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New William & Mary chancellor: Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates

College of William & Mary
September 7, 2011
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has been named the next Chancellor of the College of William & Mary. He is an undergraduate alumnus of the College, Class of 1965. Gates, who is the first defense secretary in U.S. history to serve under presidents from both political parties, led the defense department under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama before retiring earlier this summer. As William & Mary Chancellor, he will succeed retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who will complete her term in February 2012.

“I am deeply honored to have been asked to return to the College of William & Mary, my alma mater, to serve as Chancellor. The time I spent at William & Mary as an undergraduate student shaped my life and I look forward to working with the students, staff, faculty and the William & Mary community. It is a privilege to follow such outstanding leaders as Sandra Day O’Connor, Henry Kissinger and Margaret Thatcher,” said Gates. “William & Mary is known around the world as an exceptional school which produces up and coming national and world leaders. In addition to an outstanding education, William & Mary instills in its students a sense of duty to community and country. I look forward to doing all that I can to continue and build on these traditions.”

Gates, who also holds an honorary doctorate from William & Mary, will be the College’s 24th Chancellor. Prior to becoming defense secretary, he served in numerous capacities in the Executive Branch during more than 45 years in public service. From 2002 to 2006, he was president of Texas A&M University. Gates will be the first William & Mary alumnus in the modern era to serve as Chancellor of the College.

“It is absolutely wonderful to welcome Secretary Gates back to campus in this new role,” said President Taylor Reveley. “He is an extraordinary example of what it means to devote a lifetime to making a difference for the better for your country. Bob Gates cares deeply about his alma mater and has been a great friend of William & Mary. We are delighted our students will have the chance to spend time with, and learn from, one of our nation’s most respected leaders.”
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