Ernest O. Melby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Ernest Oscar Melby (August 16, 1891 – January 11, 1987) was a professor, dean, and university president.


Ernest Oscar Melby was born in Lake Park, Minnesota, the son of Ole Hanson and Ellen Stakke Melby. Melby received his B.A. from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1913. He attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota to receive his masters and Ph.D. He married Aurora Herbert on December 29, 1914. Aurora and Ernest Melby met in Alexandria, Minnesota, when he was a physics teacher. They had one child, Stanley Herbert Melby.


Melby began his career as a high school teacher and principal in Minnesota before serving for nine years as the superintendent of schools in Long Prairie, Black Duck and Brewster, Minnesota. He served as a schools superintendent. In 1928, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Education at Northwestern University, where he conducted prolific research on the administration of several Illinois school districts, the results of which were published in 1929 and 1930. As a result, he was rapidly promoted to associate professor and professor. In 1934, he was named Dean of the School of Education at Northwestern, a position he held until 1941 when his antagonistic relationship with University President Franklyn Bliss Snyder deteriorated to the point where Melby resigned.[1]

Melby assumed the presidency of University of Montana (though it was named Montana State University until it was renamed in 1965[2]), a post he held from 1941 to 1943 and from 1944 to 1945.[3] In 1943, he was Chancellor of the University of Montana. From 1945 to 1956, Melby served as Dean of the School of Education (now Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development) at New York University.[4]

Dr. Melby joined the faculty of the College of Education at Michigan State University in 1956 following his retirement as dean of the College of Education at New York University. Originally intending to stay for just one year, he worked for 19 years prior to his retirement from Michigan State University in 1975.

In 1975, Dr. Melby accepted a distinguished professorship at Florida Atlantic University where he founded and served as consultant to Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Community Education. Ernest O. Melby also served as special consultant to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.[5]

Selected works[edit]

  • American Education Is in Danger (ADL Bulletin, May 1951)
  • American Education under Fire: The Story of the 'Phony Three-R Fight (The New York Times Magazine September 23, 1951)
  • Administering Community Education (Prentice-Hall. 1955)
  • The Role of the School in Community Education (Pendell Publishing Company. 1969)

Ernest O. Melby Internship[edit]

The Ernest O. Melby Internship at Florida Atlantic University makes funds available to a student enrolled in the Department of Educational Leadership who is interested in the field of Community Education/Community Schools) [6]

Ernest O. and Aurora H. Melby Endowed Fellowship[edit]

The Ernest O. and Aurora H. Melby Endowed Fellowship was established through the estates of Ernest and Aurora Melby in 1994 following the death of Aurora Melby at 102 years of age. The fellowship is designated for students in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University.[7]

Ernest O. Melby Community Education Center[edit]

The Ernest O. Melby Community Education Center at Florida Atlantic University was founded in 1967 with a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. On February 12, 1988, the Center was formally named in honor of Ernest O. Melby.[8]


  1. ^ Ernest O. Melby, 95, An Education Dean At N.Y.U. 11 Years New York times. January 14, 1987)[1]
  2. ^ The Sentinel Yearbook, (Missoula: Associated Students of the University of Montana, 1965), p.4
  3. ^ "Earnest O. Melby - 1941-1945," University of Montana Website.
  4. ^ Education:Goodbye, Messrs. Chips (Time Magazine, Jul. 16, 1956)
  5. ^ "Earnest O. Melby - 1941-1945," University of Montana Website.
  6. ^ Ernest O. Melby Doctoral Internship (Florida Atlantic University
  7. ^ Ernest O. and Aurora H. Melby Endowed Fellowship (College of Education. Michigan State University) [2]
  8. ^ Ernest O. Melby Community Education Center (Florida Atlantic University's Community Education Home Page)[3]

External links[edit]