Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, founder, president and chief technology officer of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, delivered a keynote at the WSU Power Professorship Program 50th Anniversary Celebration on September 15, 2023, in Pullman.
In his keynote, Dr. Schweitzer highlighted the roots and importance of the WSU Power Professorship Program:
“Professors Glen Hower and Attie Betts established the Power Professorship Program within the Electrical Engineering department at WSU 50 years ago,” said Schweitzer. “Regional electric power utilities have supported the program continuously ever since, and our local utility Washington Water Power—now Avista—was one of the first.”
Schweitzer went on to recount that professors Hower and Betts hired Clifford C. Mosher, III, under this program, and he started the Western Protective Relay Conference (WPRC) shortly thereafter. WPRC has become the best-attended conference on power system protection in the U.S. The conference will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, and Schweitzer will deliver a keynote at the event which will take place at the Spokane Convention Center October 9–12.
Mosher joined a team of power professors, including John Szablya, Dick Baker, and Al Flechsig. The group closely collaborated with other WSU electrical engineering professors, including Bob Olsen and David Seamans.
Schweitzer expressed his gratitude for the program, explaining that he had searched for a university with a strong power program and applied to WSU. “Professor Mosher was the first person I talked with at WSU.” Schweitzer recalled, along with the first question Mosher asked him: “His voice boomed into the telephone, ‘What’s this latent interest in electric power?’”
Schweitzer began graduate studies at WSU in 1974 and was granted a PhD in 1977. His thesis, which detailed using microprocessors and digital signal processing to protect electric power systems, was the basis for later forming SEL.
“Without the WSU Power Professorship Program, SEL would never have been born,” Schweitzer concluded.
Today, SEL employee over 6,600 people worldwide, and several of the streets on its Pullman campus are named after the WSU professors who contributed to the education of thousands of power engineers.
To learn more about SEL partnerships with colleges and universities, visit https://selinc.com/company/university-relations/, and to learn more about WPRC, visit https://web.cvent.com/event/7e651078-f475-46ab-a914-34cbec6af565/summary.
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