|Motto||Perissem Ni Perstitissem (Latin)|
Motto in English
|I Would Have Perished Had I Not Persisted|
|Endowment||$185.6 million (2017)|
|President||Janet L. Steinmayer|
|Campus||Urban; 13.76 acres (5.57 ha)|
|Colors||Green and White|
|Athletics||NCAA Division III|
New England Collegiate Conference
The university is a member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, National Association of Schools of Art and Design, New England Collegiate Conference, and the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.
Janet L. Steinmayer is the current president of Lesley University.
The Lesley School (also known as Lesley Normal School) was founded by Edith Lesley in 1909 at her home at 29 Everett Street, Cambridge. The school began as a private women's institution that trained kindergarten teachers. As such, it espoused the work of Friedrich Froebel, who invented the concept of kindergarten as a complement to the care given children by their mothers. Teacher and writer Elizabeth Peabody opened Boston's first Froebel-inspired kindergarten in 1860; more kindergartens followed. Central to the Froeblian philosophy is the idea that individuals are important and unique, a focus that remains today at Lesley University.
Edith Lesley, after having lived in Panama and Maine and studied in Freiburg, Germany, moved to Boston and became involved with public school teaching. She completed kindergarten training, took courses at Radcliffe College, and then began to plan her own kindergarten training school. She wanted a school that would "consider the individual of basic importance; to inculcate the idea of gracious living; and to foster the tradition of American democracy." [quote from "A Century of Innovation," Brown and Forinash, eds.] Now married, Lesley and her husband expanded the school by constructing an addition at the rear of their home, which today is known as Livingston Stebbins Hall.
Around 1913, the Lesley School began training for elementary teachers. In 1941, the Lesley School reorganized under a board of trustees; in 1944, it received authority to award baccalaureate degrees and became known as Lesley College. In 1954, the college began to award graduate degrees; it later added majors in the fields of education, counseling, human services, global studies, art therapy, and management.
The School of Practical Art was founded by Roy Davidson in 1912. The school's early philosophy was based upon John Ruskin's words that it is "in art that the heart, the head, and the hand of a man come together" and Davidson's own belief that "beauty comes from the use." The school increasingly embraced the fine arts and developed a growing liberal arts curriculum; in 1967 the school was renamed the Art Institute of Boston to acknowledge its increased focus upon fine art as well as design, illustration, and photography.
|Trentwell Mason White||1944–1959 (died in office)|
|Sam Wonders||1959–1960 (acting)|
|Margaret A. McKenna||1985–2007|
|Joseph B. Moore||2007–2016|
|Jeff A. Weiss||2016-2018|
|Richard S. Hansen||2018-2019 (interim)|
|Janet L. Steinmayer||2019–present|
In 1998, the Art Institute of Boston and Lesley College merged, and became Lesley University in 2001.
When university status was gained, the original colleges became the undergraduate units of the university. Lesley College's two graduate schools rounded out the university's four main academic units. In 2005, Lesley College (at that point, an all-female liberal arts college) became coeducational.
In 2007, Joseph B. Moore became president of Lesley. The following year, the university entered into a partnership with Episcopal Divinity School to jointly operate their Brattle Street campus and purchase several buildings. This move added dormitories, a dining hall, and classrooms, as well as an expansion in library services and administrative space.
In 2009, the university celebrated its Centennial and embarked on its first major construction since the 1970s. Dormitories at 1 and 3 Wendell street were added to the residential life offerings. Both buildings are LEED Gold–certified.
In 2013, construction on the Lunder Arts Center began in Porter Square.The project was built on the former site of the North Prospect Church, which was moved slightly to the south and repurposed. Also In 2013, Lesley University's constituent colleges, the Art Institute of Boston and Lesley College, were renamed College of Art and Design and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, respectively; the change is reflective of the cohesion and growth of the two colleges.
In 2015, the College of Art and Design officially left Kenmore Square in Boston and joined the remainder of the university in Cambridge. This move marked the completion of the Lunder Arts Center as well as the first time in 17 years that the university was entirely housed in Cambridge. The Lunder Arts Center was awarded a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Lesley also won a prestigious Preservation Award from the Cambridge Historical Commission for the restoration of the historic former North Prospect Church as part o the Lunder Arts Center project.
At the end of the 2014–15 academic year, President Joseph B. Moore announced that he would retired the following year. In 2016, Jeff A. Weiss became president and resigned in 2018 due to personal health reasons. In 2018, Richard S. Hansen became interim president.
In July 2018, Lesley announced the purchase of the historic buildings formerly owned by the Episcopal Divinity School (EDS), making Lesley the sole owner of the 4.4-acre Brattle Campus. The purchase included five buildings - St. John’s Memorial Chapel, Wright Hall, Burnham Hall, Reed Hall and 4 Berkeley St. - and the remainder of Sherrill Hall. Since 2008, Lesley and EDS had jointly owned Sherrill Hall as part of the schools’ condominium agreement.
The university, with its component undergraduate colleges, graduate schools, and centers, offers more than 20 undergraduate majors and over 90 Adult Bachelor's, Master's, Certificates of Advanced Graduate Study, and PhD programs at its Cambridge and Boston campuses, as well as off-campus and online. The Lesley Center for the Adult Learner offers an adult bachelor's degree program, including on- and off-campus courses as well as online and hybrid courses targeted toward adult learners.
The university is made up of the following academic units:
The university library system is made up of the following units:
Residential Life at the university is for undergraduates. The program emphasizes community building, personal growth, and offers many leadership opportunities. Including: Community Advisors (Resident Assistants), Community Council, Residence Life Advisory Board, and Summer Resident Assistants. The university offers a variety of housing options from traditional style dormitories to Victorian homes and suite-style apartments.
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