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Ward Lecture Provides Insider’s Perspective on Wireless Technology

Anthony J. Melone ’82 EE
Anthony J. Melone ’82 EE

On February 13, College of Engineering alumnus Anthony J. Melone ’82 EE addressed the Villanova community as the 2015 Patrick J. Cunningham Jr. and Susan Ward ’80 Endowed Lecture Series speaker. His presentation, “The Evolution of Wireless Technology,” reflected his 30 years of experience in the telecommunications field.

As Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Verizon Communications, Melone is responsible for the company’s technology roadmap, including overall platforms integrity and architecture, network strategy and product development. He also manages Verizon’s overall network engineering and operations functions. Given his vast experience, Melone’s lecture provided an insider’s perspective on the world of wireless and how technology has transformed the way we communicate and access information. He began his presentation by posing the question, “How did we get from the early 1980s when wireless was a luxury, to today when we can’t imagine life without it?”

After presenting a timeline charting the development of wireless technologies, Melone discussed industry’s role in developing and maintaining critical communications infrastructure, which supports the unprecedented level of data traffic we have today. He then spoke of the exciting possibilities that lie ahead in an untethered world, and afterward, Verizon representatives were on hand to demonstrate next generation communications technology. The lecture concluded with Q-and-A on topics ranging from signal interference and net neutrality, to which degrees or minors should be pursued to get hired in this sector, and whether a master’s degree is necessary. Gerard Jones, PhD, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research, asked about issues of cybersecurity, to which Melone responded, “Breaches are going to happen no matter what we do; our goal is to mitigate the impact.” He acknowledged the great demand for cybersecurity experts in the public and private sectors, a field in which the College offers both a graduate certificate and master’s degree.

While on campus, Melone also spent time with a select group of Electrical and Computer Engineering undergraduate and graduate students, offering industry insight, educational recommendations and career guidance. Kate Novak ’16 EE was intrigued to learn more about the Federal Communications Commission’s wireless auctions. “I didn’t realize that these companies actually buy wireless spectrum,” she says. Liesl Krause ’16 EE appreciated hearing, “Always follow your interests; there is no ‘right’ career path for everyone, only what is best for you.”

Since earning his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1982, Melone has remained involved in the life of the College. He served as a member of the Engineering Advisory Board, provided assistance to the Nicaragua Nova Mobile Health project, and was instrumental in bringing Verizon on board as a member of Villanova’s Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems. In recognition of his contributions to both the College and the profession, Melone was awarded the Engineering Alumni Society’s prestigious J. Stanley Morehouse Award in 2010.

About the Ward Lecture: The Ward Lecture Series is made possible by a generous gift from College alumna Susan Ward ’80 ChE and her husband Patrick Cunningham. The underlying objective of the series is to provide Villanova engineering students with exposure to the nation’s leading technical experts from various engineering disciplines. Since the inaugural lecture in November 2010, industry leaders have covered topics ranging from interactive digital games and human expression, space flight, the multimillion dollar expansion of the Panama Canal, the engineer’s role in design and innovation, and large-scale engineering project management. Lectures are recorded and available in the News Room of the College website.