Fourth-year Engineering student Rehan Baddeliyanage passed away over spring break, according to an email sent out to the University community by Dean of Students Allen Groves Wednesday afternoon.
Baddeliyanage came to the University from Sterling, Va., and was majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Business Engineering. He was the vice chair for professional expectations and promotions in Housing and Residence Life and had previously served as a resident advisor in Fitzhugh and Echols Houses during his second 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,” Groves said.
Baddeliyanage’s other involvements at the University included Theta Tau engineering fraternity, Ultimate Club Frisbee, Madison House and the University Guide Service.
“Rehan was also … tapped as a member of the IMP Society in recognition of his many contributions to life at the University,” Groves added. “Last April, Rehan was awarded the Kris Kishore Memorial Scholarship in recognition of his unwavering dedication to learning and community servitude.”
The Kishore Memorial Scholarship award was established in 2015 in memory of University alumnus Kris Kishore. According to the scholarship’s website, the scholarship aims to “enable a rising Fourth-Year Student at the University of Virginia to continue leading a life of public service that inspires others and brings lasting, beneficial change to the community.”
Baddeliyanage was the scholarship’s third recipient and received $25,000 “toward his continued studies.”
Baddeliyanage was also one of 10 speakers — along with President Jim Ryan and other University faculty, staff and students — in Ryan’s “Double Take: Stories that Make you Think Twice” inauguration weekend event last fall.
During the event in Old Cabell Hall, Baddeliyanage told a few hundred audience members about his experience after his close friend, roommate and then first-year College student John Paul Popovich passed away in December 2015, immediately after final exams had ended.
In the semester following Popovich’s death, Baddeliyanage explained he initially sequestered himself from the University community, withdrawing from clubs and activities but was eventually encouraged by fellow students to get involved again — both socially and professionally.
“What matters here is the people,” Baddeliyanage said at the event. “Even though I quit on U.Va, U.Va never quit on me.”
Groves’s email did not state the exact cause of Baddeliyanage’s death.