Remembering a favorite professor who significantly affected his life, Edmund Schweitzer, along with his wife, Beatriz, is making a $100,000 donation to the Clifford C. Mosher Excellence Fund at Washington State University.
Schweitzer Engineering Labs (SEL), which Schweitzer founded, is making an additional $100,000 donation to the fund on behalf of its employee owners, and the city of Pullman will name a new street entrance into the SEL campus Mosher Drive.
Mosher, who passed away Jan. 27 in Redlands, Calif., was Schweitzer’s WSU academic advisor, introducing him to protective relays and the university.
"If it weren't for Cliff, there wouldn't be SEL,’’ said Schweitzer. "He was a dear friend, advisor and colleague.
"He never sought recognition and somehow may have actually wanted to avoid it,’’ he added. "He didn't need it. Yet he contributed so much to thousands of students who have put their knowledge to work around the world to do good things.’’
Mosher joined the WSU faculty in 1973, where he taught power engineering. He started WSU’s Western Protective Relay Conference, which is the largest conference on power grid protection in the U.S.
"In the power world, he put WSU on the map,’’ said Schweitzer.
WSU’s program is considered among the top five in power engineering education and in power system research in the U.S.
The Mosher fund, established upon his retirement in 2009, supports undergraduate and graduate students in power engineering and enhances School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science programs.
After completing his doctorate at WSU in 1977, Schweitzer founded SEL in 1982.The company designs and manufactures products for monitoring and control of electric power systems. A leading manufacturer of digital protective relays, SEL employs 3,700 people and sells products in 144 countries. Every utility in North America uses SEL products.
"We are grateful that the Schweitzers have chosen to honor the memory of Dr. Mosher with this generous investment in WSU,’’ said WSU President Elson S. Floyd. "It is remarkable to see how a faculty member like Cliff Mosher not only affected his students’ lives, but how those effects rippled out to a business startup, to electric power grid protection throughout the U.S. and then to a new generation of students.’’
The support of students in power engineering is especially important now, when the power industry is facing a dramatic need for engineers. Nearly half of the industry’s workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next five years. Both the federal and Washington state governments have recently provided support to WSU to increase the number of engineering and computer science students to meet demand, particularly in the electric power industry.
"This gift is meaningful for honoring our colleague, Cliff Mosher,’’ said Candis Claiborn, dean of the WSU College of Engineering and Architecture. "At the same time, we are grateful that it will help support our students in this high-demand field of power engineering. We look forward to watching the students who receive these scholarships as they go on to tackle our national challenge of providing safe, reliable and clean energy for the 21st century.’’