Lilia Ann Abron was born March 8, 1945, in Memphis, Tennessee. She grew up in a household that placed a high value on education. Her father was a school principal and her mother was a school teacher. Her mother taught geography and art. Lilia’s interest in science came from her mother’s interest in geography.
After graduating high school, Abron attended Le Moyne College in Memphis, Tennessee. There she studied chemistry and earned her B.S. in 1966. She then earned her M.S. in sanitary engineering from Washington University in 1968. Later, she earned her Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 1972. She was the first Black woman in American to earn this degree.
After earning her M.S., Abron worked for the Kansas City Water Department. She then became a research engineer for the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago. Upon receiving her Ph.D., she became an assistant professor of civil engineering at Tennessee State University. She simultaneously worked as an assistant professor of environmental engineering at Vanderbilt University.
In 1975, Abron became an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Howard University. By 1978, she founded PEER Consultants. PEER Consultants is an environmental engineering consulting firm. Her firm was commissioned by the Superfund program. She worked with the Boston Harbor Cleanup, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy.
In 1995, Abron founded Peer Africa. The company’s mission was to build energy-efficient homes in post-apartheid South Africa. Her organization earned the American Academy of Engineers 2012 Superior Achievement Award.
Abron is a member of the International Women’s forum and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She belongs to professional organizations as well, like the Water Environment Federation and the American Society of Civil Engineers. At the age of 73, Lilia Ann Abron serves on the Advisory Board for the College of Engineering, University of South Florida.
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