Purdue University

Giving to Purdue

University Development Office

R. B. Stewart Society

R.B. Stewart

R.B. Stewart

Purdue founded the R.B. Stewart Society to recognize special benefactors who make commitments to the future of the University in their estate plan through a will bequest, retirement plan, living trust, insurance policy, charitable gift annuity, or charitable remainder trust – regardless of the amount.

Our Namesake – Honoring the Master Builder

Purdue is the beneficiary of the drive of a man who couldn’t stop building.  R.B. Stewart came to Purdue as controller in 1925.  Then, Purdue enrollment stood at 3,000, the physical plant was worth $3 million, and the endowment totaled $340,000. 

In 1945, he also was named vice president and treasurer.  When he retired from that position in 1961, enrollment was 22,000, the physical plant valued at $160 million, and yields from the $25 million endowment were producing funds for research, student scholarships, and grants.
His pioneering ways of financing University expansion through trust gifts and interest free bonds enabled Purdue to grow as needed and it became the benchmark for every U.S. university.

On a national level, R.B. was known as a “Father of the G.I. Bill”, the post-World War II training programs that brought thousands of returning veterans to campuses all over the country and ultimately fueled our national growth and prosperity.

When R.B. donated his home, “Westwood”, to the University in 1971, it was valued at $1 million.  Since that time, Westwood has served as the home of the Purdue president and as an event and entertainment venue.

Membership in the R.B. Stewart Society


Westwood, the home to Purdue's presidents, was a planned gift to the University from R.B. Stewart and his wife Lillian.

The R.B. Stewart Society honors individuals who embody the spirit of Purdue’s master builder, R.B. Stewart. Today’s benefactors who provide for Purdue’s future through planned gifts reflect his dedication and generosity.

A written confirmation of intent is needed for inclusion in the R.B. Stewart Society.  This might be a signed statement of support, a copy of the will or trust documents, a letter or email from the donor or completing the R.B. Stewart Society Membership form
R.B. Stewart Society Members enjoy special benefits including:

  • Certificate of Membership
  • Commemorative R.B. Stewart Society Pin
  • Recognition for your estate gift in the President’s Council
  • Invitations to University events, including an annual R.B. Stewart Society event on campus
  • The annual newsletter featuring inspiring stories of fellow Boilermakers, plus timely information to help manage financial and estate planning. To view the most recent edition of the R.B. Stewart Society Newsletter, please click here.
  • The honor of belonging to a distinguished community of Purdue philanthropists.

Planned Giving Opportunities

Learn more about planned giving options on the Gift Opportunities page.

Please click here for R.B. Stewart Membership Form