the field of nursing was under strain due to a number of factors, including retirements outpacing new entrants to the field, economic downturns, and increasing healthcare demands.

“Bay Path recognizes the demand for nurses in the workforce has never been greater. We know healthcare employers, small and large, need nurses at every level of patient care,” Bay Path President Sandra Doran said. “At each stage of a nurse’s career, we can provide the education and resources our nursing students need to succeed and thrive in their careers. And our new MS in nursing complements our bachelor of science in nursing and doctor of nurse practice – family nurse practitioner degrees.”

Bay Path’s MS in nursing will address the critical problem of the nursing shortage by expanding the talent pipeline for nurses to earn a degree that blends the latest developments in patient care, leadership training, best practices in management, and foundations of teaching. The fully asynchronous MS in nursing is ideal for working adults, allowing students to learn on their time and on their schedule, and enrolled nursing candidates can earn their degree within two years.

“Our MSN is a creative and innovative approach to support career development for nurses,” said Dr. Linda Adams-Wendling, chief nurse administrator and director of the MSN/DNP nursing program. “Many times, nurses who are ready to pursue a graduate degree are often not sure if they want to be nurse educators or nurse managers/leaders/administrators. Our degree provides our nursing students with skills and competencies in each of these areas. As a result, they can take advantages of more opportunities, as well as fulfill a critical need for nurses whose knowledge and experience are fundamental for patient-centered care and the development of the next generation of nurses.”

The online master of science in nursing is also a pathway to Bay Path’s online doctor of nurse practice – family nurse practitioner program, which is a terminal nursing credential preparing nurses with the critical skills needed to translate evidence-based care into practice, improve systems of care, and measure outcomes for patients and communities. Nurses who wish to pursue a terminal nursing credential and who have graduated from Bay Path’s MS in nursing program may also be able to apply courses to the doctoral program.

Click here to learn about admission to the MSN program. There will be online information sessions on Wednesday, April 12 at 7 p.m.; and Monday, May 15 at noon.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal joined Bay Path University President Sandra Doran last week to announce a $1 million earmark to launch a Student Success Center at the university.

The allocation was made possible through Congressionally Direct Spending (CDS) from the Department of Education. Neal included funding for this project in the FY 2023 spending bill that was signed into law on Dec. 29, 2022.

“As one of the premier learning institutions in New England, Bay Path University continues to pride itself on providing students the resources needed to succeed both in the classroom and in the workforce,” Neal said. “Bay Path has a long history of serving a diverse student body, creating opportunities for first-generation college students and disadvantaged members of our communities. I am proud to have procured funding that will allow Bay Path to launch their Student Success Center, furthering their mission of empowering students to become leaders in their careers.”

Funding will be used to complete the work to launch a new Student Success Center that will deliver holistic, coordinated, wraparound academic, financial, and career-development support services that are easily accessible 24/7, both online and on campus. The center will accommodate the needs of Bay Path’s diverse student populations, integrating its services into a student’s academic program through systematic communications and touchpoints throughout the undergraduate experience.

“Our faculty and staff are truly passionate about providing the best student experience, in and out of the classroom, for all our learners, on ground and online,” Doran said. “This award will help us develop a Student Success Center that will ensure that our learners graduate and succeed in their careers. On behalf of the Bay Path community and our learners, 80% of whom live and work in our region, I express my gratitude to Congressman Neal for all his support.”

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University’s biennial 2022 Innovative Thinking & Entrepreneurship Lecture will take place on Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Blake Student Commons on the university’s Longmeadow campus. The doors will open for registration, networking, and refreshments from 3:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., followed by the lecture and Q&A, then a reception at 5:30 p.m. This is an in-person event, open to the public and handicap-accessible. Registration is required prior to the event by clicking here.

The title for this year’s lecture is “The Science of Dream Teams: How Talent Optimization Drives Engagement, Productivity, and Happiness.”

Today, the pressure to build a collaborative, productive, and happy workplace is greater than ever. For more than 60 years, companies and organizations have been using the Predictive Index (PI) to make data-driven people decisions. Using case studies, Mike Zani will provide insight on how the PI talent-optimization platform can help you build great teams (and keep them), align them to your strategy, and achieve your goals.

Once registered, participants will be sent a link for their own assessment. Zani will share the group results at the lecture.

Zani is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Science of Dream Teams and CEO of the Predictive Index. A graduate of Harvard Business School, he later partnered with a fellow graduate-school classmate to form a search fund called Phoenix Strategy Investments. While there, he was introduced to the Predictive Index, an award-winning talent-optimization platform that aligns business strategy with people strategy for optimal business results. In 2014, he led an investment to purchase the Predictive Index and is now the CEO of the company. More than 10,000 clients and more than 480 partners use PI — including Nissan, Citizens Bank, Subway, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Omni Hotels — across more than 90 countries to focus on one of their most important assets: people.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University’s 10th annual Cybersecurity Summit will be held on Friday, Oct. 7. The event will take place from 9:30 to 11 a.m., and attendance can be virtual or in person. The presentation itself will be virtual, and in-person participants can view the lecture in Mills Theatre, Carr Hall, on the Longmeadow campus.

To register, click here. Registration for this event is required, and details on how to join the webinar will be sent to registered participants before the event.

This year’s featured speaker will be Ariel Weintraub, CISO and head of Enterprise Cyber Security at MassMutual. The topic of her presentation will be “The Evolution of Cyber Supply Chain Attacks and the Role of Data Science.”

Weintraub joined MassMutual in the fall of 2019 as the head of Security Operations & Engineering, responsible for the Global Security Operations Center, Security Engineering, Security Intelligence, and Identity & Access Management (IAM). Prior to joining MassMutual, she served as senior director of Data & Access Security within Cybersecurity Operations at TIAA, where she led a three-year business transformation program to position IAM as a digital business enabler. Before working at TIAA, she was global head of Vulnerability Management

at BNY Mellon and was part of the Threat & Vulnerability Management practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Weintraub has a passion for empowering women, especially the next generation of female cybersecurity leaders, and for tackling the cybersecurity workforce shortage. To help address these important issues, she serves on the board for the Executive Women’s Forum and the ISACA One in Tech Foundation, which is focused on building a digital world that is safe, secure, and accessible for all. Most recently, she also joined the FS-ISAC board of directors, on which she is furthering her other passion for maximizing the value of threat intelligence sharing across the financial-services sector.

The presentation is geared to cyber professionals and decision makers in small to large businesses, and those individuals who are seeking to enter the cybersecurity workspace. It will cover topics such as an analysis of the current cyber threat landscape, with a focus on third-party and supply-chain attacks as a top risk; how data science is used to further mature cyber resiliency; and how leveraging data science can provide more visibility and protection into third-party incidents.

