Lydia P. Abdullah

After leading and supporting various diversity efforts for Finance & Business as a volunteer, Lydia Abdullah was appointed as the first Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for F&B in 2011. She is now responsible for establishing the infrastructure to operationalize and sustain the goals in the F&B Strategic Plan which includes programs and initiatives that enhance our commitment to a welcoming and inclusive workplace for all. This function includes the continued oversight of the Advancing Diversity and Inclusion Priority Team.

Previously, Lydia served in the University Budget Office from 1990 onward. In her last position there as the Assistant Director for Reporting, she was responsible for the oversight of official University data that was released to outside constituencies, which included the federal and state government, academic accrediting agencies, ranking entities, and data exchanges. Additionally, she coordinated the University’s 2010 transition to using the federally mandated race/ethnicity codes for all employees, students and data.

Lydia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the Smeal College of Business (1975) and earned the designation of Certified Internal Auditor in 1983. She began her employment with Penn State as an Accounting Trainee in the Office of the Corporate Controller immediately upon graduation. Shortly after that, she accepted a position within the Internal Auditing Department where she progressed through the ranks to Audit Manager. In 1989, she was selected to be the first African American female Administrative Fellow under the mentorship of the Senior Vice President for Finance & Operations.

It was during her Administrative Fellowship that Lydia was propelled into working with various diversity and inclusion efforts for F&B and the University. Since then, she has been acknowledged as the diversity point person for three different Senior Vice Presidents while retaining her positions in the University Budget Office. Besides serving on administrative teams devoted to diversity and inclusion, Lydia has authored the diversity reports and strategic plans for F&B since 1989.

In addition to serving on various community boards to further the work of diversity and inclusion, Lydia is also a member of the University’s Equal Opportunity Planning Committee and Administrative Council on Multicultural Affairs. She has chaired the University’s Martin Luther King Community Bell Ringing Ceremony (1997-2003) and the Staff Advisory Council (2000-01) and has been appointed to numerous committees over her 30-year tenure. She has received numerous awards for her service and commitment including, the F&B Quality Service, Quality People Diversity Award, the University’s James Robinson Equal Opportunity Award, and the Community Leadership Association’s Distinguished Leadership Award.