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Ben Allen, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, (515) 294-0070
James Melsa, Dean, College of Engineering, (515) 294-5935
Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa --James Melsa, dean of Iowa State University's College of Engineering, will retire at the end of the 2003-04 academic year.

Melsa has served as dean since 1995. His leadership has spanned a period of record enrollment in the college and the launch of an initiative to become one of the nation's top 20 engineering programs. Melsa also led the successful completion of the $62.5 million Engineering Teaching and Research Complex, which includes Howe Hall (built in 1999) and Hoover Hall, dedicated last week. Under Melsa's direction, the College of Engineering recently received a $282 million in-kind software grant, the largest in Iowa State University history. Research expenditures have increased significantly, new endowed professorships have been established, one of the world's only six-sided virtual reality labs was developed, and the college has become a leader in information assurance during Melsa's tenure.

"I believe that the College of Engineering has become stronger and more visible during the past eight-plus years of my administration. I appreciate the support of the faculty and staff; I am proud of what we've accomplished," Melsa said.

Melsa, 65, also is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Iowa State. He will retire from his faculty duties as well.

Before becoming dean, Melsa served in three vice-president roles during 11 years at Tellabs, Inc., an Illinois-based global supplier to the telecommunications industry. Melsa was on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame for 11 years, serving as professor and department chair, electrical engineering. He also has worked as a faculty member at Southern Methodist University, Dallas; and the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Melsa received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Iowa State in 1960. He earned master's (1962) and doctorate (1965) degrees from the University of Arizona. He is a member of the Order of the Knoll at Iowa State and was presented the Alumni Professional Achievement Award by the University of Arizona in 2001. Melsa is serving a two-year term as vice president for public affairs for the American Society of Engineering Education. He has been a fellow of the Institute for Electrical Engineers since 1978, and received that group's Third Millennium Medal in 2000.

"Jim Melsa has provided extraordinary leadership for Iowa State University's College of Engineering. In the eight years he has been dean, the college experienced significant enrollment increases and set new records in research and fundraising," said Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy. "He oversaw the addition of the two-phase Engineering Teaching and Research Complex, the largest building project in Iowa State's history and a facility that will provide a solid foundation for the college to continue its progress in the future. I thank Jim for his many contributions to Iowa State, and I wish him the best in his retirement."

Ben Allen, vice president for academic affairs and provost, said he will meet with College of Engineering administrators to start the process of forming a search committee for the new dean. The search is expected to be completed by July 1, 2004.


Iowa State University
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Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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