Press Release

Smerge (’80) and Meltzer (’85)
Receive Prestigious Alumni Association Awards

May 13, 2011

DeKalb, Ill.--Northern Illinois University College of Law Alumni Linda A. Smerge (’80) and Robert C. Meltzer (’85) have been recognized by the NIU Alumni Association as part of their annual award presentations.

NIU President John Peters, Linda Smerge ('80), and Alumni Association President Hon. Anthony Iosco ('80) at the Awards Dinner.

Linda Smerge is the recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award, given to an NIU alumnus or alumna who has achieved outstanding success and recognition in his or her field. Smerge holds three NIU degrees and has achieved prominence in her field on the state and national level. Though Smerge taught briefly following her graduation from NIU in 1973, she spent over a decade practicing law in Chicago. Prompted by a desire to make a real difference in children’s lives, she returned to teaching in 1993. In 2001, she accepted a position at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Cicero, and has taught in one of the Cicero district schools since.

In the fall of 2008, Smerge was named Illinois’ Teacher of the Year, and spent 2009 as an ambassador for Illinois teachers, sharing stories and strategies with fellow educators, representing Illinois at the NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., and meeting with officials of the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. She presently sits on the Advance Illinois Educator Advisory Council as a teacher voice on various issues, and is a candidate for her fourth NIU degree, a master’s in educational administration.

Robert Meltzer ('85)

Robert Meltzer is the recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Law. Serving as President and CEO of VISANOW, the company specializes in placing foreign nationals in U.S. companies and assisting placement of U.S. employees in foreign locations. VISANOW provides comprehensive legal expertise in the area of global immigration management. Its services include patented on-line technology designed to make this process as efficient as possible. VISANOW has helped to provide tens of thousands of visas to its clients.

Meltzer began his career at the legal office of the United Nations World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, concentrating on public international law, international contracts and international copyright. In 1986, he returned to the United States and entered into private practice, continuing to focus on international law, and then expanding his practice to include immigration law, representing clients on a broad range of immigration issues. After practicing law for 15 years, he realized the potential technology held to streamline the management of the immigration process, and founded VISANOW.

Meltzer has been an active member of the College of Law’s Board of Visitors since 2005, and is an avid financial supporter of the college’s Moot Court Society, a student-run organization with a purpose to further the advancement of appellate advocacy. He is also a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association; has been a member of and chaired the International and Immigration Law Section of the Illinois State Bar Association; an adjunct professor of international law at Chicago-Kent College of Law; and an author and lecturer.

Smerge and Meltzer were honored by the NIU Alumni Association at a private reception Friday, April 29, at the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center in DeKalb.

Click here for the complete list and bios of award recipients.


For more information, contact:
Melody Mitchell
Alumni Events & Public Relations
(815) 753-9655 or