Robert Gatewood Memorial Scholarship
A conversation with Laura Kezar.
Why did you choose to create a scholarship at Auburn University?
When I attended Auburn I was lucky to be the recipient of several scholarships. These scholarships meant that I could focus on my studies instead of on finances. I created a scholarship at Auburn University to pay it forward to the next generation of Auburn chemical engineering students.
What would you want the recipients of this scholarship to know about the person for whom it is named?
The scholarship is named for my grandfather, Robert “Bob” McLeod Gatewood, a native of Americus, Ga. who graduated from Auburn University in 1949 with a BS in Civil Engineering. In addition to a career at the Alabama Highway Department (Chief of the Design Bureau), Bob was also very active in St. James United Methodist Church and an avid Auburn supporter. He passed away in 1984, but he instilled a love of Auburn University in his family that would continue to grow for future generations. Although my grandfather passed away before I was born and I never met him, I credit two of the best decisions I ever made—my decisions to attend Auburn and to major in engineering—to his legacy.
Tell us about your Auburn story, favorite tradition, a “War Eagle!” moment, or what Auburn has meant to you.
Auburn means family to me. I was lucky to grow up in the Auburn family, and some of the best memories from my childhood are of Auburn—petting the eagle before the football games (a tradition that unfortunately no longer exists), Tiger Walks, pictures with Aubie, and tailgating with my family before games. I have some amazing memories of football games from my years at Auburn; I was a student during the 2004 undefeated season, and we beat Bama every year that I was at Auburn. Most of all, I am thankful to Auburn for the lasting friendships I built with my chemical engineering classmates. These friendships helped me succeed not only when I was a student at Auburn, but they continue to help me years after graduation. The Auburn family is special, but the Auburn chemical engineering family is even more special.
What do you hope your recipients gain through this scholarship?
I want recipients to know that they are in the best major possible: you can do anything with a degree in chemical engineering, so stick with it no matter how hard it may seem at times! I hope the scholarship will help recipients enjoy their time at Auburn and focus on building lasting relationships with fellow chemical engineering students. You can make it through chemical engineering alone, but it is a lot harder and not near as fun!