2019-2020 Undergraduate Academic Catalog

In a Unique Tradition

Lesley's reputation for educational innovation began in 1909 with founder Edith Lesley's vision of schools transformed by teachers trained to be dedicated and creative professionals. She guided her school well into the 1930s, aided first by her sister Olive, and later by the woman who succeeded her as principal, Gertrude Malloch.

The school was a continuing success. As professional teacher education was increasingly recognized for its importance, Lesley College was incorporated in 1942 as a non-profit institution of higher education under the direction of a board of trustees. In 1943, the name Lesley College was adopted. Guided by its first president, Dr. Trentwell Mason White, the college received its undergraduate accreditation and later established a graduate school in 1954.

From its beginnings, the college has prided itself on its ability to offer high quality, experientially-based education relevant to the needs of students and society. In its early years, Lesley developed a national reputation for the quality of its teacher education programs. Starting in the 1970s, the college began to develop other programs to prepare students for professional careers.

The College of Art and Design was founded in 1912 as the School of Practical Art, one of the nation's first private studio schools. Renamed the Art Institute of Boston in 1967, it merged with Lesley College in 1998 and was renamed the College of Art and Design in 2013. In September 2000 Lesley College changed its name to Lesley University to more accurately reflect the variety and scope of its academic programs. At that time, the undergraduate women's college reclaimed the name Lesley College. In May 2004, the Board of Trustees voted to admit men to Lesley College. After a thoughtful strategic planning process in 2012, Lesley College was renamed, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS). All programs continued to be based on the original traditions of creative instruction and artistic expression, connections between the liberal arts and professional preparation, integration of academic and field-based learning, and commitment to excellence.

Our current professional and liberal arts majors provide a range of academic paths to prepare professionals who are skilled in working to improve the situations of others and whose lives exemplify confidence, compassion, and civic engagement. Its mission is to ensure that every graduate is a high achiever. At Lesley University, high achievement in undergraduate education occurs within an active liberal arts learning community, founded upon teacher preparation, professional studies, passionate inquiry, active citizenship, and experiential learning.

Over the last century, Lesley University has continued to increase its national reputation as an educational leader. The president and faculty are themselves leaders, many of them of national and international stature, within their fields of specialization. As noted scholars, they play an active role in creating the academic innovations that a Lesley education has come to represent. As involved professionals, the faculty are immersed in shaping the course of education well into the twenty-first century. The faculty are equally committed to the personal and professional development of the students under their tutelage. Their expertise and dedication are two crucial components of the Lesley experience. A Lesley University degree is a respected badge of academic accomplishment distinguished by experience, vision, and dedication.