The Cybersecurity Summit is sponsored by Bay Path University, which offers an undergraduate degree in cybersecurity with majors in digital forensics, information assurance, and risk management, as well as a master of science degree in cybersecurity; and the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council. In February, Bay Path was designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency as part of its National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University has been ranked fourth in the 2022-23 Social Mobility category by U.S. News & World Report. Now in its 38th year, the rankings evaluate more than 1,450 colleges and universities on up to 17 measures of academic quality.

“We are pleased to have moved up 22 spots, from 26 to number 4, in this ranking,” Bay Path President Sandra Doran said. “Our efforts in this area supports the mission and vision of our university, which is to provide our students with the knowledge, voice, and confidence to succeed in their chosen career in life, and, in doing so, impact their future, and also the well-being of their families and communities.”

U.S. News publishes the Best Colleges rankings each year to provide prospective students and their families with helpful data and information on factors such as graduation rates, social mobility, and graduate indebtedness.

“For nearly 40 years, the Best Colleges methodology has continuously evolved to reflect changes in the higher-education landscape and the interests of prospective students,” said Kim Castro, the magazine’s editor and chief content officer. “Guiding that evolution is U.S. News’ mission of providing useful data and information to help with one of life’s biggest decisions.”

The social-mobility rankings are calculated by assessing the six-year graduation rates of students who received federal Pell Grants compared with the graduation rate of other students. Those grant recipients generally come from households with annual incomes under $50,000.

Bay Path has long been committed to fostering an environment that is supportive and inclusive, reflecting the diversity of its students. For the 2022 incoming fall class of traditional students, 50% were the first in their family to attend college, and 47% were diverse. The university offers numerous scholarship opportunities, as well as academic assistance and other supports, such as the ALLI program, which helps young women transition from high school to their first year as a university student, and an extensive peer-tutoring support system.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced the promotion of Michael Giampietro to senior vice president for Finance and Administrative Services.

Giampietro joined Bay Path in 2006 as vice president for Finance and Administrative Services following a 16-year career at Holyoke Community College. A member of the university’s executive staff since arriving at Bay Path, he oversees significant areas of the university, including budget development, human resources, student financial services, facilities and capital planning, the bursar’s and controller’s offices, campus public safety, procurement, auxiliary services, and enterprise risk management. He also serves as staff liaison to a number of Bay Path board of trustees committees and has participated on New England Commission on Higher Education teams evaluating other accredited institutions.

“Mike Giampietro has shown exceptional leadership in many of our campus endeavors,” Bay Path President Sandra Doran said. “On behalf of the board of trustees, colleagues, and the entire community, I congratulate him on this promotion.”

Currently, Giampietro serves on the finance committee at Baystate Health, and previously sat on the town of Longmeadow audit and capital planning committees, as well as the finance committee for St. Mary’s Parish in Longmeadow. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in public administration from UMass Amherst, and also attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University has been ranked as one of the top online cybersecurity master’s degree programs by Fortune magazine.

Fortune, which covers global business topics, ranked Bay Path 11th in the nation for its online master’s program in cybersecurity. Rankings were determined by a program’s selectivity score, which measures the undergraduate GPAs and years of work experience of its students, along with the program’s acceptance rate. In addition, Fortune evaluated retention and graduation rates, as well as the size of each graduating class.

“We’ve known for a long time that cybersecurity is an important and in-demand professional niche, and we have consistently developed our program to fill that niche,” said Matt Smith, director of Bay Path’s cybersecurity program. “There’s such a tremendous incentive for businesses and organizations to invest in their cybersecurity staff, resulting in high-paying jobs that offer ongoing opportunities for growth and advancement, especially for women, who are underrepresented in this segment of the workforce.”

In addition to its cybersecurity graduate program for men and women, Bay Path offers a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity to undergraduate women.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for cybersecurity professionals is expected to grow by 33% over the next decade, more than four times faster than the average for all occupations. In 2020, the median annual salary for cybersecurity analysts in the U.S. was approximately $104,000.

Education Event Galleries

Women’s Leadership Conference

‘Reimagine’ was the theme for the 25th Bay Path University Women’s Leadership Conference on April 1, a day-long event that drew more than 1,300 women and men to the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield. The conference featured three keynote speakers and a number of educational breakout sessions, as well as networking and a message from Bay Path President Sandra Doran about the university, its 125th anniversary, and its future.

Photos by Leah Martin Photography


Mechanic and Girls Auto Clinic founder Patrice Banks takes the stage as the luncheon keynote speaker

Mechanic and Girls Auto Clinic founder Patrice Banks takes the stage as the luncheon keynote speaker


Tyra Banks, the closing keynote speaker, answers questions from conference attendees

Tyra Banks, the closing keynote speaker, answers questions from conference attendees


author and speaker Christine Cashen kicks off the 2022 conference with laughter and advice as the morning keynote speaker

Doran addresses the audience

Doran addresses the audience


Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno welcomes attendees to the city of Springfield

Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno welcomes attendees to the city of Springfield



Business Talk Podcast Special Coverage

We are excited to announce that BusinessWest, in partnership with Living Local, has launched a new podcast series, BusinessTalk. Each episode will feature in-depth interviews and discussions with local industry leaders, providing thoughtful perspectives on the Western Massachuetts economy and the many business ventures that keep it running during these challenging times.

Go HERE to view all episodes

Episode 105: March 21, 2022

George Interviews Sandra Doran, president of Bay Path University

Sandra Doran

On the this installment of BusinessTalk, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien has a lively, wide-ranging discussion with Sandra Doran, president of Bay Path University. The two talk about the long-awaited return of the school’s Women’s Leadership Conference, what’s on tap for this year’s day-long event, and the importance of the conference to the region and its business community. It’s all must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local and sponsored by PeoplesBank.

Sponsored by:

Also Available On

Daily News


LONGMEADOW Bay Path University in partnership with Olive Tree Books-n-Voices will be staging a Zoom event, How Did We Get Here: The 1619 Project Panel Discussion, on March 1, from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. 

Several noted panelists will participate in this panel discussion, including: Bridgette Baldwin, professor of law at Western New England University; Mark Flowers, adjunct professor of African- American religion, Springfield College; Amilcar Shabazz, professor in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies UMass/Amherst; Jameliah Shorter-Bourhanou, assistant professor of philosophy, The College of the Holy Cross. This program will be facilitated by Janine Fondon, assistant professor and chair of the Communications department at Bay Path University, and moderated by Demetria Shabazz, who teaches African-American Literature and The Black Press at UMass/Amherst and social justice at Cambridge College in Springfield.

Baldwin offers this background on the event: “Considering all of the controversy and concern about what people are calling Critical Race Theory, this discussion of the 1619 text will be essential. Moving past myth and conjecture, this panel of experts will facilitate a rich and honest conversation that has been long overdue.”

