Photo by Amy Nelson ’20

When Dinithi DevaAdithiya enrolled at Winona State University, she was sure of two things: that she wanted to be a nurse, and that her husband said WSU was the best place for her to pursue that dream.

As she graduates from WSU as the fall 2017 outstanding student in Nursing, she is certain of one more thing: that she’s glad she listened to her husband.

“I have personally seen how WSU Nursing graduates rise above others because of their outstanding skills,” said DevaAdithiya. “I am proud to be called a Nursing graduate from WSU because I know it provides me with recognition and a guarantee of success.”

DevaAdithiya, who is originally from Negombo, Sri Lanka, was nervous when she first started the Nursing program at WSU.

“I was terrified to go to classes where I did not know anyone. I was also scared that I would make a mistake when I speak English,” she said. “But they embraced me with open arms. I love how close the WSU community is. WSU is my home away from home.”

DevaAdithiya worked extremely hard to keep pace with the competitive and challenging curriculum, recording lectures and often doing extra reading to help her understand complex concepts.

“However I never made my situation an excuse,” she said. “I never missed a single class or a due date.”

And DevaAdithiya is quick to credit her support system for her successes—her husband and family, the WSU Nursing faculty and her advisor, and even the donors of the scholarships she received.

“Scholarships made it possible for me to come this far and relieve some of my financial burden,” she said. “I am grateful for the kind donors for making it possible for students like me.”

After graduation, DevaAdithiya plans to work as a psychiatric nurse and hopes to eventually go back to school to continue her education in the psychiatric nursing field. Her long-term goal is to become a professor in nursing.

“No matter what happens in your life, don’t make excuses out of it,” she said. “The world will not stop because things are difficult for you. Work hard and never give up. One day you will look back and realize how strong you were and your confidence will fuel your success.”

WSU Fall Commencement Ceremonies will be at 10 a.m., 2:00 p.m. Friday, December 8, in McCown Gymnasium. The 10 a.m. ceremony will feature the College of Business, the College of Education, and the College of Science and Engineering. The 2:00 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. For more information on commencement, visit

For more information, contact University Communications at 507-457-5024.