For most, Rathbone dining hall is the place to grab a meal with friends, but for Steve Kucey, it’s a place he’s celebrated life milestones — like his marriage proposal. On Oct. 19, Kucey commemorated 50 years of service to Lehigh dining.
Kucey, 67, has been working at Rathbone dining hall since 1971.
“My uncle worked at the snack bar down at the UC, and when I saw this place (Rathbone) opening, I filled out an application right away and got the job,” Kucey said. “I was 16 years old.”
Since then, he’s been in the washroom, concession stands and now front-of-house clearing tables.
In November 2009, in the middle of dinner rush at Rathbone, Kucey got down on one knee to propose to his now wife Kathy Kucey, a fellow employee of 35 years. Two years later, they held their wedding reception on Lehigh’s Mountaintop Campus.
“The room was pretty hyped up,” Kathy said. “We knew most of the sports teams and they were all cheering. We’ve been married for 10 years. Stevie is an all-around great guy, and it’s great working together.”
The power couple of Lehigh dining are big supporters of all Lehigh sports. Steve said they attend as many games as they can, loudly cheering and bolstering signs to excite the players.
Many athletes meet Steve through team dinners held at Rathbone. He said he always makes an effort to befriend, talk to and ask students about their lives.
The couple also attends some practices with armfuls of freshly baked cakes, pies, cupcakes and even full meals for the teams.
“He’s friendly with a lot of students,” said Lauren Sleeger, the director of Rathbone dining. “It’s harder now because of masks and maintaining social distance, but he’s always very considerate and helpful with the students. He’s a Lehigh person through and through.”
In addition to Lehigh athletics, Steve is active in the Special Olympics community, where he has spent many years volunteering as a coach to children and adults with disabilities.
Harry Morra, assistant coach of men’s basketball, first met Steve while coaching basketball in the Special Olympics and has been friends with him for almost 12 years. He said he admires all Steve does for the community.
“Steve is so incredible, especially when you think about someone committing their life to Lehigh,” Morra said. “(Steve and Kathy) are very invested in the community. They love it and take so much pride in the events that the city of Bethlehem put on.”
Outside of sports, Steve and Kathy have volunteered for events like Musikfest and Celtic Fest, as well as assisting the elderly at Holy Family Manor and setting up events and dinners held at the Cathedral Church of the Nativity.
Kucey currently works part-time, about three days a week, at Rathbone but assures his Lehigh family that, “I’ll be here a long time.”