According to The New York Times, The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. To learn more, click here  for an introduction to the 1619 project.

How Did We Get Here: The 1619 Project Panel Discussion is open to the public, and you can register by clicking this link, or go to baypath.edu/events-calendar/.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — After a nationwide search, Bay Path University announced that Frank Rojas has joined the university as the new vice president of Enrollment Management.

In this role, Rojas will oversee many duties, including creating and driving the strategic vision for enrollment, overseeing all aspects of enrollment operations, executing a comprehensive enrollment plan, and identifying and employing strategies that clearly demonstrate the university’s value proposition and align with institutional goals.

“Dr. Rojas emerged from a strong field of candidates,” Bay Path President Sandra Doran said. “His inclusive and creative approach to higher education aligns not only with our mission, but also with our institutional values of innovation and entrepreneurship. We are looking forward to Dr. Rojas joining our community.”

Rojas has extensive experience in higher education, most recently as chief operating officer and executive vice president at Los Angeles Pacific University. In that position, he led a team that successfully drove enrollment growth and increased revenue, while implementing marketing plans and strategies for an online university that also integrated a focus on student support.

As an educator, he is a strong advocate in providing access to learners, including marginalized students in post-secondary higher education. During his career, he has been a results-oriented leader committed to building profitable growth and return on investment both domestically and internationally.

“It is a blessing to be called to serve Bay Path University as its next vice president of Enrollment Management,” Rojas said. “Bay Path University has a rich history providing innovative, career-focused educational programs to students who, in some cases, may not have equitable access to those opportunities. I believe that education can be empowering and transformational. Those are two cornerstones of Bay Path’s mission and resonate deeply with me. I am genuinely excited to be working with Bay Path students, administration, faculty, and staff, contributing in whatever way I can to helping the entire Bay Path community and its legacy.”

Rojas earned a Ph.D. in organizational development and change and a master’s degree in organizational leadership through Fielding Graduate University. In addition, he received an executive MBA through Pepperdine University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from DeVry University.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced the kickoff of a yearlong celebration, marking its 125th year of providing workforce-aligned, career-focused education. Throughout 2022-23, the university will explore its unique history and share goals for the future through the theme “Reimagine: Possibility,” which will highlight Bay Path’s evolution from a local business institute to an innovative university serving diverse populations of learners across the country.

Founded in 1897 in downtown Springfield as the Bay Path Institute, the college has routinely evolved to keep pace with advancing technologies, workforce shifts, and the rise of career opportunities for women. Today, based in Longmeadow, Bay Path University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees on campus and online to undergraduate women and graduate men and women.

In 1999, it launched the One Day a Week College, a groundbreaking program designed specifically for adult women returning to school. That revolutionary concept formed the basis for the American Women’s College, the nation’s first online college program created for women.

“Bay Path began teaching business skills to men and women. These skills led to in-demand, well-paying jobs, and for women especially, they provided access to unprecedented professional opportunities,” Bay Path President Sandra Doran said. “Following World War II, we moved to Longmeadow and became a women’s school. As women’s opportunities and ambitions have expanded, our mission and motivation to empower them through a career-focused education has grown to 71 undergraduate majors, 51 master’s and seven doctorate degrees, in fields including cybersecurity, occupational therapy, healthcare management, data science, and genetic counseling.”

Bay Path’s history, ties to the region, and goals for the future will be presented through events, conversations, and exhibits, which will be held on campus, in the community, and in virtual formats. The first official event will be “On the Move.” Scheduled for March 22, this annual gathering is organized by Bay Path Professor Janine Fondon and brings together students, community advocates, local politicians, and professionals to inspire participation in the political process. It will be followed by the Women’s Leadership Conference, Bay Path’s renowned professional-development conference, taking place April 1 in downtown Springfield.

The celebration will continue on April 8 with the formal inauguration of Sandra Doran as Bay Path’s sixth president, followed that evening by the 125th Celebration Ball, a black-tie event to support scholarships and services for Bay Path students.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal will serve as an honorary chair of the 125th Celebration, along with Roger Crandall, chairman, president, and CEO of Mass Mutual; Ruth Carter, Academy Award-winning costume designer (Black Panther) and Springfield native; and Charlene Mazer, the first female and alumna to chair Bay Path’s board of trustees. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is the honorary community chair.

“I am delighted to serve as honorary chair for Bay Path University’s 125th anniversary,” Neal said. “Since Bay Path’s founding in 1897, the university has proven itself to be an educational pillar of the Longmeadow and Greater Springfield communities. Bay Path’s continued dedication to providing relevant, career-focused education in new and exciting ways has allowed the university to reach this fantastic milestone. I have been proud to represent Bay Path University in Congress and advocate for their unique educational needs for decades. As we celebrate the university’s impressive legacy and look ahead to the future, I am confident that Bay Path University will continue to empower students for generations to come.”

Added Crandall, “as a company founded in Springfield and deeply committed to Western Massachusetts, MassMutual has long supported higher education in the region, including Bay Path University. For 125 years, Bay Path has provided opportunities that have transformed the lives of generations of students. We are proud to celebrate this milestone with them.”

In recent years, colleges have sought to accommodate changing demographics and incorporate advancing technology, but the pandemic brought a sense of urgency to addressing the outdated structures and deeply ingrained inequities that persist in higher education. The shift to online learning, the changing needs and expectations of today’s college students, and the career compromises women are forced to make — all matters that inform Bay Path’s distinctive educational model and institutional identity — have been amplified throughout this time.

“This milestone comes at a fortuitous moment,” Doran said. “Our unique story and the role Bay Path has had in preparing women to take on — and thrive in — jobs that lead to personal and professional satisfaction, financial self-determinism, and community impact form the foundation of an ambitious strategic plan. We have led the way in creating and delivering an education that gives women valued skills, but also confidence, camaraderie, and drive. These are the principles that have defined our history and will continue to forge our future.”

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University’s ninth annual Cybersecurity Summit will be held virtually on Friday, Oct. 8 from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

This year’s featured speaker will be Jessica Bair, director of Cisco Secure Technical Alliance. The topic of her presentation will be “You Have the Power to Design Your Life: How I Used a Career in Cybersecurity to Design Mine.”

To register, click here. Registration for this event is required, and details on how to join the webinar will be sent to registered participants before the event.

The focus of the presentation will be on how to enter, build, or enhance a career in the cybersecurity space. It will cover the skills required to start a successful career; the current career options in cybersecurity; the building blocks to grow a cybersecurity career path, including current certificates and education options; the mindset needed to navigate a constantly changing field; and strategies to cultivate mentorship relationships and expand networks.

