University at Albany

Distinguished Alumna in Political Science

Lesley Massiah-Arthur, BA ’89
Associate Vice President for Government Relations
and Urban Affairs
Fordham University

Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in the Bronx, New York, Lesley Massiah-Arthur is the associate vice president for government relations and urban affairs at Fordham University.  She is the first African-American to hold the associate vice president title in Fordham’s history.  Prior to her tenure at Fordham, Lesley worked for the NYS Assembly Ways and Means Committee as a legislative budget analyst specializing in housing, judiciary and higher education issues.

Lesley has distinguished herself as one of the leading lobbyists for higher education in New York State. From economic development to education law to scientific research, she impresses many with her in-depth understanding of complex issues that face the higher education industry. Whether it is Pell grants, the New York State Tuition Assistance Program, the Higher Education Opportunity Program, START-UP NY, the DREAM Act or securing funding sources for Fordham’s own institutional goals, the energy and passion that Lesley brings to any cause are almost inexhaustible – often working behind the scenes to improve the lives of New York’s college students and their families.  She believes that meaningful change is possible and the future of America is in the hands of those who question the state of the world around them and decide to be active in government and civic affairs.

Beyond her work for Fordham, Lesley has lent her time and influence towards a number of initiatives including voter registration, after-school and summer programming for our youth and improving services for one of New York City’s largest Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC).

Lesley received her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany and studied at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy before receiving her Master of Arts degree from Fordham University.  A 2009 Coro Fellow, Lesley also holds professional certificates from Yale University and the University at Michigan.  Lesley has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the Bronx Free Press and Manhattan Times “Women of Distinction Award,” The Association of Professional Administrators of CSTEP and STEP Programs Outstanding Service Award, and  The Ernst & Young Inclusive Excellence Award for Accounting and Business School Faculty, Honors.

Lesley is a member of the American Political Science Association, National Conference of Black Political Scientists, American Association of Political Consultants, Government Affairs Professionals, and the New York Women’s Foundation. She also served as a board member for the Coro National Alumni Association and as a board member for the Union Community Health Center.