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Mitch Daniels and a group of Purdue University executives breaking ground for a new building

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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Patsy J. Mellott

BS College of Health and Human Sciences, 1969
Fishers, IN

Patsy earned a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition in business from Purdue in 1969, in addition to an MBA in food marketing from Michigan State University in 1970. She retired from Kraft Foods in 2006 after 36 years in corporate food marketing and marketing communications management.

A community volunteer, Patsy serves on the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana Advisory Board and the Purdue College of Health and Human Sciences Dean’s Leadership Council, in addition to the President’s Council Advisory Board. She is a former member of the Health and Human Sciences Alumni Board. Patsy held several offices from 2006 through 2013, including president and treasurer. She serves her community’s Discover Indianapolis Club in Fishers, holding several leadership roles for over 10 years.

Patsy has received several honors, including the Purdue University Nutrition Science Department Hall of Fame recipient in 2009 and the Purdue University College of Health and Human Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016. She also received the college’s Gold and Black Award in 2016, an honor reserved for donors who have moved the college forward by committing exceptional financial resources.

In addition to endowing two scholarships, the Patsy J. Mellott Scholarship and Patsy J. Mellott HHS Scholarship, she established the Patsy J. Mellott Teaching Innovation Award in the College of Health and Human Sciences in 2013. In 2015, she endowed the Patsy J. Mellott Women’s Tennis Coach Performance Award. She is a lead donor in the Christine M. Ladisch Faculty Leadership Award and the Purdue Women’s Network Virginia C. Meredith Scholarship for the College of Health and Human Sciences.