Bair has more than two decades of leadership experience in security. As the director of Cisco Secure Technical Alliance, she and her team focus on building open ecosystems for SecureX and more than a dozen security product offerings. She also manages the Cisco team in the Security Operations Centers for the RSA Conferences and Black Hat global conferences. She began her career as a special agent and computer forensics examiner in the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. She earned an MBA from Pepperdine University.

The Cybersecurity Summit is sponsored by Bay Path University, which offers undergraduate degrees in computer science, computer security, digital forensics, and information assurance, as well as a master of science program in cybersecurity management; and also by the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.

Daily News

LONGMEADOWU.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Colleges ranks Bay Path University as a top-performing school for both social mobility and innovation in the Regional North Universities category.

In the report released on Sept. 13, Bay Path is ranked 26th in Social Mobility, increasing its standing by 42 spots from 2021. Social mobility recognizes the university’s strength at helping economically disadvantaged students succeed and graduate.

Bay Path also ranks ninth, moving up three spots, on the 2022 Best Colleges list of Most Innovative Universities in the North Region. In both of these categories, Bay Path was selected from a pool of public and private colleges and universities from New England, New York, and New Jersey.

“Bay Path University is about to celebrate its 125th anniversary. Our success — and longevity — has been directly tied to our commitment to provide our students with career-focused education that is innovative and relevant,” Bay Path President Sandra Doran said. “Many of our students are the first in their families to attend college, and our community — trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, and supporters of the university — work in concert to make sure our students are able to reach their goal of a college degree.”

The social-mobility rankings are calculated by assessing the six-year graduation rates of students who received federal Pell Grants compared with the graduation rate of other students. Those grant recipients generally come from households with annual incomes under $50,000. In 2020, 58.3% of Bay Path’s traditional undergraduate students were identified as Pell-eligible.

Bay Path has long been committed to fostering an environment that is supportive and inclusive, reflecting the diversity of its students. For the 2021 incoming fall class of traditional students, 55% are the first in their family to attend college, and 60% are diverse. The university offers numerous scholarship opportunities, as well as academic assistance and other supports, such as the ALLI program, which helps young women transition from high school to their first year as a university student, and an extensive peer-tutoring support system.

The Most Innovative Schools ranking recognizes institutions that have made “innovative improvements toward curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology, and facilities.” These rankings are provided by top college officials who select schools that the public should be watching because of cutting-edge changes they are making on their campuses. Universities must have received at least seven nominations to be recognized in this category.

Bay Path has offered a long list of innovative programs — including Women as Empowered Learners and Leaders, the Center of Excellence for Women in STEM, and the Center for Excellence in Information Assurance and CyberDefense — that prepare Bay Path students for future personal and professional success.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced that Dr. Ann Errichetti has been appointed associate provost and dean of the School of Education, Human and Health Services, and will begin her role on Aug. 23.

Errichetti returned to New England in the summer of 2018 after successful careers in healthcare management and in cardiology. Most recently, she served as the chief operations and academic officer at Presence Health, a $2.6 billion Catholic health system in Chicago with 12 acute-care hospitals, more than 25 senior-living facilities, and 16,000 employees. She was a core member of the turnaround team that improved operating performance by $200 million and led to a successful acquisition by Ascension Health in 2018.

“As we begin to shape our new strategic plan, which includes a key objective focusing on the strategic expansion and deepening of commitment to educating students in the health sciences, we could not be more excited to welcome Dr. Errichetti to Bay Path,” said Sandra Doran, the university’s president. “Her knowledge and proven success leading change in the healthcare industry, coupled with her commitment to student success and outcomes, will be instrumental to our community, both internally and externally.”

Prior to joining Presence Health, Errichetti served as CEO of St. Peter’s Hospital and Albany Memorial Hospital in Albany, N.Y.; president of Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill.; and president of Advocate South Suburban in Hazel Crest, Ill. In addition to her role as president, she held the position of chief academic officer for Advocate Health Care, serving as the liaison between three medical-school affiliates and more than 600 medical residents and fellows. She was also an associate dean at Rosalind Franklin University, Chicago Medical School.

“It is an exciting time to join Bay Path University and President Doran as the new strategic plan is launched,” Errichetti said. “After a successful career as a cardiologist, then a healthcare manager, the opportunity to bring both my strategic and practical experience to higher education is a natural next step. Bay Path’s mission resonates with me as a first-generation student myself, and I look forward to being a part of educating, training, and mentoring the future workforce.”

Errichetti graduated from Fordham University, received her M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School, and earned an MBA from Clark University. Her husband, Dr. Mark Keroack, was a medical-school classmate and currently serves as president and CEO of Baystate Health in Springfield.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced its membership confirmation to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA). The university will sponsor Division I volleyball, soccer, and softball teams in the 2021-22 academic year as members of the USCAA.

“This is an exciting time for Bay Path athletics and our student-athletes. Moving from the NCAA to the USCAA provides us with the opportunity to compete at both the regional and national level in new ways,” said Joel Wincowski, vice president for Enrollment Management, Marketing, and Athletics. “In addition, participating at the Division I level enables us to now offer athletic scholarships, which are very attractive to student-athletes and their families when making decisions of where to study and play.”

The USCAA’s focus is to enhance member institutions through athletics by providing opportunities for small colleges to compete on an equal level of competition with schools of like size and athletic programs. The USCAA conducts 15 national championships, names All-Americans, recognizes scholar-athletes, and promotes USCAA member schools through various means.

“The USCAA is excited to welcome Bay Path University,” USCAA CEO Matt Simms said. “Bay Path has a long-standing tradition of outstanding education and athletic programs for young women. We believe the USCAA is a better fit financially and from an opportunity standpoint for schools like Bay Path. We look forward to Bay Path competing for the Small College National Championships this season.”

The university softball team, which won its first championship as part of the NECC in 2018, will continue to be coached by Steve Smith, director of Athletics, head softball coach, and 2018 NECC Softball Coach of the Year. In addition, the university is in the final stages of the hiring process for both the volleyball and soccer coaches and will share the new hire announcements in the coming weeks.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced that Shannon McCarty will join the university as vice president for Academic Affairs, effective July 12. Her appointment comes after a comprehensive nationwide search led by the firm Academic Search and supported by a 12-member faculty and staff cross-functional search committee.

McCarty comes to Bay Path from National University in La Jolla, Calif., where she serves as vice president, Teaching and Learning, and associate vice president for the Center of Innovation. Prior to that, she held several positions of increasing responsibility over 10 years at Rio Salado College in Tempe, Ariz., from residential faculty, Biology, to faculty chair, Physical Science Department, to her last appointment as dean of Instruction and Academic Affairs.

