Texas, Austin, graduating in 1981 with his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. He went onto pursue his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under advisor Walter Philipp. Lacey successfully defended his thesis on the area of probability concerning Banach spaces as well as the law of the iterated logarithm for empirical characteristic functions.
After completing his doctorate degree, Lacey first went onto work at Louisiana State University where he was an Assistant Professor in the Mathematics department. He subsequently taught as an Assistant Professor at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as well as Indiana University, Bloomington. While at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, he worked with previous advisor Walter Philipp once again, submitting their proof of the central limit theorem. Lacey went onto serve as an Associate Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta in 1996, earning tenure in 1998. He gained his status of Full Professor in 2001, becoming Associate Chair for Faculty in 2017, a position he still holds today. In addition to serving as Associate Chair for Faulty, Lacey also mentors Georgia Institute of Technology pre-doctoral and doctoral mathematics students.
While Lacey has been teaching in higher education, he has also racked up numerous honors and awards for his research in the field of mathematics as well. In 1997 he was awarded the Prix Salem alongside Christoph Thiele, an award funded by Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study. He also earned the prestigious Guggenheim Fellow Award as well as the Fulbright Fellowship, a three month teaching and research award. Most recently he was awarded the American Mathematical Society Fellow for his outstanding contributions to the field of mathematics.