Dr. Lydia Pettis Patton
Dr. Lydia Pettis Patton is heralded as a great leader in municipal government administration with vision, courage, integrity, honesty, humility, and professionalism. She is the first woman City Manager in Portsmouth, Virginia, in its 263 years history. Before being selected as city manager, Dr. Patton managed 17 different departments in her roles as Department Head, Group Executive, and Deputy City Manager. Dr. Patton is a civic leader, educator, mentor, motivator, and devoted to impacting youth's lives across this nation and abroad. Before returning to Portsmouth, she served as Associate Director of Student Access, Success, and Diversity at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois. Through Dr. Patton's higher education accomplishments, educational opportunities opened for students in the Eastern Caribbean. She was instrumental in recruiting over 100 scholars from Caribbean nations as recipients of the Presidential Scholarship. Dr. Patton received her Bachelor of Science degree from Kentucky State University, a Masters of Education degree from the University of Louisville, and her Doctor of Philosophy degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a "Great American Family," member recognized by President and Mrs. Ronald Regan in a White House Ceremony (1986). In September 2020, the 400 Years of African American History Commission selected Dr. Patton as a 2020 recipient of The Distinguished 400 Award, acknowledging and highlighting her role as a trailblazer for African Americans across the diaspora. Dr. Patton's favorite quote, "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity," Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.