Purdue Engineering and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories join forces to innovate education

Purdue Engineering and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) are joining forces to power innovation.

SEL was founded by Purdue alumnus Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer III (BSEE ’68, MSEE ’71).

Purdue Engineering Dean Mung Chiang and Dr. Schweitzer met on Wednesday, June 6, at the SEL Modern Solutions Power Systems Conference in Chicago, and presented the collaboration in the Purdue Engineering Cases initiative.

“Purdue Engineering Cases is an exciting new series that teaches engineering from real world case studies.” said Dean Chiang, “Each case will start with industry’s real problems, decompose the complex cases, and work our way back to the fundamentals.”

All Purdue Engineering Cases will be written by Purdue Engineering faculty in collaboration with industry leaders. The case studies will be made available for free online.John Sutherland, Purdue’s Fehsenfeld Family Head of Environmental and Ecological Engineering, serve as editor-in-chief of the Purdue Engineering Texts series, which will turn Purdue Engineering faculty’s education material into both textbooks and case studies. He says the series will be a tremendous opportunity to innovate and disseminate the knowledge of Purdue Engineering to a global audience.

In April, SEL announced plans to build a 100,000-square-foot facility for electric power research in the Purdue Discovery Park District. Schweitzer and his wife, Beatriz Schweitzer, have also donated $1.5 million to Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering to endow a professorship, and another $1.5 million to support the school’s power and energy systems research area.

“Purdue, of course, is dear to me and my family. My grandfather, the first Edmund Schweitzer, earned his degree in electrical engineering from Purdue in 1898,” Ed Schweitzer said. “Supporting education is important to my wife, Bea, and me and we’re pleased the SEL and Purdue partnerships, including the Case Studies Series, will provide current and future students with the educational and life skills needed for future success.”

Schweitzer started his business, which invents, designs and builds digital products and systems that protect power grids around the world, in the basement of his Pullman, Washington home. In 1982, he left Washington State University, where he had earned his Ph.D. and served as a professor, to devote his efforts full time to growing the Pullman-based company.

Nearly every utility in North America uses SEL products, which can also be found in industrial and commercial power applications in 162 countries. SEL is also one of the region’s largest employers, with more than 5,200 employees worldwide. Schweitzer an IEEE Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and received IEEE Medal of Power Engineering and Purdue University Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award.