Dear Members of the University Community:
It is with great sadness that I write today to inform you of the passing of Rehan Baddeliyanage in an accident while away from Grounds over Spring Break. Rehan was a fourth-year student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, studying Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Business Engineering.
Rehan was well-known to many of us. He was currently serving as Vice Chair for Professional Expectations and Promotions in Housing and Residence Life, tasked with a critical role in the selection and appraisal of the hundreds of peers who serve in the program. Rehan previously served as a Resident Advisor to first-year men in Fitzhugh and Echols houses as a second-year and third-year, respectively. Rehan had a tremendous impact on a great many students living in residence at the University and was a beloved member of the Resident Staff program.
Associate Dean of Students Andy Petters recalls Rehan’s “advocacy, frankness and approach to solving problems. I had immense trust in Rehan and will dearly miss him. Rehan’s legacy will always be felt in the lives he touched here at UVA.”
During his time at UVA, Rehan was also involved in Theta Tau Engineering Fraternity, Ultimate Club Frisbee, and volunteer work through Madison House. He also welcomed prospective students and visitors to our Grounds as a member of the University Guide Service, and was tapped as a member of the IMP Society in recognition of his many contributions to life at the University. Last April, Rehan was awarded the Kris Kishore Memorial Scholarship in recognition of his unwavering dedication to learning and community servitude. As one nominator explained, “Rehan is profoundly dedicated to making the University a home for everyone. He emphasizes multiples avenues for success at UVa. . .empowering all people to be themselves and pursue their unique goals.”
Last fall, Rehan participated in the “Double Take” program as part of the inauguration of University President Jim Ryan. Rehan was ultimately selected to speak in Old Cabell Hall and share his personal story. A video of that presentation is available online. Rehan movingly spoke of his lifelong friendship with John Paul “JP” Popovich, a UVA student who passed away in his sleep over winter break of their first year. I was present at JP’s funeral that winter and I heard Rehan speak movingly of the impact JP had on his life. In his application for promotion within the Resident Staff program, Rehan explained that “When I lost my roommate, I promised myself I would leave a legacy at UVA for both him and myself. I full-heartedly believe that legacy will be created through my efforts in the Resident Staff Program.” Rehan clearly fulfilled that promise.
The loss of a classmate and fellow member of our community is difficult. If you need support during this time, you may call Counseling and Psychological Services at 434-243-5150, 24 hours a day. Information about CAPS is available on the Student Health website. If you are a student at home for Spring Break, you may still call CAPS staff for assistance. I also urge you to discuss your feelings with family and seek their support.
Faculty and staff can find a similar resource through the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program by calling 434-243-2643 or by emailing the office via the FEAP website.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Rehan’s parents, Ravindra and Nadira Baddeliyanage of Sterling, Virginia; other family members; and his many friends, UVA classmates, and faculty whose lives he impacted in a positive way. Please take care of yourselves and keep Rehan’s family and many friends in your thoughts.
Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students