Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and founders Edmund and Beatriz Schweitzer donated a combined $20 million to Washington State University for the construction of a new building on its Pullman campus.
According to WSU President Kirk Schulz, the university has long maintained a mutually beneficial relationship with the company.
“We really appreciate the fantastic partnerships that we have together with SEL and Edmund and Beatriz,” Schulz said. “In turn, Schweitzer Engineering Labs has been able to hire many of WSU’s top graduates across all of our colleges, who have gone on to have fantastic careers with SEL in this particular community or in other SEL locations.”
The donation, one of the largest in the university’s history, will contribute to the construction of a new building for the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, called Schweitzer Engineering Hall.
The facility will serve as a central hub where engineering and design students can collaborate with faculty and each other, said Mary Rezac, dean of the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. WSU plans to break ground in 2024.
“Education leads to dreams, innovations and new realities,” Schweitzer President Edmund Schweitzer said. “Beatriz and I are grateful for this opportunity to grow the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.”
The Schweitzers and the employee-owners of the company have donated more than $4 million to the university over the past three decades. Schulz said the company is one of the many reasons he applied for the top position at WSU in 2016.
“When people like Ed, Beatriz and the employee-owners of SEL make a generous commitment like this, it is a resounding endorsement for all of our talented faculty, staff and students in the college and across the WSU system,” Schulz said.
Last year, Schweitzer hired about 65 interns and full-time employees who graduated from WSU. The company now employs about 450 graduates of the university, according to Schweitzer CEO David Whitehead.
Whitehead says the new building is a great way to honor the contributions Schweitzer has made to the electrical engineering industry and community.
“What better way to honor the gift than partnering with WSU to create a space in SEL’s hometown for new engineers to learn and innovate in,” Whitehead said. “This new building will help educate the next Ed Schweitzers.”