“Dr. McCarty is a transformative leader who brings an innovative mindset to her work and is passionate about student success and outcomes,” said Sandra Doran, president of Bay Path University. “Her breadth of experience across curriculum development, program implementation, grant administration, student-experience optimization, and data-driven predictive-analytics decision making, together with her collaborative leadership style, makes her the ideal person to join Bay Path at this exciting, pivotal juncture as we launch our new strategic plan and move forward in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

As vice president for Academic Affairs, McCarty will be responsible for creating a shared vision that fosters innovation in an environment of collegiality and cooperation; developing a sustainable business and educational model that strengthens the fiscal health of the institution, building on existing assets in response to changes in the macro-environment; championing diversity equity and inclusion at the policy and curricular level to create a welcoming environment for all students, faculty, and staff; and ensuring alignment of curricular content and modalities with student and workforce needs.

McCarty earned her Ph.D. in professional studies from Capella University, her master of education degree in educational leadership from Arizona State University, and her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Arizona.

“I am inspired by Bay Path’s innovative and forward-thinking approach to supporting its diverse student population across all divisions with a focus on workforce readiness,” McCarty said. “I look forward to the opportunity to bring strategic initiatives forward; to continue creating exceptional student experiences while advancing Bay Path’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; collaborating with faculty and staff; and building partnerships with the community while ensuring financial sustainability as the higher-education model continues to shift and expand.”

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced that Crystal Neuhauser has been named vice president of Institutional Advancement, effective June 21.

Neuhauser comes to Bay Path after serving as the associate vice president of Advancement at Franklin Pierce University, where she increased overall giving by 41% in 2020. Prior to Franklin Pierce, she directed advancement and development initiatives at Yale University, Quinnipiac University, and Mitchell College, and also worked within the nonprofit community sector. Her career experience spans fundraising, donor relations, alumni engagement, grants, and corporate contributions. She also served on a strategic planning subcommittee at Franklin Pierce.

Neuhauser is currently working toward a doctorate of education in educational leadership at New England College. She earned her master’s degree in organizational leadership from Quinnipiac College and her bachelor’s degree in business management from Albertus Magnus College.

“The vice president of Institutional Advancement is a key role at Bay Path and will be critical as we execute our strategic plan, ‘Building One Bay Path,’ said Sandra Doran, university president. “Crystal’s proven success and leadership in advancement will be instrumental in helping us to achieve our goals and our mission in support of students and academic programs. I am looking forward to working together with Crystal.”

At Bay Path, Neuhauser will serve as a member of the executive staff. In this role, she will provide strategic leadership for fundraising, including responsibility for annual giving; corporate, major and planned gifts; endowment; capital campaigns; alumni and constituent-relations efforts; stewardship; and advancement services. As a nonprofit higher-education institution, Bay Path depends on the generosity of donors to fund scholarships and important initiatives that make a difference in students’ lives.

“I’m simply thrilled and look forward to joining Bay Path University at an inflection point for the institution and higher education at large. Leading in higher education during this unprecedented time calls for a strategy towards transformative change,” Neuhauser said. “President Doran and the board are charting ambitious strategic goals that will make a visible impact on our students and faculty. In partnership with a really terrific team, it will be a privilege to work with Bay Path University’s community of alumni, parents, donors, corporate and community partners, and friends.”

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced plans to welcome students back to a fully operational, in-person campus for the fall 2021 semester. This decision is based on the increase and availability of COVID-19 vaccines, the continued decline in COVID cases, and the steps put in place at Bay Path over the past year to keep the campus safe. The university will continue to follow guidelines, take precautions, and prepare with all necessary contingencies for reopening as guided by the CDC and state requirements.

“Over the past year, as we managed the many implications of the pandemic, our number-one guiding principle has been the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, and this will continue to be our priority,” said Sandra Doran, president of Bay Path University. “In looking ahead, we are very optimistic about the fall. As students and parents are making decisions about college enrollment and housing, it’s important we share our plan for in-person learning and our commitment to maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for our returning, new, and prospective students on campus.”

The university’s initial fall plans include the opening of all residential halls, increasing the number of classes held in-person, a fully operational dining common, on-campus student clubs and activities, as well as a fall athletic season.

“There is no greater joy than connecting and meeting with our students,” Doran said. “We are ready, eager, and excited to have more students join us on campus this fall for their educational journey.”

Bay Path University accepts students on a rolling admission. For information regarding enrollment for the fall semester, visit the university’s website, or contact the Office of Admissions at (413) 565-1331 or [email protected]. In addition to the on-campus, in-person option, Bay Path will continue to offer online learning and hybrid models to meet students’ needs.

Women in Businesss

Progress Report

By Janine Fondon

On March 8 (International Women’s Day), the 2021 On the Move Forum to Advance Women, presented by Bay Path University, Springfield Museums, and a host of local organizations, virtually hosted some 200 women of all backgrounds from Western Mass. and beyond. Through conversations and speakers, women voiced their hopes and elevated their concerns to support the future success of women in leadership at all levels.

Speakers noted there is much work to be done to change the trajectory of women in companies and organizations, given that women still operate in a world where they are paid less than men. Also, women have limited leadership opportunities in the C-suite and have experienced workplace challenges in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Also, black women and Latinas still make less than anyone in the workforce, and their opportunities for promotions are certainly limited. Where do we go from here?

The forum theme, “Women in Leadership: This Is What Change Looks Like — Past, Present, and Future,” offered attendees an inter-generational, cross-cultural, gender-inclusive, and history-infused conversation focused on advancing women, led by moderator Nikai Fondon.

The event presented voices and content that showed what change could look like — young, diverse, professional women on the move to create a new world; experienced leaders of all backgrounds who share their expertise; and college-aged women exploring new skills. Now in its fifth year, the event has engaged more than 1,000 women in community conversations and presentations on women’s history, empowerment, and advancement.

“The numbers also show us that change needs to happen to build more inclusive workplaces at all levels and in all industries. We must keep watch that our colleges and universities understand the magnitude of not only recruitment and retention, but belonging and mentoring.”

This year’s event aligned with the priority theme of the 65th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.” According to Catalyst, “in 2020, women of color represented only 18% of entry-level positions, and few advanced to leadership positions. While white women held almost one-third (32.8%) of total management positions in the U.S. in 2020, Asian women (2.2%), black women (4.1%), and Hispanic women (4.5%) held a much smaller share.”

During the forum, the speakers and participants during the conversations voiced the sentiments expressed in these statistics. Most women still face obstacles in moving up the ladder at work. These statistics remind us that young women professionals who are rising to new opportunities in industry may have to pick up the path of experienced women today who still fight these trends after more than 20 years.

The numbers also show us that change needs to happen to build more inclusive workplaces at all levels and in all industries. We must keep watch that our colleges and universities understand the magnitude of not only recruitment and retention, but belonging and mentoring.

