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SEL president receives honorary doctorate degree from Purdue University

PULLMAN, Washington—Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, founder, president, and chief technology officer of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, received an honorary doctorate of engineering from Purdue University’s College of Engineering during the commencement ceremony held on Friday, May 13.

The university recognized Schweitzer as a pioneer in digital power protection and for his many other career achievements, including being a recipient of the IEEE Medal in Power Engineering and 2019 induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

“Your legacy is inspiring generations of people…[and] all of us here, to turn every single one of the brilliant minds that enter our school into brilliant, effective, and outstanding engineers,” said Dimitrios Peroulis, Michael and Katherine Brick Head of Electrical and Computer Engineering, during a luncheon honoring Schweitzer. 

Schweitzer earned both his bachelor (1968) and master (1971) of electrical engineering degrees from Purdue and credits his alma mater with preparing him to take his interest in electric power and start his own company. Today, Schweitzer has been granted more than 250 patents and SEL products are helping protect, monitor and control electric power systems in 168 countries.

“I’m grateful for the recognition, but I’m even more grateful for the work you all do at Purdue to educate and inspire young people to go out and work to make the world a better place—the same way you did for me,” said Schweitzer.

Schweitzer has maintained his connections with the university through research collaborations, support for its educational initiatives and partnerships with the Purdue College of Engineering. 

In 2019, Schweitzer and his wife, Beatriz, contributed $3 million to endow an electrical and computer engineering professorship and to support the school’s power and energy systems research area, now named Schweitzer Power and Energy Systems. In October 2020, Dr. and Mrs. Schweitzer made a $4 million commitment to support programs and scholarships at Purdue Polytechnic High School Schweitzer Center at Englewood, one of three free, STEM-focused charter high schools founded by the university and the City of Indianapolis.

SEL celebrated the grand opening of its new 100,000 sq. ft. facility in West Lafayette, Indiana, known as SEL Purdue, in 2020. The ground floor of the three-story building houses a manufacturing operation while the upper floors provide space for its Engineering Services and Research & Development divisions, which include opportunities for internships for Purdue students and research collaborations with the university’s faculty.

Schweitzer earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Washington State University (1977) and holds honorary doctorates from the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León (2005), Monterrey, Mexico, and the Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi (2012), San Luis Potosi, Mexico.