George & Peggy Melton

Moving Ahead with Melton’s Scholars

Business Analytics & Statistics - Alumni

George Melton (HCB ’68) originally came to the University of Tennessee pursuing engineering, but quickly switched gears to statistics in order to focus on his natural affinity for math.

Over four decades, Melton enjoyed a successful career in the aerospace and defense industry. Among other roles, he served as an executive at Allied Signal and British Aerospace and as CEO of EG&G Technical Services, Inc., and Wyle, Inc.

As Melton reflected on his college years, he wanted to improve the experience for today’s students.

“I wanted to do something to foster more interaction between faculty and students,” Melton explains. “I always felt in school that there wasn’t enough interface with the faculty outside the classroom, and it would be so beneficial for education.”

Melton also wanted students to gain a big-picture perspective on their education, seeing how courses fit together instead of viewing them as separate entities.

Melton had several conversations with Chuck Noon, department head of business analytics and statistics, about creating a new program to achieve these goals. Plans for the new Melton Scholars Program began to emerge as they talked.

“The idea is to pair individual undergraduate seniors with individual faculty members to work toward undergraduate research,” Noon says. “We’re starting the program with five students per year.”

The program dovetails with the department’s overall goal to present an elite program, says Noon.

“For the last five years, our program in business analytics has been the fastest-growing major on campus,” he says. “Rather than allow the numbers of students to continue to grow, we’re focusing on being more selective, only admitting students who can handle the rigors of the major.”

Competition to gain admittance to the Melton Scholars Program is stiff, but Melton is looking forward to watching the results.

“I’m really focusing on the student aspect of it,” he says. “If this can help make the experience more rewarding for students, that’s my goal.”

Peggy Melton, George’s wife, appreciates the uniqueness of the program.

“It’s novel, and something that I hope will shape future scholarships,” she says. “Getting involved with this project is very important to us. By creating this opportunity, we hope to positively impact every student in the major.”