Also, as black women, Latinas, and women of color climb the ladder of success, they find that every step along the way may not come with the support they need or expect. A study conducted by Lean In and SurveyMonkey finds that, although more than 80% of white employees view themselves as allies to women of color at work, just 45% of black women and 55% of Latinas say they have strong allies in the workplace. There is more work to be done to build relationships that drive trust and transformation in the workplace, and more conversations need to confirm informal and formal sources of support.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

To help make a change in the workplace, educational institutions, companies, and organizations continue to underscore the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. While these efforts allow for some change, we need strategic approaches to systemic racism and inequities that address issues for companies and individuals. Many young professionals, consumers, and communities are at the forefront of social justice, so shifts in social responsibility, outreach, and accountability could drive change on many levels.

Bay Path President Sandra Doran noted in her speech that she has been committed to the advancement of women and the power of education. “I embrace these beliefs because I come from a family of educators and strong women. I have witnessed first-hand the power of higher education for women. My grandmother attended Barnard, a women’s college, and my mother returned to school to earn her degree at a women’s college as an adult learner. With such personal role models, I felt called to be the president of Bay Path.”

However, noting the effects of COVID-19, she noted that, “by now, we all know the burden of the pandemic fell harder on women than on men. Women make up the majority of front-line workers in deeply affected industries like retail, food service, hospitality, and healthcare, and also picked up a disproportionate share of the additional loads of schoolwork, housework, and elderly care. Black women have faced the highest rate of unemployment among women at 8.9%, followed by Latinx women at 8.5%. This pandemic has uncovered the fragility of our systems, from healthcare to daycare to education, and it is our calling, women — and men of substance — to create change. And the pipeline of women in leadership positions has shrunk.”

“As we move past International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, there must be even more commitment to revisiting practices in workplaces, classrooms, boardrooms, meeting places, and Zoom rooms to deliver equity, belonging, and dismantling ‘isms.’”

Doran also referenced an IBM study that “noted how women on corporate boards and in C-suites around the world have made no progress since 2019, when IBM did its first study on the subject.”

Another report, the 2020 Women in the Workplace study, conducted in partnership with Lean In and McKinsey, tracked the progress of women in corporate America. The data set reflects contributions from 317 companies that participated in the study and more than 40,000 people. According to the report, “the boundaries between work and home have blurred, and women, in particular, have been negatively impacted.”

In the study, women of color were noted as particularly impacted by COVID. “Women — especially women of color — are more likely to have been laid off or furloughed during the COVID-19 crisis, stalling their careers and jeopardizing their financial security. Meanwhile, black women already faced more barriers to advancement than most other employees. This is an emergency for corporate America. Companies risk losing women in leadership — and future women leaders — and unwinding years of painstaking progress toward gender diversity.”


Adverse Impact on Black Women and Latinas

While many black women and Latinas have made strides and found success in corporations and organizations, far too many remain underutilized, left behind, not included, and overlooked for opportunities. The numbers document their trajectory in a world where, in most cases, they are paid less than everyone else. Also, according to a report by CNBC, “employment for black women is 9.7% lower than it was in February 2020. Employment for white men, white women, and black men is down 5%, 5.4%, and 5.9%, respectively.”

A report by Lean In also confirms the experiences of black women in the workplace, noting that black women are significantly underrepresented in leadership roles, much less likely to be promoted to manager (and their representation dwindles from there), more likely to see their successes discounted, and less likely to get the support and access they need to advance. In addition, black women face more day-to-day discrimination at work. They want to lead — and they are motivated to improve their workplaces — but often find themselves unfairly penalized for being ambitious.

These findings should cause us all to pause and revisit our workplace policies, practices, and procedures. While not every black woman may have these experiences, other personal scenarios that they face result in negative trends. Most of all, these findings should prompt us to think about how everyone is treated in the workplace and how we treat each other. Most of all, we should consider how we can understand what others feel and find ways to communicate. If we were all treating each other as ourselves, we would not have these trends.


LGBTQIA+ Equality

While many communities and individuals experience an uncertain landscape in the workplace, we must continue to stay vigilant about trends that impact inclusion. For LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, queer, intersex, agender, asexual, and other queer-identifying) communities, the journey to equality continues to “ebb and flow,” as Kathleen Martin of Springfield College and her wife, Andrea Hickson Martin of Bay Path University, noted:

“There is no doubt that there have been tremendous strides over the past decade for LGBTQIA+ equality. In 2012, the Obama administration supported marriage equality. In 2015, in the Supreme Court of the United States case Obergefell v. Hodges, marriage equality was made federal law, paving the way for our marriage in 2017. In 2019, Congress approved a comprehensive LGBTQIA+ civil-rights bill, providing non-discrimination protections for the LGBTQIA+ community in employment, housing, public spaces, education, jury service, credit, and federal funding. During the Trump administration, however, LGBTQIA+ rights were rolled back through a ban on transgender military service, the appointment of anti-LGBTQIA+ judges at various levels of the judicial system, the rolling back of the Obama-era Civil Rights Act protecting transgender and non-binary workers from employment discrimination, and the rescinding of Title IX rules requiring schools, including colleges and universities, to address sexual harassment, including sexual violence.

“As with everything in life, there is a constant ebb and flow,” Martin and Hickson continued. “On the first day of the Biden-Harris administration, President Biden signed an executive order preventing and combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, reinstating the LGBTQIA+ protections the Trump administration removed. More recently, the administration has directed the Department of Education to ‘review all of its existing regulations, orders, guidance, and policies to ensure consistency with the Biden-Harris administration’s policy that students be guaranteed education free from sexual violence.’ This includes an evaluation of the Title IX burden of proof issued under the previous administration.”

As stated, the ebb and flow of policy continue to take us away from setting a more consistent, inclusive world and workplace where all people can succeed.

As we move past International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, there must be even more commitment to revisiting practices in workplaces, classrooms, boardrooms, meeting places, and Zoom rooms to deliver equity, belonging, and dismantling ‘isms.’ Also, we must begin to employ new ways for engaging, recognizing, and retaining black women, Latinas, and women of color who are still hidden in plain view.


Janine Fondon is a writer, speaker, assistant professor, and chair of Undergraduate Communications at Bay Path University. She is a frequent contributor to publications and media outlets on the topics of social justice, women’s history, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She recently curated and produced an exhibit and series of public events at Springfield Museums, called “Voices of Resilience: The Intersection of Women on the Move.” She was named a 2020 Difference Maker by BusinessWest, a 2020 Pynchon Award winner, and one of the top African-American female professors in 2018 by the African American Female Professors Assoc.

Class of 2021

This Journalist, Educator, and Mentor Inspires Others with Her Unstoppable Energy

Leah Martin Photography

Karen Fisk, director of Marketing and Communication for the Springfield Museums, calls Janine Fondon a “connector.”

