P.C. Rossin College of
Engineering and Applied Science
11 employees talk about their time at the Rossin College with pride, joy, a hint of nostalgia—and excitement about what’s up next

It says a lot about a place when its employees stick around for decades. So much has to align—the challenge, the camaraderie, the purpose. All of the recently—or soon-to-be—retired members of the Rossin College team found joy and meaning in their long tenures here, primarily because of the connections they made with colleagues and students. They have all made their mark in many different ways, both big and subtle. And they will all be missed.

Prisca Vidanage, Graduate Coordinator, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 39 years

She is known to some as “Mother Superior.” Sure, it’s a bit of a joke, but it’s not entirely a joke. Because when it comes to the graduate students in civil and environmental engineering—and especially when it comes to the international students—Prisca Vindanage is very much like their mom. Worrying about their well-being, answering their questions, pointing them in the right direction. Always willing to lend an ear if and when times get tough. And many of those students have written her emails or have come to her office (with their own kids! Who want to come to Lehigh!), to thank her.

“They say, ‘You were so kind,’ or ‘You were so helpful,’” says Vidanage, who came to the United States from Sri Lanka in 1971. “These students come from thousands and thousands of miles away, and it’s hard for them. They leave their parents, they leave their cultures. I always tell them, ‘Come talk to me.’ Because I can relate. So they consider me like the mother.” As graduate coordinator, Vidanage has spent the past 30 years assisting students, and she will truly miss helping them navigate the college experience. But her role as Mother Superior is far from over—in December, for the first time, she’ll be a grandmother.

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Reporting by Christine Fennessy, staff writer for the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science

Five Rossin College Retirees

From left: William Michalerya, Jennifer Smith, Prisca Vidanage, Diane Hubinsky, and Gene Lucadamo

Kathy Rambo

Kathy Rambo

Carolyn Jones

Carolyn Jones