Education 2023: MAKOLA M. ABDULLAH
PRESIDENT, VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY, ETTRICK
Abdullah received the ultimate show of support from VSU in 2022, when he signed a multimillion-dollar deal to stay on as president through 2029.
The public historically Black university was struggling financially when Abdullah arrived in 2016, but he has since righted the ship, leading the school to a budget surplus. VSU was ranked No. 26 in U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Overall HBCUs this year, and it was named HBCU of the Year in 2018 by HBCU Digest.
Abdullah is a member of President Joe Biden’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, chairing the infrastructure committee. He is also board chair-elect for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
A native of Chicago, Abdullah has an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Howard University and master’s and doctoral degrees in the same discipline from Northwestern University. Before arriving at Virginia State, he worked in a variety of executive roles at universities in Florida.