And that’s just one of many words that can be used to describe the founder of UnityFirst.com, a national distributor of diversity-related e-news to corporations and diverse communities. Indeed, she is also an educator — she’s currently chair of the Undergraduate Communications Department at Bay Path University and has been an adjunct professor at many area colleges and universities — as well as a journalist, public speaker, colleague, and mentor.

But ‘connector’ probably works best, and it most effectively sums up what she does in the Western Mass. community — and beyond.

“As a team player, she connects people in various institutions who could work together for positive change,” Fisk, who worked with Fondon to help bring the exhibit Voices of Resilience (more on that later) to the Museums, wrote in her nomination of Fondon as a Difference Maker. “As the Leader of UnityFirst, she connects the public with black-led, owned, and operated businesses and institutions. As a teacher, she connects young people to ideas that empower them … she helps nurture the seeds that grow into remarkable projects that make a difference.”

Through all this work connecting people, Fondon, who relishes this role, told BusinessWest that she strives to make the region a better place through the sharing of knowledge, ideas, goals, and dreams for the future.

“As a team player, she connects people in various institutions who could work together for positive change. As the Leader of UnityFirst, she connects the public with black-led, owned, and operated businesses and institutions. As a teacher, she connects young people to ideas that empower them … she helps nurture the seeds that grow into remarkable projects that make a difference.”

During her time at Colgate University, a liberal-arts college in Upstate New York, Fondon recalled that she was encouraged to “raise your voice, be part of the world, and make a difference.” She did so there — she became part of a gospel choir, for example — and has done so throughout her life.

Part of her MO, if you will, is to inspire others by telling the stories of those who came before, those who blazed a trail, and those who, well, made of difference in the community and the world. This is especially true when it comes to women, and women of color. Many of these stories haven’t been told, or told as much as they need to be, she said, adding that telling them was the broad goal behind Voices of Resilience, which is still on display at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts at the Quadrangle.

It features more than 70 stories of women — activists and businesswomen, mostly — ranging from Gwen Ifill, the longtime host of Washington Week (and Springfield native) who passed away a few years ago, to Lejuana Hood, who founded Springfield’s Pan African Museum, to Miriam Kirkaldy, Fondon’s grandmother, who came to Ellis Island in 1917 and forged a new life for herself.

“I decided to pull together some stories — some rooted in Springfield, others rooted around Springfield — and these are stories that needed to be told because we can learn from them,” Fondon explained, using her grandmother as an example.

“She came via Ellis Island from Jamaica, and she came the year before the 1918 pandemic,” she explained. “You think about the fortitude she displayed and her experience; I grew up with her experience, and I said, ‘we can learn from that experience.”

The exhibit also formed the backdrop for the fourth annual On the Move event in 2020. Organized by Fondon, this gathering, which will be staged virtually this year due to the pandemic, encourages conversation and networking among women, and it has become a well-attended tradition.

It’s also another example of how Fondon has devoted her time, energy, and imagination to finding new and different ways to bring people together, share ideas, and work individually and collectively to move the needle when it comes to diversity, inclusion, women breaking down barriers, and so much more.

In short, it’s just another case of how she connects and serves this region as a true Difference Maker.


Loud and Clear

If you look closely, as in very closely, you might be able to pick out Fondon in one of the pictures of real students from New York’s fabled High School of Music & Art at the end of the 1980 movie Fame.

She was in the choir, and the shot of that group was among many of the last class of that school before it merged with the School of Performing Arts and moved to Lincoln Center.

“I wouldn’t even call it a cameo,” said Fondon, who noted that she had some talent, but not enough to join the likes of famous alums such as Billy Dee Williams, Christopher Guest, Susan Strasberg, Hal Linden, or Steven Bochco and make it as a performer or producer.

But she left the school with an even deeper appreciation for the arts than what she already had, and it has remained with her throughout her life. And you might say she’s achieved a different kind of fame after first graduating from Colgate University, where she majored in sociology and anthropology and studied in London, Paris, and Barbados, among other places.

The exhibit Voices of Resilience

The exhibit Voices of Resilience is just one of many ways Janine Fondon has helped educate others and inspire them to find their own voices.

After leaving Colgate, she pursued work in the media, working first at CBS as a news intern and handling research for 60 Minutes, among other shows, then ABC in the Public Relations department, where she was encouraged to continue her education, and did so, earning her master’s degree at New York University.

Fondon worked in New York for some time before moving to an ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. and eventually relocating to Massachusetts, where she has worked in a number of fields. She worked at Digital Equipment Corp., for example, and later at Bank of Boston, in its Corporate Communications department.

After starting a family, she desired more flexibility in her schedule and started freelance writing and then teaching on an adjunct level, with the former becoming the basis for UnityFirst.com, an information portal that shares topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion with more than 4,000 members of the national press, including top mainstream business publications, television, radio, and internet sources.

Recent pieces on the site include headlines like these:

• “Barbara Bush Foundation Celebrates Black History Month with the Release of New Anti-racist and Anti-bias Teaching Resources”;

• “Barefoot Celebrates and Supports Black Female Business Owners with the Return of #WeStandforHer Campaign”; and

• “Canada’s Black Loyalists Honored on Royal Canadian Mint’s New Silver Coin Celebrating Black History.”

“We go to thousands of people in a variety of formats, from our direct e-mails, the website, and collaborations that we have with others across the country,” she explained. “We’re just here engaging and sharing information.

“And we have one of the most loyal readership bases I can imagine — people have been with us for 20 years and continue to read with interest,” she went on. “People are engaged in our news, and it continues to grow every day. And I’m really proud that we have a really young base that’s coming in and engaging. That, to me, is the hallmark — sharing information, having people engage, learning, and using that information.”

This past year was certainly an important one for UnityFirst, she said, given all the racial turmoil in the country and new dialogue about equity and inclusion.

“I started to do some writing and speaking beyond our own circle,” she told BusinessWest. “And that engaged a lot of people as well. And I want to do more of that because engaging with others and beginning new dialogues … that brings about change.”

While she continues to byline new stories each week and teach at Baypath, she continues to look for new and different ways to use her voice, inspire others to use theirs, and further inspire an entire region by recalling some voices of the past.

“And we have one of the most loyal readership bases I can imagine — people have been with us for 20 years and continue to read with interest. People are engaged in our news, and it continues to grow every day.”

Such is the case with On the Move, which will again be staged on March 8, this time virtually. Fondon doesn’t like the word ‘conference’ to describe it, though, preferring ‘forum’ instead.

“We have a conversation, and sometimes there are breakouts that we do,” she said, adding that the setting has changed through the years — it has been staged at Bay Path, CityStage, and the Springfield Museums, for example — but the mission remains the same: to engage, educate, and inspire. “This year, we’re going to look at where we are and where we’re going.”

