Benedictine Board of Trustees chair awarded Anson Marston Medal

November 20, 2017

Lisle, Illinois ~ James L. Melsa, Ph.D., chair of the Benedictine University Board of Trustees, was recently awarded the Anson Marston Medal at Iowa State University’s (ISU) Honors and Awards Ceremony.

The medal is given in recognition of outstanding achievement in advancing engineering science and having national and international impact in academics, industry and public service. It is named in honor of Anson Marston, former professor of civil engineering and dean emeritus of engineering at ISU.

Melsa earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at ISU in 1960 and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Arizona, prior to becoming a faculty member at the same school.

He subsequently held faculty positions at Southern Methodist University and Notre Dame University, where he was chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and earned recognition as one of the nation’s outstanding electrical engineering professors in control and estimation theory, speech encoding and digital signal processing.

Melsa went on to hold three vice-president roles at Tellabs, Inc., a global supplier to the telecommunications industry, before returning to ISU as College of Engineering dean from 1995-2004.

As dean, Melsa led a transformation that included construction of the Engineering Teaching and Research Complex, revamping the undergraduate curricula, expanding internships and co-ops, launching the Reach for the Top initiative and expanding research and technology transfer activities. He oversaw significant growth in research and teaching infrastructure and under his leadership, set new records in endowed professorships and sponsored funding.

In 2008, he was appointed to the Benedictine University Board of Trustees and belongs to the Rotary Club of Naperville.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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