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WSU Announces Record-Setting Gift for Engineering from SEL

Washington State University

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University announced today a landmark $20 million gifts from Edmund and Beatriz Schweitzer, and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL). These investments will support the success of the next generation of students at WSU’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.

The Schweitzers and SEL are each contributing $10 million toward the construction of the Voiland College’s new student success building on WSU’s Pullman campus. When complete, the facility will be a central hub where engineering and design students can innovate, collaborate with faculty and each other, and have access to advising, technology, and other activities that are foundational to their success at college and beyond.

“An investment of this magnitude is a game-changer for the Voiland College and for the entire WSU system,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “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.

“We are grateful for the leadership this generous investment represents and look forward to seeing it make a tangible difference in the educational experience for students for decades to come,” Schulz added. 

“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.”

WSU President Kirk Schulz

In recognition of this transformational contribution from the Schweitzers and SEL, WSU will name the new facility Schweitzer Engineering Hall. This investment represents the single-largest philanthropic commitment received by the Voiland College and is among the largest private investments in WSU history.

”Education leads to dreams, innovations, and new realities. WSU professors Mosher, Szablya, Baker, Flechsig, Hower, Seamans, Rigas, and many others opened my mind and the minds of thousands of students,” said SEL President Edmund O. Schweitzer III. “Beatriz and I are grateful for this opportunity to grow the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.”

According to SEL Chief Executive Officer Dave Whitehead, this commitment represents an exciting new chapter in a long-standing and successful partnership with WSU.

“SEL is pleased to partner with Ed and Beatriz to make this significant investment in engineering students at WSU,” said Whitehead. “Our connection with the university runs deep, from Ed’s days as a WSU grad student and professor to many years of research collaborations. Hundreds of Cougs have joined SEL and contributed to our collective success over the years, with nearly 450 WSU alums currently employed by SEL.”

“The new building and the learning opportunities that come with it will increase WSU’s pipeline of engineering students and create a new legacy of exceptional engineering education for decades to come,” Whitehead added.

When completed, the state-of-the-art facility will house innovative and flexible classrooms, student collaboration and club activity zones, first-year student engagement studios and senior capstone project design spaces, and centers for academic advising, tutoring, and career counseling. 

Voiland College Dean Mary Rezac notes that demand for engineers, computer scientists, construction managers, and design graduates is at an all-time high. As that demand grows, so has enrollment in the college, which has increased to more than 5,000 undergraduate students.

“Voiland College provides an exceptional pathway to education and opportunity for thousands of students every year,” said Rezac. “However, our ability to continue delivering the very best engineering and design experiences is increasingly challenged by outdated classrooms and learning environments, many of which were constructed or last renovated more than 60 years ago.”

Rezac added: “By design, Schweitzer Engineering Hall will evolve to meet the changing needs of our students and the industries they are preparing to lead for generations to come. We are excited to share this vision with Ed, Beatriz, and SEL.”