Looking ahead, and anticipating what might come next in a career that has taken her to different parts of the country and a host of different career opportunities, Fondon said she intends to keep doing what’s she always done — and maybe find even more ways to do it.

“There’s so much work yet be done,” she explained. “As long as we can keep sharing information that helps us make better decisions and get to a better place, there is room for all that I have to do.”


Hear and Now

Returning to that nomination of Fondon, Fisk wrote that “she listens, she encourages, she shares ideas, she shares remarkable, unstoppable energy. Most important, she cares, deeply cares, and she hopes, and then she takes action.”

And, above all, she connects. Indeed, all her life, Fondon has been doing what she was encouraged to do while in high school and college — find her voice. And not only find it, but use it.

She’s used it to educate and empower people. And with this knowledge and power, others can hopefully do what she has long been doing acting as a Difference Maker in the community and, in truth, everywhere one’s voice can be heard.


George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced the Hero Scholarship, available to qualified prospective students who apply during February for summer or fall 2021 enrollment. The Hero Scholarship allows prospective students to earn up to 50% off at the undergraduate level and 10% off at the graduate level, depending on the program and study path.

“Our students are heroes, and we know there are many more heroes in the community looking to take the next step toward earning a college degree,” Bay Path University President Sandra Doran said. “From the high-school student hero adapting to a new way of learning to the mom hero supporting her child’s virtual-learning needs to our frontline and healthcare heroes, everyone has done their part, and now we want to provide an opportunity to secure an affordable education when needed most.”

To be eligible for a Hero Scholarship, in addition to applying in February with a summer or fall 2021 start, the individual must be a new applicant, and must remain enrolled at Bay Path in a continuous course of study to maintain the award. The award is spread out over the full period of study at the university and cannot be combined with other Bay Path scholarships. Certain programs are not eligible. For more information about eligibility criteria and to apply, visit go.crm.baypath.edu/heroes.

In addition, qualified, Pell-eligible students with a cumulative high-school GPA of 2.5 or higher who will be first-year, first-time, traditional students for fall 2021 are eligible for free tuition.

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LONGMEADOW — Javier Padilla, a human-resources and talent manager with almost 20 years of human-resources experience and more than 10 years in management and leadership roles, has been named assistant vice president and director of Human Resources at Bay Path University. Padilla, who most recently served as the chief Human Resources/Talent officer for Norwalk (Conn.) Public Schools, assumed his duties in December.

Padilla brings many strengths to the position, including experience in change management, workforce planning, customer service, employee benefits and compensation, employee relations, contract negotiations, talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion, and HR analytics and technology, among others. In his career, he has worked in the fields of education, healthcare, industry, and insurance.

“There are multiple reasons for accepting the opportunity to serve Bay Path,” Padilla said. “As a first-generation college graduate, I know Bay Path is committed to providing educational access and opportunities to students. Its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion were a key component of the interview process, and this priority is consistent with my personal values. And certainly, Bay Path’s continued vision of innovation and transformation will create an indispensable value proposition to students and employees. It’s great to be a part of this organization.”

In his new role, Padilla will lead the Human Resources division in fostering collaborations and partnerships with departments and areas across the university in support of Bay Path’s mission and strategic plan. He will also implement HR policies, practices, and technologies; enhance customer service; support employee engagement; and build a diverse workforce.

“Javier Padilla brings an impressive background in human resources, and he also has substantial experience working with diversity initiatives and has a keen understanding of our commitment to inclusive excellence,” Bay Path University President Sandra Doran said. “His operational and strategic leadership experiences will be valuable in envisioning and implementing innovative human-resources services and systems that not only meet our strategic institutional goals, but, most importantly, enhance the lives of members of the Bay Path community.”

Padilla holds a juris doctorate from Western New England School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from the University of Connecticut. A member of the Society for Human Resource Management, he is also a certified professional co-active coach, accredited by the International Coach Federation, and a certified strategic workforce planner, accredited by the Human Capital Institute.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announce it was selected as a winner of the Virtual Innovation Awards: Excellence in Delivering Virtual Student Services hosted by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Bay Path is among 10 schools recognized across the nation for exemplary virtual student support services, and one of only three schools to receive the top award of $50,000.

The award highlights the effectiveness of the work being done to support both Bay Path’s traditional undergraduates and adult students enrolled in its online undergraduate degree program, the American Women’s College. These best practices will serve as case studies to inform the field at large.

“Student-support services are essential to students’ progress in college,” said Maura Devlin, associate vice president and dean of Undergraduate Studies at Bay Path. “These supports include advising, orientation, emergency aid to help with textbook costs and other essentials, clubs and activities, academic and learning supports, and health and well-being programs.”

As Bay Path’s online program for adult women, the American Women’s College has been continually developing and enhancing its virtual support services since 2013. At the onset of the pandemic, university staff were able to put these supports into overdrive to ensure campus-based undergraduate students could easily access services despite the abrupt move to remote.

Some of the virtual services that have allowed Bay Path University to be responsive to its diverse student body, whether in person or online, include a virtual career-services hub; UWill, a telecounseling service; and Tutor.com, which provides access to online tutoring services 24/7. Similarly, programming related to orientation, peer-to-peer engagement, community building, and multi-cultural affairs was provided by a support team that was able to quickly pivot to virtual platforms and social-media tools.

“We are so honored to be the recipient of this award. Our focus is fully on the students we serve and how we can continue to meet them where they are, in even the most trying of times, to help them to achieve their educational goals,” said Anne Chapdelaine, Bay Path’s dean of students and director of persistence. “This award will allow us to continue to pilot new, responsive tools and expand our resource availability, to make sure that we can flex and bend with the complex lives of our students.”

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LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University’s annual holiday party and employee-recognition event has been a long-standing tradition for faculty and staff. The pandemic prevented the normal gathering, but technology came to the rescue and provided a platform to connect remotely.

Highlights of the event include naming a charity to be the recipient of Bay Path’s generosity, as well as employee recognition for years of service at the university.

For 2020, the designated charity is Christina’s House, a Springfield-based nonprofit and Christ-centered ministry that provides transitional housing to meet the needs of mothers and their children who are homeless or near-homeless. More important, Christina’s House provides emotional, spiritual, physical, and education support as families transition from homelessness to permanent, stable living environments.

“Christina’s House is honored to have been chosen by Bay Path University as their charity of choice to give back to this holiday season,” said Shannon Mumblo, executive director of Christina’s House. “Our missions are so much aligned, empowering others to be leaders and realize their dreams through education. It is only through the support and generosity of our community that our mission continues to thrive during these unprecedented times. We are grateful to each and every person who has made a donation this holiday season; you are helping to change lives for generations to come. God bless you, and thank you.”

To donate to Christina’s House, visit www.christinashouse.org or mail a gift to Christina’s House, 38 Madison Ave., Springfield, MA 01105.