Remembering Matthew A. Melone, Professor of Law in Lehigh’s College of Business

Melone, whose research ranged from tax policy to fantasy sports gambling, died July 7, 2020.

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu

Matthew Melone, a prolific scholar in Lehigh’s College of Business whose research ranged from tax policy to fantasy sports gambling, passed away July 7, 2020. He was 61.

Matthew Melone

Matthew Melone passed away July 7, 2020.

A professor of law, a certified public accountant and a tax attorney, Melone joined the Lehigh Business faculty in 1993. He was a recipient of the Class of 1961 Professorship, which honors Lehigh faculty for outstanding contributions to teaching, scholarship and service. In 2020, he received the MS in Management Teacher of Excellence award as voted by the students.

“Matt was a mensch in every sense of the word,” said Georgette Chapman Phillips, the Kevin L. and Lisa A. Clayton Dean of the College of Business, in an email to faculty and staff. “He exemplified ‘character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible.’”

Phillips said she appreciated his enthusiasm and good humor and “will miss him greatly.”

Melone received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Villanova University and a masters of taxation from Villanova School of Law. He received the Alexander E. Loeb Award for the highest score on his CPA (certified public accountant) exam in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

After graduating from Villanova University, Melone worked at Ernst & Whinney, the precursor to Ernst & Young, as a certified public accountant. He later served as the controller for the real estate developer and property manager, Kravco Company. 

Melone left Kravco and started his own CPA practice. He left private practice to earn a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, graduating first in his class. That led to an offer to practice law at a prestigious law firm, but Melone chose instead to pursue an academic career at Lehigh. 

Longtime friend and colleague George Nation, a professor of Law at Lehigh who met Melone while both were undergraduates at Villanova, remembered him as “truly a good person, always willing to listen and give his fellow person the benefit of the doubt, if at all possible.” He said Melone was the smartest person he had ever known.

“Many students wanted to get the correct answer, but Matt wanted to know why it was correct and understand how accounting really worked—the strengths and the weaknesses,” Nation said. “Back in the old days, before the internet, if I had a question, I would ask Matt. He was, for me, Google before there was Google.”

Nation said Melone also had an encyclopedic knowledge of professional and college sports. 

“The breadth of his knowledge and curiosity was boundless,” said Nation, adding that their phone conversations could get long. “But he also had great humility. He never came off as a know-it-all and was generous with his knowledge and kind. I greatly valued his advice, and if we were in disagreement on an issue, that was a good reason to reexamine my position.”

Melone's research interests centered on federal income taxation and corporate governance. At Lehigh, he taught Legal Environment of Business, a core requirement, Business Law and Regulatory Environment of Business in the MS in Management Program. He also served as the course coordinator for Value-Based Decision-Making, a core requirement that focuses on ethical issues in business and various other courses in the graduate program. 

“Matt was a very gifted teacher who stands as a beacon of dedication that Lehigh faculty have for their students,” said Nandu Nayar, chair of the Perella Department of Finance. 

Nayar delivered a memorial resolution for Melone at the Faculty Senate meeting on July 17. It read in part: “His teaching was outstanding, and as chair of the department, I should know since I have read comments from students on his teaching evaluation forms. I have often wondered what kind of magic spells he cast in the classroom to inspire his students in business law!”  Nayar continued: “He touched the lives of many of us—students, staff, and faculty colleagues. We will miss him.”

Melone wrote extensively about constitutional law, comparative forms of doing business, executive compensation, partnership taxation, accounting standards and corporate political activity. 

“Matt Malone will be deeply missed by his colleagues and students,” said Paul Brockman, senior associate dean for faculty and research at Lehigh. At the professional level, Matt was a highly accomplished teacher and researcher. At the personal level, and more importantly, Matt was a sincerely kind and gentle man. He fully deserved the respect, admiration and affection with which he was held.”

Melone is survived by his wife, Annamarie C. Lammendola-Melone; son, Kevin Melone '15 '16G; and daughter, Mary Kaye Melone; his brother, Anthony Melone; and his English Bulldog, Nacho. 

Story by

Mary Ellen Alu