Nov. 13: SEL founder to receive WSU’s highest alumni honor

Schweitzer-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Edmund O. Schweitzer III – pioneer of electric power systems protection – is the 2014 recipient of the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor Washington State University confers upon alumni.

He will receive the award and deliver an address at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, in the CUB junior ballroom at WSU Pullman. RSVP to attend at

Schweitzer is a global leader in revolutionizing the performance of electrical power systems with computer-based protection and control equipment. He holds 100 patents and has written dozens of technical papers on the subject.

He earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from WSU, where he also served as a faculty member before starting his own business.

In 1982, he founded Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc., to develop and manufacture digital protective relays and related products and services. Based in Pullman, SEL is an employee-owned company that serves the electric power industry worldwide.

A fellow of the IEEE (an international engineering/technology association) and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, in 2012 Schweitzer received the Medal in Power Engineering, the highest honor awarded by the IEEE.

WSU President Emeritus Samuel H. Smith nominated Schweitzer for the award, saying, “He has made exceptional contributions to society and clearly brought great distinction to WSU. He is truly a national and international figure.”

Since its inception in 1962, WSU’s Regents’ Distinguished Alumni Award has been granted to U.S. ambassadors, doctors, educators, business leaders, scientists, journalists, athletes, artists, authors and more – those individuals who have made significant contributions to society and, through their accomplishments, brought attention to the quality of a WSU education.