Retired U.S. Ambassador Named Associate Dean of School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs

Retired U.S. Ambassador Named Associate Dean of School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs

The College of Charleston has appointed James D. Melville Jr., a retired U.S. ambassador with more than three decades of experience as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, as associate dean for international and community outreach in the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs (LCWA) and as a faculty member in the school’s International Studies program.

As associate dean for international and community outreach, Melville’s responsibilities will include promoting the school’s strengths and achievements, bringing distinguished speakers and visitors to campus, facilitating the creation of national and international internship and study-abroad experiences for College of Charleston students and seeking out fundraising opportunities to support the school’s work.

“Ambassador Melville’s remarkable record of high-level international achievements personifies the mission of LCWA: to support our students in realizing careers that make a global impact,” said Timothy S. Johnson, dean of the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs. “His experience and leadership will enhance greatly the College’s international experiential learning opportunities for students and the community. I am very excited and look forward to Jim playing a key role in the School’s future.

Melville, who most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to Estonia from 2015 to 2018, will additionally serve as executive director of the Center for the Global Alliance for South Carolina, which was established at the College to support the Global Alliance for South Carolina, a non-profit organization formed to stimulate business, economic growth, and research partnerships involving companies and academic institutions in South Carolina, Israel, Estonia and other states.

“Ambassador Melville is a consummate professional who will create new professional opportunities for College of Charleston students and faculty,” said Brian McGee, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.  “His work will mark the next phase in the development of our distinctive School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs, which has a global reach and presence. I am thrilled to welcome the Ambassador to Charleston.”

Originally from Bradley Beach, New Jersey, Melville graduated from Boston University with an honors degree in history. He holds a law degree from Rutgers University and is a member of the bars of New Jersey and New York. He speaks Russian, German and French.

Melville served under six U.S. presidents and spent a total of 33 years with the U.S. Foreign Service, including assignments in the German Democratic Republic, St. Petersburg, at the U.S. Mission to NATO, Paris, Moscow and London. In Washington D.C., he worked in legislative affairs, as a Senior Watch Officer in the Operations Center, and at the Foreign Service Board of Examiners. He was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to become U.S. Ambassador to Estonia in 2015.

“I am deeply grateful to the College of Charleston and its School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs for offering me this wonderful opportunity to join such a distinguished institution and to continue my career in public service,” said Melville. “I look forward to working with the outstanding leadership here, to encourage smart, ambitious young people to think about how best they can engage the many challenges that face the Unites States and the global community, and to use their power as individuals to make the world a better place.”

Given the breadth and global span of his distinguished career, Melville has received numerous awards for public service as well as respect and admiration from many former colleagues.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who was U.S. Ambassador to Germany while Melville was there as Deputy Chief of Mission, praised his former colleague’s professionalism and experience.

“You could not have a more qualified person,” said Murphy. “Jim is the complete package: smart, approachable to all, passionate, decades of experience in government/foreign policy and on and on. No one will out work him. He is as good as it gets!”

John B. Emerson, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Germany from 2013 to 2017, said Melville is known throughout the U.S. government national security community as one of the nation’s most respected and valued foreign service officers.

“Jim has a broad and deep knowledge of foreign policy, national security, and the fascinating history of Europe during and after the Cold War,” said Emerson. “Beyond that, he is smart, wise, effective, and fun to work with. The College of Charleston is lucky to have him.”


Feature photo by Heather Moran.