By Marissa Mararac, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
In honor of a fondly remembered professor, Edmund O. Schweitzer III and SEL are making donations of $100,000 each to the Alfred and Nancy Flechsig Fund for Laboratory Improvement at Washington State University.
Alfred (Al) Julius Flechsig Jr. passed away in August. He was a WSU alumnus (’57 BS EE) and a professor of electrical engineering at WSU for 42 years until his retirement in 2003. Flechsig did important research in the areas of power grid protection and was influential in setting up the Western Protective Relay Conference, a highly successful power industry conference.
During those years, he also touched the lives of many students. Several generations of undergraduate and graduate students he mentored went on to gain prominence in the power industry and transform grid protection technology with the use of microprocessors and high bandwidth communications.
“Dr. Flechsig had a profound effect on our community, industry, and universities,” said Schweitzer. “His influence on power system protection is worldwide. In the classroom, Al was the kind of professor you’d like your kids to have. His love of learning and discovery was infectious. He led by example, and pushed his students, including me, to be more than we ever imagined.”
Upon his retirement, the School of EECS established a fund in the couple’s name for laboratory improvements and to ensure that students have up-to-date labs for hands-on activities.
The Flechsig fund supports upgrades of EECS’s power protection, power machinery, and circuit laboratories. In the past two years it has also supported the Protective Relay Lab, which provides hands-on experience in power system protection with substation equipment, tools, and engineering practices.
“Much of the work of professors like Al Flechsig reverberates on in the lives of our students long after they have left the classroom,” said Behrooz A. Shirazi, Huie-Rogers Chair Professor and Director of the School of EECS. “We’re so grateful to Ed Schweitzer and SEL for reminding us of his impact and for passing support along to the next generation of students.”