Melva was born in Minneapolis on March 16, 1903. She received a number of degrees, including a B.A. at the University of Minnesota, majoring in French, Journalism and Music, and an M.A. in Personnel Psychology. She studied in France for several years, and received a doctorate from the University of Paris-Sorbonne.
Returning to the United States in 1929, Dr. Lind taught French at Smith College for seven years and at Mount Holyoke College for twelve years. After two years inWashington, D.C. as a Specialist in Higher Education, and three years at Miami University as Dean of Women and Professor of French, she returned to Minnesota to become Dean of Students at Gustavus Adolphus, in St. Peter (1953-65). Dr. Lind later taught there in the French Department (1965-75), and served as Director of International Education (1973-78). She has been a Development Associate since 1978.
In 1979 Dr. Lind published a book, L’Ame Indienne: Chippewa at Sioux du Haut-Mississippi d’apres les manuscrits de Joseph-Nicolas Nicollet (1786-1843).
In 1974 Dr. Lind received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota. She received four awards from the French Government. The French Ordre des Palmes Acadeuiques, Chevalier, 1952; The French Ordre des Palmes Academiques, Officer, 1965; The French Ordre National de Merite, Chevalier, 1972; American Revolution Bicentennial Commemorative Silver Medal from France, 1976. She has been decorated by the King of Sweden and Honored as Princess by the Minnesota Indian Tribal Council.