The P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science owes its name to the late Peter C. Rossin (1923-2003), a member of Lehigh's Class of 1948 who established a $25-million endowment for the college in 1998. The gift was the largest ever made to Lehigh.

Rossin, a WWII veteran, held management positions at several metals companies before founding Dynamet Inc. in 1967. The company, which made titanium alloy products for the aerospace, chemical, medical and petroleum industries, was purchased by Carpenter Technology Corp. in 1997.

"I respect what Lehigh has offered to the scientific community and to my career," Rossin said. "I feel you owe a debt to society and to the institutions that were fundamental to your success."

"Lehigh taught me to understand technology and people," Rossin said in 1998. "Now my wife, Ada, and I would like to give back to the next generation of Lehigh students to help ensure that they and the university continue to represent the very best in engineering education."

Rossin earned a B.S. in metallurgical engineering from Lehigh in 1948, after serving as a military pilot in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. As a student, Rossin joined Theta Delta Chi fraternity and married Ada Egbert in 1946.

Upon graduation from Lehigh, Rossin was offered one of two slots in Bethlehem Steel's prestigious Executive Loop Course. He turned down the opportunity, saying he was more interested in "new techniques, new metals and new markets," and he went on to earn a master's in metallurgical engineering from Yale and work toward a doctorate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

In 1951, Rossin joined General Electric Co. in Schenectady, NY, where he was responsible for the research and development of vacuum melting and processing of nickel-based alloys and reactive and refractory metals. Later, Rossin held research and management positions at several metals companies, including Cyclops Corp., Fansteel Metallurgical Corp. and Crucible Steel Corp.

In 1967, Rossin started his own company, Dynamet Inc., which became one of the world's leading producers of titanium- and nickel-based alloy products for the aerospace, chemical, medical and petroleum industries. Titanium processed at Dynamet was used to make surgical staples and other medical products.

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush named Rossin "Small Business Person of the Year" for western Pennsylvania. In 1994, Rossin received the Medal for the Advancement of Research from ASM International (formerly the American Society for Metals), a worldwide network of materials engineers, which cited his research in metal-deformation processes, powder metallurgy and special metal applications.

In 1997, Rossin sold Dynamet, which had expanded to 425 staff members at five sites, to Carpenter Technology Corp. He was made an honorary member of Lehigh's board of trustees the following year, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of engineering by the university in 1999. He also served on the board of trustees of Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA, where his financial support helped establish the Rossin Campus Center.

Rossin and his wife donated $25 million of their fortune to Lehigh's engineering college in 1998, the largest single donation in university history. For their generosity, the college was renamed the Peter C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science. Over the next three years, they gave an additional $2.5 million to the school. The college was able to hire thirty new faculty members, initiate bioengineering and environmental engineering programs, a graduate studies program in optical technology, and an engineering minor for undergrads. Twelve graduate students received Rossin fellowships, six assistant professorships were appointed and two senior professorships were granted.

"Peter Rossin was smart, creative and very successful," said Gregory C. Farrington, president of Lehigh between 1998 and 2006, "and his commitment and generosity to his alma mater were extraordinary."

Rossin was a frequent campus visitor and was very involved with ensuring the effectiveness of his donation. In 1998, he was given an honorary membership to Lehigh's Board of Trustees and the following year he was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering. He was also the first recipient of the Lehigh Engineering Ingenuity Award.

Rossin died on August 10, 2003 in Sewickley, Pennsylvania at the age of 79. He and his wife Ada had two children: a son, Pete Jr. '71, and a daughter, Joan Stephans.      

"Pete Rossin touched the heart and soul of every individual he interacted with," said Mohamed S. El-Aasser, former dean of engineering, University Provost, and vice president of international affairs. "Above all, he was a caring individual. Pete's name and legacy will survive, and the college of engineering that carries his name will always aspire to be among the best for engineering education and research."

Peter C. Rossin '48 established a $25 million endowment for the college in 1998, the largest gift ever made to Lehigh University.