About Lesley


Located in the heart of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Lesley University empowers students to become dynamic, thoughtful leaders in education, mental health counseling, the arts, and business. Each year, 2,500 undergraduate and nearly 5,000 graduate students pursue degree programs in an intensely creative environment to help reveal fresh answers to the world’s problems.
Lesley is a national leader in quality teacher preparation. One of the largest U.S. providers of graduate programs for educators, we have graduated twice as many more teachers than any other private institution in New England.
Our 84,000 alumni have studied at Lesley, either on campus, online, or through our low-residency program.

Our Mission

Lesley University engages students in transformative education through active learning, scholarly research, diverse forms of artistic expression, and the integration of rigorous academics with practical, professional experience, leading to meaningful careers and continuing lifelong learning. Lesley prepares socially responsible graduates with the knowledge, skills, understanding, and ethical judgment to be catalysts shaping a more just, humane, and sustainable world.


The Lesley School began in September of 1909, when the first students gathered in the living room of Edith Lesley Wolfard’s home in Cambridge. Created for the professional instruction of kindergarten teachers, the school started at a time when kindergarten was an emerging idea and the preparation of women for careers outside the home was a radical notion. Her guiding principle for Lesley was “to be different; to consider the individual of basic importance; to inculcate the ideal of gracious living; and to foster the traditions of American democracy.”

Edith Lesley believed in the power of individuals and the role of education in an effective democracy. These remained the foundation for the school’s educational philosophy as it grew into Lesley College in 1945, and Lesley University in 2000.