Lydia Thompson, a native of Columbus, Ohio, received her bachelor of fine art degree from The Ohio State University and her master of fine art degree from the New York College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Thompson received the prestigious Fulbright Hayes grant to conduct research on traditional architecture in Nigeria, a VCUarts Institutional Grant for research at the International Ceramic Research Center Artist-in-Residency in Denmark, and also completed a residency at the Medalta Ceramic Center in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.

Her work has been included in galleries, art centers, and museums such as: The Society for Contemporary Crafts, PA, Baltimore Clayworks, MD, Ohr O'Keefe Museum in Biloxi, MS, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, KY, Te Temauta Gallery in New Zealand, and Guldegaard in Denmark. She has completed public commissions for businesses and her work is in private and public collections in North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. She has conducted workshops and given lectures throughout the United States. She has served as both juror and curator for national and regional exhibitions and worked with community youth groups in her region.

In her 30 years of administrative experience, Lydia Thompson has held positions as assistant dean of undergraduate studies/student affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, assistant dean of multi-cultural affairs at the School of Art Institute of Chicago and director of the Educational Opportunity Program at NYSCC at Alfred University. She served on the board as director-at-large for the NCECA (National Council of Education for Ceramics) organization and is currently on the board of the NCAA (National Council of Art Administrators).

As Director of the School of Art, Thompson's vision is multifaceted. She has mobilized faculty and staff as cooperative teams in increasing recruitment and retention. She also recognizes that identifying and appropriating funding for programs and facilities is a top priority for the school. She is a strong advocate for the arts and community outreach.