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WSU Power Professorship Program 50th Anniversary Celebration

Celebrating the Past, Present, and Future of WSU Power Engineering and Industry Collaborations

From the DirectorESIC logo surrounded by two circles with text reading 50 Years WSU Power Professorship

In the Fall of 1973, the Power Professorship Program was established here at Washington State University (WSU) with Dr. Cliff Mosher selected as the first Power Professor to lead the program. At the time, then Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Dr. Glenn Hower, along with Axel Strong from Grant County PUD, and Wendell Satre from Washington Water Power, now known as Avista, determined that a power engineering program was needed here at WSU to serve the state and region abundant with energy sources – and the need for power engineers. With their determination and hard work and with the full support of the regional power industry, the Power Professorship Program was founded in 1973.

Along with Professors Dick Baker, A. L. (Attie) Betts, Al Flechsig, and John Szablya, Professor Mosher led this group to form one of the first and strongest power engineering programs in the nation. Throughout the years, the program has grown to include not only a teaching component to train the power engineers of the future but a research component as well. In 2012, the Energy Systems Innovation Center (ESIC) was established as an academic center of excellence at WSU for specializing in power engineering education, research, and outreach. Together with industry stakeholders who support the program through their membership, ESIC and the Power Professorship Program have become internationally renowned for their outstanding education, as well, as the leading research this center conducts.

On September 15, 2023, WSU commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the WSU Power Professorship and the 10th Anniversary of the Energy Systems Innovation Center with an all-day celebration on the WSU Pullman Campus hosting over 200 alumni, students, industry leaders, faculty, and their guests. The day began with a breakfast provided by ESIC, in tandem with a poster session featuring student and faculty research topics relevant to today’s challenging power engineering research objectives. Throughout the morning, research and teaching lab tours, led by ESIC faculty and graduate students, highlighted the equipment, tools, and research components utilized to educate and train generations of power engineers.

Lunch was served and the festivities moved to the CUB Auditorium for an afternoon program that took a look back, with pride, at what the Power Professorship Program has accomplished, with Steve Muchlinski, alumni and a senior advisor to ESIC, providing a glimpse into the past. The next session featured the research and education of today, with current ESIC faculty providing highlights of their recent research. Addresses by WSU Pullman Chancellor, Dr. Elizabeth Chilton, Mary Rezac, Dean of the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, and Dave Whitehead of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), along with a lively panel of industry members capped off the afternoon with discussions embracing the next generation of power with WSU at the forefront.

The day finished with a gala banquet at the Gladish Community Center hosted by the WSU President’s Office, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), and ESIC to celebrate and honor those who have made life-long contributions to the program including past and present faculty, industry members and companies. Keynote addresses from alumni Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, SEL; and Dennis Vermillion, CEO, Avista Corporation, rounded out the evening.

As the current ESIC Director, I would like to thank all those who helped to make this 50th Anniversary Celebration a grand success – current faculty, staff and graduate students, the WSU President’s Office, EECS, and a large number of alumni, industry members, and friends who made this a truly memorable event. I hope that the WSU Power Professorship Program and ESIC will continue to grow as a strong leader in the power engineering field and you will join us in this journey toward celebrating the centennial anniversary of the power program very soon in 2073. Happy holidays,

Mani Venkatasubramanian, ESIC Director

Click here to view the agenda!

Click here to view the attendance roster!

Head over to our YouTube to view videos of the event!

*ESIC appreciates your patience as we continue to upload photos and videos to the 50th Anniversary Celebration website. You can access all photos and videos of the event in our Dropbox folders via the links below, by session.  Check back often over the next several weeks as more videos and photos are added to the website.*

Click on the Session Below to View Information, Pictures, and Videos!
Morning Session
Afternoon Session
Evening Banquet