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NewsJan 8, 2021

Top Lesley stories of 2020

The resourcefulness, brilliance and transformative impact of the Lesley community was on full display in 2020. Join us for a look back at this remarkable year.

Collage of photos
Clockwise from top left: Dr. Matthew E. Henry ’17, Katelyn Twardzik ’15, a mortarboard from Commencement 2020, members of Cambridge Common Voices, Paolo Knill, artwork by Lesley Assistant Professor Ara Parker

1. Dr. Matthew E. Henry’s unapologetic poetry addresses racism in the classroom
June 26, 2020
Alum Dr. Matthew E. Henry ’17 talks about “Teaching While Black,” his first book of poetry, as well as 18 years of “come to Jesus” conversations on race in his classroom.

2. Lesley University announces plans for Fall 2020 
July 15, 2020
In an effort to keep our community safe during the pandemic, we announced that classes and activities would be predominantly online…not surprisingly, a lot of you were interested in reading about it.

3. Five tips for mindfully managing during a crisis
March 18, 2020
Director of Mindfulness Studies Andrew Olendzki shared ways to deal with anxiety around the Coronavirus. Might be time for a reread of this one. We also saw a lot of eyes on this related piece on tips for students during quarantine.

4. Why schools — now more than ever — should let young kids learn through play
Oct. 9, 2020
Professor Emerita Nancy Carlsson-Paige advocates for the importance of letting kids play.

5. Expressive art therapists support doctors, each other during social isolation
April 13, 2020
In the midst of a really tough year, so many people in our community showed compassion by helping others, from online therapy sessions for doctors to educating voters.

6. Cambridge Common Voices inspires a harmonious revolution
June 23, 2020
If you’re in need of a pick me up, this is it. Cambridge Common Voices, a collaboration between Lesley and Harvard, welcomes people of all abilities into their chorus. Read about this amazing partnership and watch their socially-distanced music video.

7. Lesley University names new provost
July 29, 2020
After serving as interim provost, Professor Jonathan Jefferson was promoted to the permanent post of chief academic officer and provost.

8. Creating new channels of learning in the COVID-19 era
May 6, 2020
When schools went remote in the spring, our teaching alumni rose to the challenge, dreaming up creative ways to engage their students virtually.

9. Our racism is a hydra
June 5, 2020
As people protested the deaths of Black men and women killed by police, Professor Danielle Legros Georges shares this timely and important message.

10. Celebrating the Class of 2020 virtually, with heart
May 18, 2020
COVID kept us from holding Commencement in person this year, but we still found a way to celebrate our graduating class!

In memoriam

This year we mourned the passing of several members of our community. In September, Jim Wilbur, who retired from the Threshold Program in 2016 after 25 years of leadership, died following a heart attack. The same month, Professor Emeritus Paolo Knill, a leading figure in the development of expressive therapies during his 20-year tenure at Lesley, died at age 88.

Alumna Evelyn Finnegan ’48 also died in September at age 94 after a life of philanthropy and advocacy for children’s literacy. Beloved English faculty member Donna Cole, who retired from Lesley 2011, passed away in December at age 83. We were also saddened to learned of the tragic death of student Emma Hall, who was killed in a car accident shortly before Christmas.