Since 2012, Patricia Melton has been executive director of New Haven Promise, a program funded by Yale and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven that covers tuition at in-state colleges for New Haven public-school students who maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and 90% attendance record in school, perform community service, and keep up a positive disciplinary record. She came to the job with a master's degree in education and 18 years of experience in the field, but she also draws from a deep well of empathy for her students: she grew up on welfare in the housing projects of Cleveland, the sixth of seven children raised by a single mother who died when she was 12.
At Yale, Melton competed on the varsity track and field hockey teams and worked to help pay her own way through college. She became a nationally ranked track star, got involved with a parent organizing drive in Seattle's public-school system, and went on to serve as chief fundraiser for Boston's first charter high school, assistant dean of instruction at Vincennes University in Indianapolis, and chief academic officer for Indiana's third-largest public-school district. In 2007 she won a Silver Anniversary Award from the NCAA, which recognized her for being a distinguished former student-athlete on the 25th anniversary of the end of her intercollegiate eligibility.
Melton served as an At-Large Delegate to the YAA Assembly from 2006 to 2009; was a guest speaker at the panel on “Progress and Potential: Public Education in New Haven Today” during the 2013 Assembly, which celebrated the city's 375th anniversary; and became a board member of the Yale Club of New Haven in 2014. She was an alumni panelist at the Careers, Life and Yale “Being Useful” workshop on public-service careers in October 2015, and served as an YAA Delegate from the Yale Black Alumni Association from 2016 to 2017. In 2018 she was elected to the YAA Board of Governors.