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.
"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."
"Pete Rossin touched the heart and soul of every individual he interacted with," said Mohamed S. El-Aasser, former dean of engineering and University Provost, who currently serves as 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."