Roger B. Gatewood
Founder and Chairman, Homes by WestBay
In recognition for his distinguished accomplishments as one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, his leadership in quality urban living, his establishment of one of the first private wetland mitigation projects in the country, and his enthusiastic support of Purdue University
Roger Gatewood grew up in Church Falls, Va., a child of the space race of the 1950s. Always interested in math and science — and inspired by his older brother who studied engineering — he chose Purdue as the "logical choice" to study mechanical engineering. He earned a bachelor's degree from Purdue in 1968 and an MBA from the University of Chicago in 1970.
Gatewood chose mechanical engineering because he felt the field had unlimited career potential — and his belief has proven to be true. He began his career in the financial industry with Mellon Bank and then with the Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Co. in Chicago. While there, he met the partners with whom he would found Westfield Homes. The company later expanded to Florida and the Carolinas. In 1997, all the Westfield corporations were combined under the umbrella of Westfield Homes, USA. In 2002 the stock of Westfield Homes, USA was sold to Standard Pacific Homes. To address the increasing demand for quality urban living, Gatewood subsequently left Standard Pacific to form Westbay City Homes LLC, with a mission to develop affordable mixed-use communities in strategic downtown locations. In 2009 he started Homes by WestBay in Tampa to provide unique, value-driven homes for the move-up buyer.
Gatewood gave the key leadership gift of $7.2 million to the School of Mechanical Engineering to enable the construction of the Roger B. Gatewood Wing, and he made a $3.5 million gift to support the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories reconstruction project. In addition, he provided a $1.5 million gift to support the design and construction costs required to obtain LEED certification through the U.S. Green Building Council for the Gatewood Wing, the first such project at Purdue.
What inspires such generosity to his alma mater? Gatewood said he received information about the Campaign for Purdue from former President Martin C. Jischke, and he then reflected on how much Purdue meant to him. "Looking back at the opportunities that had been given me, it made me realize just how important and life-changing the Purdue experience had been," he says.
Gatewood also finds other ways to give back. In 2002 he established the Gatewood Foundation, which supports many nonprofit organizations.
In a career filled with so many highlights, Gatewood said a few spring to the top, including being named as a Purdue Outstanding Mechanical Engineer and being named Purdue's Philanthropist of the Year by President France A. Córdova. Also, he was a chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, where he was heavily involved in congressional reauthorization of the Clean Water Act and testified in front of several committees.