Groundbreaking for a ‘Breakthrough Moment’

A breakthrough moment for Purdue University’s Discovery Park District took place in September with the groundbreaking of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories’ (SEL) facility for electric power research and development.

The new 100,000-square-foot facility—called SEL Purdue—will be built on 10 acres of a 20-acre plot near the Purdue Airport. The space is designed to accommodate up to 300 employees, and the site is big enough for a second building based on company growth and needs.

In conjunction with the new facility, SEL’s founder, president, and chief technology officer, alumnus Edmund O. Schweitzer III and his wife, Beatriz Schweitzer, are also donating $1.5 million to the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering to endow a professorship. They will provide another $1.5 million to support the school’s power and energy systems research area. Schweitzer earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering in 1968 and 1971.

SEL invents, designs, and builds digital products and systems that protect power grids around the world. Nearly every utility in North America as well as industrial and commercial power applications in 162 countries use SEL products. 

“We will benefit from the proximity to Purdue by both research and the talent pool the University provides,” Schweitzer said of the company’s expansion in the Midwest. “There is a high demand for power engineering, and this initiative will help us meet those demands.”

Purdue President Mitch Daniels hailed the SEL Purdue project as “the breakthrough moment we’ve hoped for in making the Discovery Park District dream real” as the hub of one of the high-tech economic centers in the country.

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