Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Stewart, Robert Bruce



  • Existence: March 31, 1896 - June 11, 1988

Biographical Information

R. B. Stewart joined the staff of Purdue University in 1925 as the controller. At that time, Purdue enrolled 3,000 students, the physical plant was worth $3 million, and the endowment totaled $340,000. Twenty years later, Stewart was named Vice President and Treasurer. When he retired in 1961, enrollment had grown to 22,000, the physical plant was valued at $160 million, and yields from the $25 million endowment were producing funds for research, scholarships, and grants.

Stewart’s pioneering ways of financing expansion through trust gifts and interest-free bonds enabled Purdue to grow, and our University became the benchmark for every university in the country. Stewart 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 across the country and fueled national growth and prosperity.

In 1971, Stewart made a planned gift to Purdue by donating his home, Westwood. It has served as the home of Purdue’s President ever since.

The campus building Stewart Center was named, in part, in his honor.


Cemetery, M., America, N., County, T., Township, W. and Cemetery, M. (2017). Robert Bruce Stewart (1896-1988).

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Ruth Freehafer collection on R.B. Stewart

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 513
Scope and Contents The Ruth Freehafer collection on R.B. Stewart contains Freehafer's drafts of her 1983 book "R.B. Stewart and Purdue University" as well as the notes she compiled while researching Stewart, some of the sources she used, the transcript from a 1977 interview with Stewart, notes from two other interviews with Stewart and his oral history transcript, and notes from interviews conducted with Stewart's colleagues.
Dates: 1970 - 1983

Purdue University Office of Publications Oral History Program collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSO 2
Scope and Contents The Purdue Office of Publications Oral History Program collection documents Purdue University history through oral history interviews with Purdue University professors and administrators. Types of materials include: printed material, cassette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, compact discs, and digital materials. Interview topics include Purdue history and changes in administration and academic departments.
Dates: 1969 - 1989; Majority of material found within 1970 - 1972