Associate Professor Steven Pekarek has been named the first Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Chair in Power Engineering with the Purdue University School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The position was made possible by a $1.5 million gift from Purdue Alumni Dr. Ed Schweitzer and his wife Beatriz.
“We are delighted that Steven Pekarek is the first Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Chair in Power Engineering,” said Ed Schweitzer, SEL founder and president. “He’s already made such a big impact on so many students, and we hope this growing partnership between SEL and Purdue University will further amplify and expand his influence and work.”
Dr. Steven Pekarek holds several degrees from Purdue University, including a B.S. Electrical Engineering (‘91), M.S. Electrical Engineering (‘93), and Ph.D. Electrical Engineering (‘96). His research includes the analysis, design, and control of electric machines, power electronics, and power electronic based systems. He will focus on power and energy systems and automatic control.
Hired at Purdue University in 1992 as a research and teaching assistant in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Pekarek has held several teaching positions at the University, most recently serving as an associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“In order for SEL to continue its rich tradition of innovation, we need highly educated engineers who really understand the fundamentals of electric power systems,” said Dave Whitehead, SEL COO. “The students coming out of Purdue are able to begin contributing at a high level on day one.”
“We believe this partnership will not only benefit the university and SEL, but it will also help us solve the tough problems related to protecting, monitoring and controlling electric power — which will help make the world a better place.”
Learn more about Dr. Pekarek’s professional memberships, honors/awards, and publications here and here.
SEL’s commitment to developing the next generation of engineers comes in many forms, one being through endowed gifts to universities. An endowed professorship (or endowed chair) is a university faculty position permanently paid for with the revenue from an endowment fund specifically set up for that purpose. SEL and the Schweitzers have made several endowed gifts to universities specifically to promote undergraduate electrical engineering programs at universities around the country, including Washington State University and the University of Idaho.